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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft adds New Features to Azure Backup

Microsoft adds New Features to Azure Backup


Azure Backup is an agent-based cloud backup and recovery service that can be a replacement to tape-based backup. It works with many versions of Microsoft Windows Server. It supports backing up encrypted, compressed and, sparse type of folders and files. Azure Backup is based on Azure storage building block services such as Azure Blobs. Microsoft has added a set of new features to Azure Backup that addresses key enterprise use cases.

The February 2015 update added the following capabilities to Azure Backup service:

  1. Long-term Retention - This feature enables customers to define data retention policy. They can define daily, weekly, monthly and yearly retention policies. Azure storage can retain data up to 99 years in Azure storage. This service acts as an alternative to tape-based backup mechanisms. According to a report published by Gartner last year on cloud backup, the TCO of cloud backups is significantly lower than tape-based backup. The analysts said, “Although tape media is very inexpensive, a majority of the cost of tape-based backup is the “soft” costs, which occur around backup software, maintenance, and staff time.” The table below compares the TCO of tape backup with cloud backup.

  2. Offline Seeding - With this feature, customers can populate an external storage device with the initial backup copy and ship to the nearest Azure region. Before sending the storage device, customers will encrypt the data using BitLocker Drive Encryption. The Import/Export service only supports 3.5 inch SATA II/III hard drives as external storage devices.
  3. Data Protection Manager Workload Backup - Customers using Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM) could only backup Hyper-V VMs, SQL databases and, file & folders to Azure. With the release of Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager and Azure Backup Agent, customers can backup Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange and Windows Client workloads to Azure. The protection of SharePoint, Exchange, and Windows Client to Azure brings parity between the workloads that can be protected by DPM to the local disk and to Azure.
  4. Improved Monitoring and Reporting in System Center Management Packs for DPM - The new management pack for DPM supports detailed reporting features that can generate rich custom reports by aggregating data from multiple DPM servers. This feature eliminates the need to visit each DPM server to extract reports.

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