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Azure Backup (Day 29 of 31)

List of all posts from this series: http://vunvulearadu.blogspot.ro/2014/11/azure-blog-post-marathon-is-ready-to.html

Short Description 
How nice would be a feature that allow us to create automatically backups of our system and store them in a reliable location from where we can restore it when needed. This is called Azure Backup and can be used with success to create backups of our systems.

Main Features 
Operation System Supported
In the current version (in preview) we can create backups for Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7 (64b with SP1).
Access
Using management tools we can specify users that have access to this backups. In this way only authorized users can access the backup content.
Management Tool
We can manage the backups using different tools from Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 essential or System Center 2012. For all of this, we are using DPM (Data Protection Manager) to manage the backups. The cloud storage that is used to create the backup itself can be seen like a local disk.
SLA
The current SLA for Azure Backup is 99.9% availability. For backup storage, I would say that this is more than enough for normal use cases.
Geo-Replication of backups
Because the storage that is used for backups is part of Azure Storage we have different features inherited from Azure Storage like geo-replication features. This mean that our backups will exist in more than one data center.
This mean that your backup is replicated in 2 different datacenters, having 6 different copies.
Incremental Backups
The backup mechanism is smart enough to store only the deltas of each backups. This mean that the size of our backups will not reach an astronomical size.
Secure connection
The connection between on-premises and cloud is a secure connection. In this way no one can stay on the wire and read the content of your backup.
Encryption
All the content that leave your on-premises machines is encrypted.
No initial investment
You pay only the space you use. You don’t need to book X TB of space and pay in advance.
Compression
On top of a secure connection and encrypted content, the content is compressed to reduce the space that is required to store your backup.
Content protection
The connection that is establish between on-premises and cloud is based on a certificate and a set of credentials – so called vault credentials.
Volume format
The format of the volume that is backed can be only NTFS.

Limitations 
Azure backups cannot be used when:

  • Volume is locked by BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • Volume is not formatted with NTFS
  • Drive type is not fixed
  • Volume is read-only
  • Volume is not currently online
  • Volume is on a network share


Applicable Use Cases 
Azure Backups can be used with success in any use case when we need to create backups and to store them in a location where we are sure that backup’s content will not be lost.


Code Sample 
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Pros and Cons 
Pros

  • Easy to use and manage
  • Secure
  • Incremental backups support
  • 6 copies of your backups in 2 different data centers
  • No extra charge for outbound traffic or transactions 


Cons
I don’t know if this is a real limitation but I would really like to be able to use it with network shares also.

Pricing 
When you calculate the cost of Azure Backups you should take into account:

  • The size of the backup


Conclusion
This is a service that can be very useful  not only for companies but also for end users that needs to create backups. On the top of all the features that Azure Backups has, the cost calculation is very simple because is only around the size of the backup.

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