Reporting on Azure Backup by utilising PowerBI

In my last blog, I talked about Azure Backup along with the simplicity and how beneficial it can be for implementation into your current infrastructure. So that’s great, you’ve got your backups configured, everything is running… but how do you know it’s working?

To check if your backups have been successful or have failed you have to login to the portal and navigate through various blades to actually see the result… good information, but not ideal. If you’re like me, you like pretty dashboards and nice visualisations to show “hey this backup’s healthy” in a green donut shaped chart or a big red exclamation mark shouting “fix me now!” if it has failed.

By easily linking your Azure Subscription to Power BI you can receive some lovely insightful data.

Right now, the Backup Reports function in Azure is currently in preview, meaning there are a few bugs. However, with time I’m pretty sure these will be ironed out. Reports for Azure SQL, Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Microsoft Azure Backup Server are not supported at this time. Setting up is as easy as it comes, now I’ve never used Power BI before, with any new technology I don’t know about, YouTube becomes my friend. The good thing is, you don’t need a heavy amount of studying for this.

So to set up the report you firstly need to provision a new storage account (or use an existing one), navigate into the Recovery Services vault and configure the backup reports diagnostics, sign into Power BI (it’s free) and connect the service to the data source – (prior to this I already had 2 IaaS Virtual Machines (VM) currently backed up in Azure).


Once everything was connected, I logged into Power BI, went to my Azure Backup Dashboard, and nothing was displayed 

This is normal as data can take up to 24 hours to appear in the dashboard on a first initial push.

Which isn’t great because I had to wait for the data to be populated.

After binge watching Game of Thrones, I got some data in the Portal.

Straight away it shows that there is one protected instance….ONE?!? What…I’m pretty sure I backed up two of my VM’s *logs into Azure Portal…checks backups*

Yeah I did backup two VM’s…

After some digging, I did notice some other abnormalities, at the section:

“Total Cloud Backup Storage (MB)” is 57.296k….so 57 megabytes….when my Azure Cloud Storage says 55GB….Bizarre?

I understand it’s still in preview, so these kinds of things will be ironed out I’m sure, but straight away, you’ve got nice looking donut charts, where you can see: Job health, Job duration, backed up items and alerting.

Setting up alerts couldn’t be any easier than it already is, all you have to do is click the ellipsis on one of the tiles, click the bell, add and configure the alert rule, email address, save and close.

Now, another great feature is that you can login and see this on your mobile phone, you could be about to Tee off on an 18 holer in Spain and receive an alert from Power BI, open the app and check the status.

If you see red, all it takes is a call the IT department and scream “Back ups are down!!!”

You can see this is very beneficial for any CIO, CTO or IT Director that doesn’t want to see raw .csv data, or sift through an excel spreadsheet, so seeing a visual aspect is much more appealing, providing the exact information on the data you want!

Yes reports for Azure Backup has a few minor bugs, but it’s still in preview and will be fixed.

There’s a ton of other cool things Power BI can do, so once you get this connected have a play around, create some dashboards, make some charts, go grab some donuts, transferring your raw data into Power BI and making it visually appealing as well as highly intelligent insightful data.

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