Backups and data protection in general has been an ongoing challenge for organisations for years.  Investment in suitable hardware and software isn’t cheap and only lasts for so many years before it’s superseded by the next great technical advancement – more capacity, faster throughput and wider software support to name but a few.

Then there is the storage of media – using third parties can be expensive but overall worthwhile. Some smaller organisations choose to store tapes at the home of managers or directors, but this adds risk of environmental issues such as temperature fluctuation and dust.

Also, when looking to store data for long periods we need to think about how that data can be recovered in the future. The device used to create a backup may no longer be operational and a replacement device unavailable. In the majority of technologies, most tape technology is no longer compatible with previous versions.

A cloud solution can release an organisation from the boundaries of previous backup solutions and can provide a very flexible and scalable solution. If you are evaluating your backup options, a cloud solution is certainly worth considering.

Benefits of Microsoft Azure cloud service for back up

Using cloud storage negates some risk by holding backups on spinning disk in the cloud;  it is always available and it’s the cloud vendor’s job to manage the underlying hardware with no impact or risk to the customer.

With the advancement of cloud services, in particular Microsoft Azure, there are clear advantages to utilising a cloud service for backups.

  • Capacity grows with demand, only pay for what you use
  • Functionality is good – application integration into Exchange and SQL is out of the box for example
  • Pay only for what you use, don’t invest in assets that will not be fully utilised until their nearly due for replacement
  • Multiple schedules – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly options with retention up to 99 years

All transfers are encrypted by creating a certificate on the storage backup vault within Azure and then installing this into the agent. This certificate must be installed on to each target server, allowing encrypted data transfers to the cloud service. The operating systems supported are Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 and newer.

Microsoft Azure subscriptions can cover the services necessary to deliver the service to organisations, enabling reports to show utilisation and costs associated. It is also a good introduction to the Microsoft Azure cloud services, enabling expansion at a later date to be quick and simple.

Sizing the internet connection

With cloud comes the need for suitable comms circuits to the internet and/or the cloud service directly. The Microsoft Azure backup service utilises the internet connection of the organisation, so this should be sized according to the data transfer demands of the organisation and if necessary scheduled for running in dark hours only.

A simple exercise in calculating live data ,the number of backups required, backup time window and likely throughput should give enough guidance to size the internet connection appropriately.

It’s not just size though, the quality of comms circuits is also important. DSL services with big download but little upload bandwidth won’t deliver this requirement, and a synchronous service providing the same bandwidth up and down is required.

Acora can advise your company on the best options available to you and then help you transform your data protection capability, and if required manage the whole back up process for you.


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