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What Is Microsoft Azure Backup: Overview & Best Practices

Azure Backup is a cloud backup service by Microsoft Azure that lets you store and manage data and applications in Microsoft’s data centres. It is a secure, serverless service that can help organisations safeguard their data from ransomware attacks.

With over 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies using Microsoft Azure, it is the most trusted cloud computing vendor. As businesses evolve over time, the amount of data that is produced significantly increases. So, what would happen if this data were lost? Events such as natural disasters, hardware failures, etc., can result in data loss even in the cloud data centre. Consequently, your company might face severe financial and legal consequences related to missing or breached data.

Azure Backup is an optimal solution for making your data objectively secure. It is Microsoft’s cloud-based data protection solution that lets you manage your workload in data centres. You can leverage the features of Azure Backup using the Data Protection Manager (DPM), Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS), and Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent.

What Is Azure Backup?

Azure Backup is a centralised backup service that allows you to automatically allocate and manage your storage in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. It ensures protection against malware, such as ransomware. It can protect a wide range of enterprise workloads, including SQL and SAP databases, Azure Virtual Machines, and Azure file shares. Thanks to the centralised management interface, it also lets you define policies for data backups and enforce organisational standards.

Why Use Azure Backup?

Azure Backup allows you to manage backup data at scale, reduce costs, secure backups, and protect diverse workloads. Moreover, it has built-in security and compliance features that let you assess compliance in your working environments.

Key Features & Benefits

The service is designed to help your backup environment against ransomware attacks by providing tools and implementing preventive measures. It also safeguards your storage against any threats that may cause data loss.

Multiple-workload support

It allows you to back up on-premises servers, Azure Files, Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, and SQL Server and SAP HANA on Azure Virtual Machines.

Durable storage options

Azure Storage always stores multiple copies of your data when you use the service. It considers various planned and unplanned events that may threaten your data. These include natural disasters, hardware failures, and network or power outages. The storage options in Backup replicate your storage account synchronously across different Azure availability zones in the primary and secondary regions.

  • Locally Redundant Storage (LRS): Your storage account is replicated three times within a single data centre in the primary region. It offers 99.999999999% (i.e., 11 nines) durability over a given year.
  • Zone-Redundant Storage (ZRS): Your storage account is copied across three zones in the primary region. Over a given year, it offers 99.9999999999% (i.e., 12 nines) durability.
  • Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS): Data is stored three times within a single physical location in the primary region. It is then copied to a single physical location in a secondary region that is located hundreds of miles away. It offers 99.99999999999999% (i.e., 16 nines) durability over a given year.

Application consistency

This service ensures application consistency when you back up and restore data from virtual machines. This is made possible through the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in Windows and through pre- and post-processing scripts in Linux.

Centralised management

The Backup Centre allows you to manage and monitor your entire backup estate through a centralised management system.

Best Practices for Implementing Azure Backup

Storage backup costs and data misconfigurations are the two factors that can be challenging for many organisations. The best practices that help optimise and cut costs are:

1. Budgeting For Azure

Cloud storage can be expensive. Therefore, you should always estimate your backup storage needs in the long run. Azure Pricing Calculator aids in budgeting your backup expenses which ultimately helps cut down on incurred costs in the long run.

2. Using Selective Disk Backup

To reduce your backup storage footprint, you can choose and back up only certain disks within your VM using the Selective Disk Backup option.

3. Choosing The Suitable Storage Redundancy

Analysing your required level of production will help you choose the right storage redundancy. For instance, you can opt LRS instead of an expensive option for your dev-test workloads.

4. Cleaning Inactive Resource

The Optimise tab in the Backup centre allows you to manage inactive and deleted data sources over a chosen period. 

5. Managing Your Retention Policies

Appropriate retention policy configuration is the key to the management of your backup. Moreover, the Retention Optimization tab in the Backup Center allows you to select the suitable retention type and duration.

Conclusion

Azure Backup is the perfect solution for you minimising any concerns about storing and managing ever-increasing business data you may have. It can be used for automating storage management and reducing dependence on on-premises backups. Our Azure Consultants can help you understand the technology, applications, and services that are available for your organisation in the backup service.

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