Unless you’ve been offline for the last decade or so, you’re unlikely to be familiar with Cloud Computing. Adoption of cloud services is increasing regularly and despite how it may seem, AWS is not the only cloud option.
Azure is an enterprise-grade cloud computing platform, offered by Microsoft, that focuses on hybrid cloud environments and is used by a wide variety of organizations, from Bank of America to Toyota. Azure can be used for a range of workloads, including DevOps, blockchain, internet of things, and big data analytics. It provides integration with Windows-based devices that the other providers have trouble matching.
If you’ve already adopted Azure or are considering doing so, you probably want to make sure that all of the hard work that goes into migration and configuration is protected. Here, we’ll look at how Azure handles one of the key aspects of this i.e. Azure Backup.
Also Read: Latest Microsoft Azure Trends
5 Features of Azure Backup to Know About
Backing up your data is vital in any environment but in the cloud, it is often handled a bit differently. Below are five aspects of Azure Backup that you should be aware of, in order to ensure that your data remains safe and available.
1. Combination of Services
Azure offers two services for backup that are intended to complement each other in your business continuity and disaster recovery strategy ━ Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup.
Azure Site Recovery is meant as a disaster recovery solution for on-premise machines and VMs and lets you replicate machines across multiple locations. If a disaster occurs, you can fail machines from the primary site to the secondary and back again when ready.
Azure Backup is meant for backing up data from on-premise machines and VMs and allows data recovery on a more granular level. If, for example, you do not need to recover an entire machine or simply want to create duplicate data for compliance or archiving, Azure Backup is what you would use.
2. Restoration of Individual Files
With Backup, you can restore entire machines as well as individual files, depending on your needs. This is very different from AWS snapshots which require you to restore all or nothing. Being able to restore individual files makes data recovery faster as you don’t have to wait for an entire machine to be restored. It prevents you from having to clean up associated backup data that you didn’t need.
To restore your files, you must connect the desired recovery point to your machine as a local drive, which can be done with a script that Azure provides. Once connected, you can search for the specific files you need, as you would do on traditional backup drives, and restore them.
3. Multiple Storage Options
Backup offers two ways of storing your backup data, depending on your configuration and needs – Locally Redundant Storage and Geo-Redundant Storage.
- Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) allows you to keep three data copies in a datacenter in the same region as your production data. It is available as a low-cost option for protecting your data from hardware failures.
- Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS) allows you to keep a copy of your data in a secondary region. It is the default and Azure recommended option as it can protect against natural disasters and regional outages. Note that, this option is more expensive than LRS.
4. Built-in Security
Azure includes prevention, alerting, and recovery features in Backup to help you improve your security, as long as you are using the Recovery Services Vault.
- Prevention features include an authentication layer for high-risk features like backup deletion or passphrase modification. This ensures that only users with valid credentials can change how your backups are managed.
- Alerting features include email notifications for operations that impact backup availability, such as deletion of data. This ensures that you know when changes are made and you can verify that changes were not done without approval.
- Recovery features include the retention of deleted backup data for 14 days and a minimum number of stored recovery points. This ensures that accidental or malicious deletion of backup data can be recovered from and protects against data corruption.
5. Multiple Ways to Backup
There are three main ways to create and manage your backups on Azure to better allow you to fit Backup into your existing workflows. If you are skilled in these different ways, you can decide to validate your skills with one of the Microsoft Azure certifications.
The primary way is through Azure Portal, a browser-based interface that offers centralized control of all of your Azure connected services. This has a simple user interface and allows you to access everything from support to reporting services.
For those with a bit more technical knowledge, Backup can also be directed through a shell, like Azure PowerShell AZ, Bash or Azure Cloud Shell, a browser-based command-line interface. These options give you the freedom to use custom scripts and API calls and grant you greater control of Backup functions, such as scheduling and automation.
Also check our previous article on How to Create a Backup Plan using AWS Backup Service?
Making sure that your data is appropriately backed up and safely stored is vital to maintaining a highly available and secure system. Luckily, if you are using Azure cloud services, many of the features you need to accomplish this security and peace of mind are already available through Azure Backup.
By using the features of Azure Backup covered here, and staying aware of new features as they’re released, you can make sure that Backup is truly working for you and that you are getting the most out of your Azure cloud configuration.
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