In the digital transformation journey, businesses and organizations are producing a huge amount of data that is critical for many business applications. However, accompanying this digital data is also the potential risk of damage due to unexpected events or outage. Few businesses can afford to suffer the loss of data, and they can face financial, legal, and other repercussions as a result.
To address the risk of data loss, backup and recovery processes are carried out to ensure the data is safely replicated to an environment other than the original storage location. Various options are available to back up data. It can be on-premises servers or various cloud backup solutions, including leading public cloud providers. On-premise backups have many issues related to management, but with the cloud, it is possible to store data remotely.
Cloud storage backup has emerged as a key option in the last few years. Backing up data to the cloud holds a redundant copy of data that can be remotely accessible from anywhere in case of outage or disaster to make sure business operations stay active. Storing data in the cloud can significantly improve business recovery duration and allows you to restore data to the native environment more quickly.
Considering Microsoft Azure for Data Backup
Microsoft Azure has gained momentum over the last five years, providing cloud services at scale for businesses. Azure Backup is a backup-as-a-service (BaaS) solution integrated into its public cloud services to businesses. It allows you to back up vital business data and customize your service to deal with a variety of operational events. Azure can back up local files and folders, as well as SharePoint, Exchange, and SQL server data.
Before you decide to move to Azure Backup, certain considerations have to be addressed. This includes assessing your storage and recovery requirements, selecting components for backup, choosing resources while keeping an eye on pricing, and understanding how backup and recovery processes will be implemented.
Azure's backup solution is quite similar to its counterparts in other public cloud domains. However, certain benefits are more specific to Azure. Let us look at which are the more prominent key factors that businesses should look at before they go ahead with Azure Backup.
Hybrid cloud for heterogeneous storage
Azure is initially orientated towards DevOps, Internet of Things (IoT), and app development. Microsoft Azure focuses primarily on use cases based on hybrid cloud architecture. This offers businesses to stick to an on-premises data center for backup while also synchronizing their data in the cloud.
Image source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/windows-server-system-state-backup-azure/
Privacy and security
Privacy and security concerns are paramount for businesses in the digital era. Azure Backup stands out in this regard, offering many built-in security measures to ensure data is safely residing in the Azure cloud and isolated from other hosted business data. Azure has an authenticated process include a passphrase, which is not stored with the cloud, to prevent a breach.
In the event of an attempted breach or vulnerability attack, an automated system informs users to take action before the attacker can reach the backup system. Azure also automatically create and store recovery points for last 14 days to recover anytime from the last state.
Businesses strive towards saving CAPEX and OPEX while transitioning towards digitally-enabled business. Azure Backup offers an affordable pay-as-you-use method for cloud usage that has become the norm in the cloud services domain. Azure specifically offers flexible pricing for businesses as per the requirements. Unlike its counterparts that use a flat rate for storage resources for backup, Azure charges according to the storage consumed at billing time. You can get more information about Azure's pricing structure on this page.
Azure offers unlimited scaling of server resources in real-time. Therefore, businesses need not worry about the infrastructure provided as part of the backup service. Data backup thus remains highly available for applications, and there is no need for monitoring as well.
Unlimited data transfer
Azure has no restriction on the amount of data transferred, either inbound or outbound. With this unlimited data transfer offering, there is no change in pricing, speed, or availability of services. That is an added benefit for businesses in terms of scalability and affordability.
Azure offers short and long-term data retention services, called Recovery Service vaults. Although there is no limit enforced by Azure to retention, the user can specify and define a retention policy for their data.
Ways of storage
Azure offers two ways of replication to keep data highly available. One is Locally Redundant Storage (LRS), which creates copies of data three times in the storage rack. All copies reside on the same premises. It is a low-cost option that protects data from hardware resource glitches. The second method is Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS). It is the default option and copies data at a geographical distance from the source of data. This option is recommended as it protects data from possible natural disasters.
Another crucial benefit of Azure backup is that you can have an application-specific backup. This can help you avoid the need for additional fixes while restoring data from a file server, virtual machines, or SQL servers.
Flexibility in restoring data
Azure backup offers Restore-as-a-Service, which you can use to restore system state files from Azure without many changes. Also, it is possible to apply a system state to Windows servers with the Windows Server Backup utility.
Most features of Azure are shared with the major competitors, including AWS and the Google Cloud Platform. However, some features are specific to use cases that are an essential part of the existing IT infrastructure of businesses. As most organizations are still using Windows OS as part of their IT ecosystem, Azure Backup seems to be the obvious option to choose. It can be an easy decision for businesses to shift copies of data workloads to Azure Backup.