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An Overview of Azure Backup Features

By August 21, 2017September 16th, 2020Azure, Best Practices, Blog, datacenter, Microsoft
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What is Azure Backup?

Azure Backup is the Azure-based service you can use to back up (or protect) and restore your data in the Microsoft cloud. Azure Backup replaces your existing on-premises or off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive. Azure Backup offers multiple components that you download and deploy on the appropriate computer, server, or in the cloud. The component, or agent, that you deploy depends on what you want to protect. All Azure Backup components (whether you’re protecting data on-premises or in the cloud) can be used to back up data to a Recovery Services vault in Azure. See the Azure Backup components table (later in this article) for information about which component to use to protect specific data, applications, or workloads.

Why use Azure Backup? It’s Extensive Assortment of Features

Traditional backup solutions have evolved to treat the cloud as an endpoint, or static storage destination, similar to disks or tape. While this approach is simple, it is limited and doesn’t take full advantage of an underlying cloud platform, which translates to an expensive, inefficient solution. Other solutions are expensive because you end up paying for the wrong type of storage, or storage that you don’t need and are often inefficient because they don’t offer you the type or amount of storage you need, and administrative tasks require too much time. In contrast Azure is a cost-competitive backup solution and delivers these key benefits:

Automatic Storage Management

Hybrid environments often require heterogeneous storage—some on-premises and some in the cloud. With Azure Backup, there is no cost for using on-premises storage devices. Azure Backup automatically allocates and manages backup storage, and it uses a pay-as-you-go model. Pay-as-you-go means that you only pay for the storage you consume. For more information, see the Azure pricing page.

Unlimited Scaling

Azure Backup uses the underlying power and unlimited scale of the Azure cloud to deliver high-availability with no maintenance or monitoring overhead. You can set up alerts to provide information about events, but you don’t need to worry about high-availability for your data in the cloud.

Multiple Storage Options

An aspect of high-availability is storage replication. Azure Backup offers two types of replication: locally redundant storage and geo-redundant storage. Choose the backup storage option based on need:

  • Locally redundant storage (LRS) replicates your data three times (it creates three copies) in a paired datacenter in the same region. LRS is a low-cost option for protecting your data from local hardware failures.
  • Geo-redundant storage (GRS) replicates your data to a secondary region (hundreds of miles away from the primary location of the source data). GRS costs more than LRS, but GRS provides a higher level of durability for your data, even if there is a regional outage.

Unlimited Data Transfer

Azure Backup does not limit the amount of inbound or outbound data you transfer. Azure Backup also does not charge for the data that is transferred. However, if you use the Azure Import/Export service to import large amounts of data, there is a cost associated with inbound data. For more information about this cost, see Offline-backup workflow in Azure Backup. Outbound data refers to data transferred from a Recovery Services vault during a restore operation.

Data Encryption

Data encryption allows for secure transmission and storage of your data in the public cloud. You store the encryption passphrase locally, and it is never transmitted or stored in Azure. If it is necessary to restore any of the data, only you have encryption passphrase or key.

Application-Consistent Backup

Whether backing up a file server, virtual machine, or SQL database, you need to know that a recovery point has all the required data to restore the backup copy. Azure Backup provides application-consistent backups, which ensure additional fixes are not needed to restore the data. Restoring application-consistent data reduces the restoration time, allowing you to quickly return to a running state.

Long-Term Retention

Instead of switching backup copies from disk to tape and moving the tape to an off-site location, you can use Azure for short-term and long-term retention. Azure doesn’t limit the length of time data remains in a Backup or Recovery Services vault. You can keep data in a vault for as long as you like. Azure Backup has a limit of 9999 recovery points per protected instance. See the Backup and Retention section in this article for an explanation of how this limit may impact your backup needs.

Does Azure Backup Sound Like a Good Fit for You? Give us a call at (303)974-6881 to learn more about Azure Backup and cloud computing. Our consultations are completely free!

Beth Zange-Sellers, PEI

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