About SAP HANA database backup in Azure VMs

SAP HANA databases are mission critical workloads that require a low recovery point objective (RPO) and a fast recovery time objective (RTO). You can now back up SAP HANA databases running on Azure VMs using Azure Backup.

Azure Backup is Backint certified by SAP, to provide native backup support by leveraging SAP HANA's native APIs. This offering from Azure Backup aligns with Azure Backup's mantra of zero-infrastructure backups, eliminating the need to deploy and manage the backup infrastructure. You can now seamlessly back up and restore SAP HANA databases running on Azure VMs (M series VMs also supported now!) and leverage enterprise management capabilities that Azure Backup provides.

Added value

Using the Azure Backup service to back up and restore SAP HANA databases, gives the following advantages:

  • 15-minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Recovery of critical data of up to 15 minutes is now possible.
  • One-click, point-in-time restores: Restore of production data to alternate HANA servers is made easy. The chaining of the backups and catalogs to perform restores are all managed by Azure behind the scenes.
  • Long-term retention: For rigorous compliance and audit needs. Retain your backups for years, based on the retention duration, beyond which the recovery points will be pruned automatically by the built-in lifecycle management capability.
  • Backup Management from Azure: Use Azure Backup's management and monitoring capabilities for improved management experience. Azure CLI is also supported.
  • Backup of SAP HANA database with HSR: Support for backup of HANA database with HANA System Replication (HSR) facilitates a single backup chain across nodes and provides an effortless restore experience.

To view the backup and restore scenarios that we support today, see the SAP HANA scenario support matrix.

Backup architecture

You can back up SAP HANA databases running inside an Azure VM and stream backup data directly to the Azure Recovery Services vault.

Backup architecture diagram

  • The backup process begins by creating a Recovery Services vault in Azure. This vault will be used to store the backups and recovery points created over time.

  • The Azure VM running SAP HANA server is registered with the vault, and the databases to be backed-up are discovered. To enable the Azure Backup service to discover databases, a preregistration script must be run on the HANA server as a root user.

  • This script creates the AZUREWLBACKUPHANAUSER database user/uses the custom Backup user you have already created, and then creates a corresponding key with the same name in hdbuserstore. Learn more about the functionality of the script.

  • Azure Backup Service now installs the Azure Backup Plugin for HANA on the registered SAP HANA server.

  • The AZUREWLBACKUPHANAUSER database user created by the pre-registration script/custom Backup user that you’ve created (and added as input to the pre-registration script) is used by the Azure Backup Plugin for HANA to perform all backup and restore operations. If you attempt to configure backup for SAP HANA databases without running this script, you might receive the UserErrorHanaScriptNotRun error.

  • To configure backup on the databases that are discovered, choose the required backup policy and enable backups.

  • Once the backup is configured, Azure Backup service sets up the following Backint parameters at the DATABASE level on the protected SAP HANA server:

    • [catalog_backup_using_backint:true]
    • [enable_accumulated_catalog_backup:false]
    • [parallel_data_backup_backint_channels:1]
    • [log_backup_timeout_s:900)]
    • [backint_response_timeout:7200]

Note

Ensure that these parameters are not present at HOST level. Host-level parameters will override these parameters and might cause unexpected behavior.

  • The Azure Backup Plugin for HANA maintains all the backup schedules and policy details. It triggers the scheduled backups and communicates with the HANA Backup Engine through the Backint APIs.
  • The HANA Backup Engine returns a Backint stream with the data to be backed up.
  • All the scheduled backups and on-demand backups (triggered from the Azure portal) that are either full or differential are initiated by the Azure Backup Plugin for HANA. However, log backups are managed and triggered by HANA Backup Engine itself.
  • Azure Backup for SAP HANA, being a BackInt certified solution, doesn't depend on underlying disk or VM types. The backup is performed by streams generated by HANA.

Using Azure VM backup with Azure SAP HANA backup

In addition to using the SAP HANA backup in Azure that provides database level backup and recovery, you can use the Azure VM backup solution to back up the OS and non-database disks.

The Backint certified Azure SAP HANA backup solution can be used for database backup and recovery.

Azure VM backup can be used to back up the OS and other non-database disks. The VM backup is taken once every day and it backups up all the disks (except Write Accelerator (WA) OS disks and ultra disks). Since the database is being backed up using the Azure SAP HANA backup solution, you can take a file-consistent backup of only the OS and non-database disks using the Selective disk backup and restore for Azure VMs feature.

To restore a VM running SAP HANA, follow these steps:

  1. Restore a new VM from Azure VM backup from the latest recovery point. Or create a new empty VM and attach the disks from the latest recovery point.

  2. If WA disks are excluded, they aren’t restored.

    In this case, create empty WA disks and log area.

  3. After all the other configurations (such as IP, system name, and so on) are set, the VM is set to receive DB data from Azure Backup.

  4. Now restore the DB into the VM from the Azure SAP HANA DB backup to the desired point-in-time.

Back up a HANA system with replication enabled (preview)

Azure Backup now supports back up of databases that have HANA System Replication (HSR) enabled (preview). This means that backups are managed automatically, when a failover occurs, thus eliminating manual intervention. It also offers immediate protection with no remedial full backups that allows you to protect HANA instances/nodes of the HSR setups as a single HSR container. While there are multiple physical nodes (a primary and a secondary), the backup service now considers them a single HSR container.

Note

As the feature is in preview, there're no Protected Instance charges for a logical HSR container. However, you're charged for the underlying storage of the backups.

Back up database instance snapshots (preview)

As databases grow in size, the time taken to restore becomes a factor when dealing with streaming backups. Also, during backup, the time taken by the database to generate Backint streams can grow in proportion to the churn, which can be factor as well.

A database consistent snapshot based approach helps to solve both issues and provides you the benefit of instant backup and instant restore. For HANA, Azure Backup is now providing a HANA consistent snapshot based approach that is integrated with Backint, so that you can use Azure Backup as a single product for your entire HANA landscape, irrespective of size.

Pricing

Managed disk snapshot

Azure Backup uses managed disk snapshots. Azure Backup stores these in a Resource Group you specify. Managed disk snapshots use standard HDDs storage irrespective of the storage type of the disk and you're charged as per Managed disk snapshot pricing. The first disk snapshot is a full snapshot and all subsequent ones are incremental that consist only of the changes since the last snapshot.

Note

There are no backup storage costs for snapshots since they are NOT transferred to Recovery Services vault.

BackInt streams

As per SAP recommendation, it's mandatory to have weekly fulls for all the databases within an Instance, which is protected by snapshot. So, you'll be charged for all protected databases within the Instance (Protected instance pricing + backup storage pricing) as per Azure Backup pricing for SAP HANA databases.

Next steps