Data is the digital essence of modern organizations and to ensure the survival of your business you need to protect this vital resource.
Backing up your data is the first line of defense in data protection. It forms the foundation to build other data protection solutions like disaster recovery, business continuity, and high-availability. Backing up your data is not a new concept or practice. When punch cards were the data storage system of the day, operators had a second copy. However, the technologies we use to backup data have changed radically over the years, and the Internet has created the next step in this evolution—cloud-based backup solutions.
Backing up your data to a cloud service like Microsoft Azure has a few advantages over traditional on-premise backup solutions. These include capacity, cost, simplicity, freedom, and management.
When you backup your data to an on-premise solution, you are responsible for managing and maintaining the storage medium.
Over and above, the administrative overhead of managing this storage, means you are limited by the capacity of the storage you have on hand. As your production data grows, your backup storage needs to grow with it.
Cloud backup solves this storage capacity problem. There are many business benefits to the unlimited storage capacity cloud-based backups offer. First, not having to maintain unused spare capacity increases efficiency, and unlimited storage volumes means no compromise on the amount or type of data you are backing up.
Cloud backups work on a pay per use subscription model which has a very low barrier to entry.
Traditional on-premise backup solutions require you to procure and commission hardware, software, and storage before you can backup your data. You also need to make sure you have enough capacity for growth which creates a period of inefficiency when your data volumes are low as you are not fully utilizing the investment you have made.
Cloud backup solutions offer a better return. They allow you to backup your data to an enterprise-grade solution with no required upfront investment, and because you only pay for what you use, they are cost-effective and financially efficient.
Cloud backup solutions are simple to deploy if we compare these to traditional on-premise backup solutions.
Traditional backup solutions require the installation and configuration of hardware, software, and storage which takes time, effort, and specialist skill.
Cloud backups, on the other hand, require minimal setup, so you are up and running with a fully redundant offsite solution in a matter of minutes.
With Cloud backups, there are no long-term contracts and no investments in hardware, software, and storage.
This capability far outweighs the restrictive nature of traditional backup solutions as investments in hardware and software licensing commit you to the platform for an extended period.
Cloud backups give you the freedom to quickly switch solutions as well as scale up or even scale down your requirements without negatively impacting your business.
Cloud backups ease the management burden of administering data protection solutions.
First, due to the continued investment by cloud backup solution companies to streamline their solutions and align them to the demands of this growing market, user interfaces and functionality are becoming more powerful and simpler to use.
Also, cloud backup solutions give you the option to safely test restores in an off-production environment that limits the impact on your operations.
Data Protection with Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure has a few enterprise-grade services which can help you protect your data and keep your business online. These include standard cloud backup, a full disaster recovery service, and a hybrid cloud backup solution.
Azure backup contains all the benefits of a true cloud backup solution. With no upfront capital investment and minimal operational expense, Azure backup gives you the enterprise features you need to ensure your data is backed up, secure and most importantly, offsite.
Security and Availability
To make sure your data is secure and always available, Azure backup stores three copies of your data in three different locations in the primary Azure data center, and another three copies in an alternative remote Azure data center. In addition, your data is encrypted before it leaves the source, in transit, and at rest in the Azure backup vault.
Efficient Network Bandwidth Utilization
Azure backup creates an initial full backup when the service is first utilized which improves efficiency and results in faster backup times. Following this initial backup, only incremental changes send on a schedule defined by you. In addition, built-in compression ensures network utilization and bandwidth consumption are at a minimum.
Seamlessly integrates with DPM
If you already have Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM) deployed in your on-premise environment, you can seamlessly integrate this with Azure backup to create a hybrid backup service. This lets you store data on-premise for faster recovery times and then seeds this data to Azure for offsite protection.
2. Azure Site Recovery
Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is Microsoft Azure’s cloud-based disaster recovery solution.
Backup VMs from Anywhere to Anywhere
With ASR you can orchestrate and automate the replication of your Azure virtual machines between Azure regions. You can also automate and replicate on-premises virtual machines and physical servers to Azure, and on-premises machines to a secondary data center via the ASR service.
Wide Platform Support
ASR supports a wide variety of applications and platforms ranging from Windows to Linux based virtual machines. It also has full support for VMware-based physical servers over and above Microsoft Hyper-V.
Reduction in your infrastructure costs is a definite business benefit of ASR as it provides you with a secondary disaster recovery site at a fraction of what it would cost you to commission one yourself. Also, because it is cloud-based, you can access your secondary site from anywhere, and you only pay for storage until you need to spin up your redundant virtual machines in the event of a disaster.
Simple to Setup with Full SLA
Commissioning an ASR service and replicating your environment is a simple process involving three steps and, to ensure your business stays online and your data is protected, ASR is backed by a 99.9% uptime SLA and 24×7 support.
3. Azure StorSimple
Azure StorSimple is Microsoft’s hybrid cloud storage solution and consists of a StorSimple device and an Azure subscription.
Enhanced Data Storage Management
A StorSimple device is essentially an enterprise storage array installed in your on-premise data center. As it has a wide variety of disk types, StorSimple can provide performance while keeping costs low. It does this by storing frequently accessed data on faster SSD disks and less frequently accessed, or archive data on slower disks.
Offsite Backup and Archiving to Azure
StorSimple comes with offsite backup capability built-in, and the full solution includes Azure backup subscription credits. Once commissioned and with the Azure service enabled, the StorSimple device seamlessly streams the data stored on the device to Azure for backup using compression, encryption, and incremental changes providing efficiency. In addition, StorSimple comes with an archiving option—inactive primary data automatically archives to the cloud freeing up storage space on the StorSimple device.
Azure Data Protection – Backup, DR and Hybrid Cloud
Microsoft Azure offers a comprehensive data protection solution through its suite of data backup, disaster recovery, and archiving tools. With Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, and StorSimple you can rest assured your data is securely backed up and your business protected from disaster. In addition, because all services are cloud-based, you get the business benefits of increased capacity, reduced cost, enhanced simplicity, unrestricted freedom, and simplified management.