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Creating SQL Backups on Azure Using Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013

Kim Anselmo - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

By Michael Krasivsky, The Resource Group


What would you do if you needed to restore one of your Microsoft Dynamics GP databases, only to find out that your database backup job was failing? That's a scary thought for any business owner.

You can create backups of your databases to your local disk, but how reliable is that? Many people may not have the means to setup a truly redundant backup solution. That is where you can leverage the power of Azure. Not only will your backups be safely stored offsite, you can be sure that they are also being replicated throughout a single Microsoft facility or geographically. Either way, there will be no single point of failure.

To get started, make sure you have the following:

·        Microsoft Azure account (http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/)

Once you have everything ready you will want to create a storage account on Azure.

  1. Sign in to Azure (https://manage.windowsazure.com/)
  2. On the bottom of the screen click NEW and navigate to: Data Services > Storage > Quick Create
  3. Proved a service name, Location or Affinity Group, and the desired replication. For the replication, Geo-Redundant will replicate your data geographically, whereas Locally Redundant will still replicate your data, but only within a single facility. You may want to look at the pricing calculator to see with the cost would be between the two (http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/?scenario=data-management).

Microsoft Dynamics GP backup on Azure

4.    Once it has been created, select the storage account and click Manage Access Keys.

Microsoft Dynamics GP upload to Azure 2

5.    Copy the account name and the access key. You will need it later.

Backing up Microsoft Dynamics GP to Azure

6.    Click on the storage account and then click Add to create a storage container.

Backing up Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Azure

7.    Give it a name and save it.

Backing up Microsoft Dynamics GP to Azure

8.    Copy the URL for the container. You will need it later.

Once you have the storage account setup, you can now use it to create backups.

1.    In GP, navigate to Microsoft Dynamics GP > Maintenance > Backup.

2.    Select the company that you would like to backup, and then select the Use Microsoft Azure storage radio button.

3.    Enter the storage account name that you created in step 3 above.

4.    Enter the access key from step 5 above.

5.    Enter the URL from step 8 above.

6.    Specify a file name.

7.    Select Use compression if you want to compress the backup. That will save on disk space and the amount of data that needs to be uploaded to Azure servers.

8.    Click OK to start the backup.

9.    You will see this status message.

Backing up Microsoft Dynamics GP to Azure image

10.… and then a completion window.

Backup Microsoft Dynamics GP to Azure

If you want to restore the database, it’s basically the same procedure but you’ll want to use the restore window instead of the backup window under Microsoft Dynamics GP > Maintenance. Two things to note about the restore.

1.    You can’t restore a company if someone is logged into it. If you have just one company in Microsoft Dynamics GP, which means you won’t be able to use GP to perform a restore.

2.    You cannot restore the system database, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a backup.

How to backup Microsoft Dynamics GP to Azure

To me, it makes more sense to have just one window labeled backup and restore and have the option to select what you want to do. I would also like to see an option to save the Azure storage account credentials. It’s a pain to enter those in every time you need to backup or restore a database.

As it stands, the new backup feature is handy but probably not efficient for daily backups of all your databases. I see it as a useful tool for an accountant to use possibly before doing a year end close procedure. I have gotten calls from customers that said they need to restore from a backup because their year-end close or other major process was interrupted only to find that the backup job was failing. In the end, It may take a while for you to upload a backup to Azure, but it will be better to have a “just in case” backup especially if you need to make a major change in GP.

To learn more, contact a Microsoft Dynamics GP partner like The Resource Group.


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