Cloud Cellar: Azure Web Sites Backup Service

My site (RuslanY.net) is powered by WordPress and is hosted on Windows Azure Web Sites. I’ve migrated it from a private hosting to Windows Azure last year and since then I am pretty happy about the level or reliability and performance that I got on Windows Azure. The one thing that I’ve been missing though was the regular backups that I used to have when I self-hosted my site. I backed up the site content and the database regularly and those backups have saved me several times. Often when I upgraded some WordPress plugins, the newer plugin version got some bug or change in behavior that I did not like. On those occasions I just restored the site from the most recent backup that I took. I really wanted to have this capability even when hosting my site in Windows Azure.

That’s what prompted me and my friends (Bilal Aslam, Robert Lucero and Michael Dorian Bach) to develop a backup service for Windows Azure web sites. The service is called Cloud Cellar and is now live in beta at

https://www.getcloudcellar.com/

Cloud Cellar Home Page

With this service you can schedule regular backups of web sites hosted in Windows Azure along with SQL Azure or MySQL databases. The following walkthrough demonstrates the main capabilities of the service.

Sign up experience is pretty simple and once logged on you will see the main dashboard that shows the status of all the backups that you have scheduled. You can see how much storage all your backup copies take and how many backup jobs you can setup

Cloud Cellar Backup Dashboard

Creating a new backup job is easy

  1. First upload a publishing profile for the site
    Upload Publishing Profile
  2. Next choose where to save the backup copies. You can use Cloud Cellar storage or specify connection to your own Windows Azure Storage
    Choose Backup Storage
  3.  Select backup schedule. Currently available options are “Weekly” and “Monthly”. “Daily”, “Hourly” and “On-Demand” are coming soon.
    Select Backup Schedule
  4. Customize the backup. For example you can choose to backup only the site content or only the databases. Also you can specify the size limit for a backup. When a successful backup copy is taken the Cloud Cellar will check the total size used by the backup job and if it exceeds specified limit then the oldest backup copies will be deleted.
    Customize Backup

As soon as backup job is created a first copy will be taken. It may take some time, depending on the size of your site and databases. After it has been created you can see the backup copy details, including the number of backed up files and database tables.

Backup Copy Details

From this page you can download the backup copy, which is a zipped up content of your site and database.

Download Backup Copy

You can also schedule a restore job which will do a full synchronization of the site content with what was in the backup copy.

Restore Backup Copy

The Cloud Cellar Service is completely free and very easy to use. We hope it will be useful for people who need this kind of backup capability in Windows Azure. Please try it out and let us know if you have any feedback or feature suggestions.

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ruslany on June 27th 2013 in Other, WAWS, WordPress

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