Windows Azure SQL Database Automated Backups are Finally Here!

July 15, 2013 — 7 Comments


This weekend, while I was doing a routine systems checkup, I noticed a new feature in on the Windows Azure Management Portal.  The Windows Azure teams have been hard at work and have provided us with the necessary tools to schedule backups of our Windows Azure SQL Databases. As you can observe from the screenshot below, the backup is essentially an export of our database that is stored a Windows Azure Storage Account.

The export process will produce a BACPAC containing the schema and the data from our database, which can be used to restore the database on-premise or in Windows Azure SQL Database.

A data-tier application (DAC) is a self-contained unit for developing, deploying, and managing data-tier objects. A DAC enables data-tier developers and database administrators to package Microsoft SQL Server objects, including database objects and instance objects, into a single entity called a DAC package (.dacpac file). The BACPAC format extends the DAC package format to include BACPAC-specific metadata and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)–encoded table data in addition to the standard DAC package contents. You can package your SQL Server database into a BACPAC file, and use it to migrate both the schema and table data to Windows Azure SQL Database.

To activate automatic backups of your Windows Azure SQL Database, navigate to its dashboard and go to the CONFIGURATION Section. You will be presented with the form from the screenshot found below. Select the AUTOMATIC option from the EXPORT STATUS section. Then select the storage account that will be used to store the exported BACPACs. Set the schedule and the the starting date. Be sure to set a RETENTION period that is acceptable for your business model and make sure that you always keep at least one backup. This is crucial, because if  something goes wrong and the last back was deleted due to its age, you will be left with nothing. The last step is to enter the Windows Azure SQL Database SERVER LOGIN NAME and the SERVER LOGIN PASSWORD. Select Save and that’s it, you’ve got automatic backups for your production database.

Don’t worry about storing BACPACs in Windows Azure Blob Storage Service, it’s dirt cheap and the SQL Database Service is extremely efficient at compressing the data.


Screenshot from a test Windows Azure SQL Database:

7-15-2013 3-48-05 PM

7 responses to Windows Azure SQL Database Automated Backups are Finally Here!


    About damn time. We had to use a whole bunch of powershell kungfu to do this!



    Still not as good as daily full and hourly (or less) transactional. Recovery to one day is not an option for “enterprise” customers.

    Liked by 1 person


    where can those exported dacpacs can be found?
    cannot find it inside the storage account i’ve configured.



      Hi Yoni,

      The export will generate a bacpac file. Basically the same thing as a dacpac but with the data as well as the schema. The bacpac takes a little while to to show up in the Windows Azure Storage Container but it should appear once the export has completed.


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