Within the recent updates to Microsoft Windows Azure was the release of the Windows Azure Backup Service.
Some pundits claim this is a move by Microsoft to draw in more business for the platform, but enterprise users are certain to applaud the ability to have file and folder backup, recovery, and off-site data-protection services.
Before outlining some of the features of the service, it’s worth observing that it offers enterprise users a service-level agreement and is also supported by Microsoft Support.
Most importantly, Guthrie says:
Data privacy has become a greater issue for database administers, noted eWeek, since revelations surrounding the United States government’s intelligence-gathering sprees. “Allegations that the U.S. government enjoyed privileged access to popular cloud service providers surfaced, putting tech heavyweights, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, on the defensive,” noted the publication. Adding, “There were no such concerns with Windows Azure Backup.”
Guthrie explains that getting started with the Windows Azure Backup Service is simple. Users are walked through the process via a tutorial once they create a new Backup Vault within the Windows Azure Management Portal. A user registers the servers they wish to back up, then configures the backup schedules using one of the management interface tools. Tutorials are offered for these processes, including one that demonstrates the setup of a custom backup schedule using Windows PowerShell.
The primary features of the Windows Azure Backup Service, according to Guthrie, are:
- Simple configuration and management
- Block level incremental backups
- Data compression, encryption and throttling
- Verification of data integrity in the cloud
- Configurable retention policies for cloud storage
Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, a Microsoft partner based in Oakland, Calif., told CRN that cloud storage alleviates the time and expense associated with backing up and keeping track of data. He noted:
Microsoft, according to CRN, is charging its backup customers based on the amount of data stored. There are both pay-as-you-go and prepaid options, as well as some initial promotional offers. After Dec. 1, pay-as-you-go customers will be charged 50 cents/GB/month, while those with contracts will pay 34-40 cents/GB/month.
In addition to the new data backup offering, Windows Azure also offers users disaster recovery services and cloud development tools, which database administrators will surely find useful.
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