Microsoft yesterday (26-03-2015) announced the capability to backup IaaS VMs on the Microsoft Azure platform using Azure Backup. Where some of my  customers planning to migrate part of their applications and entire virtual machines to Azure, the protection of customer data through the backup of the entire Virtual Machine (VM) becomes a regular requested feature. Now we can provide a basic service to ensure a native fall-back mechanism.

Until now we had to shutdown the VM to be able to create a consistent copy of the Virtual Machine, and some time ago, Azure provided us with snapshotting technology through Powershell. This covered the basics for some customers, other customers decided not to use this and thought of this as just fiddling around with Powershell and rather wait until Azure provided native tools. That time is now!

A few features of this new feature are: (as described on Microsoft’s blog)

1. Independent isolated backup copy

Backups are guarded against accidental destruction of the original data. With Azure Backup, your VMs are stored away in an Azure Backup vault with built-in management of recovery points.

2. Application-consistent backup

With Azure Backup, you can now get application consistent backup of Windows VMs without having to shut down the VM.

3. Predictable IO and Backup time

The most time-consuming operation in backup is the copying of data from the primary storage to the backup storage, and the time taken is dependent on a host of factors like network latency, available IOPS on the primary storage account, available IOPS on the backup storage account etc… Azure Backup implements an optimized blob copy that ensures constant, predictable IO and backup times.

4. Efficient storage consumption

Azure Backup does additional processing to determine the incremental changes between the last recovery point and the current VM state. By transferring and storing only the incremental changes, Azure Backup is highly storage efficient.

5. High success rate of backup jobs

Azure Backup has built-in retry mechanisms for the backup tasks, to ensure that any intermittent failure does not affect the completion of the backup job.

6. Zero infrastructure deployment and maintenance

The storage and compute infrastructure requirements are automatically handled by the Azure Backup service. The customer need not worry about scaling up either – protect as many VMs as needed, at any time. Azure Backup also reduces the overhead of maintenance by automatically handling the VM extension upgrade, without user intervention. Azure Backup truly achieves “set-and-forget” for VM backups.

Please come back soon for the step-by-step Guide on how to activate this great feature in your Azure subscription!

Leave a Reply