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5 Tips for Better Backups with Azure Backup

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Posted August 7, 2019

Whether you work on a private server or in the cloud, backups are an essential part of securing your workload and guaranteeing business continuity. If your data is lost or damaged, you need a way to restore it quickly and easily to the most recent version. Many organizations choose to work with cloud services like Microsoft Azure, which can provide the scalability and redundancy required for a reliable backup strategy.

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Another major advantage of cloud giants like Azure is that they offer managed backup solutions, which require minimal effort to maintain. However, backups can be cumbersome, and you may be limited in what you can back up. For this reason, it is important to understand what you can do to make the most of services like Azure Backup.

What Is Azure Backup and How Does It Work?

Azure Backup is Microsoft’s backup solution. It provides data protection for files, folders, virtual machines (VMs), and applications by providing a seamless way to back up your data and restore it. It is possible to use Azure Backup on-premises as well as in the cloud. See this blog post about important See this blog post about important considerations before backing up on Azure.

With Azure Backup we have the following features:

  • Full Virtual Machine
  • No management infrastructure needed to be patched and maintained.
  • Cloud storage with no need to maintain and manage.
  • File and folder level restore out of the VM backup, without having to restore the entire virtual hard disk (VHD) first to browse and find your target file.
  • Keep your business data safe and recoverable when outages occur.
  • Data can be backed up and recovered at a granular level, including backup of files, folders, and machine system state. For example, if a file on your laptop is corrupted, you can use Azure Backup to restore it.
  • Azure Backup is implementing incremental backups. With Incremental Backups, only the blocks that have been changed since the previous backup will be included.
  • Azure Backup does not need another virtual machine to control the backup operation. It uses the Recovery Services Vault (RSV) application as its manager, without the overhead of needing to maintain another Virtual Machine.
  • If your File Server goes down, Azure backup restores the entire server through a single operation, instead of Building a new file server, and then perform the data restore.

Azure Backup provides full VM backups. When a backup job starts, Azure instructs the VM to create full snapshot of the virtual machine’s disks, guaranteeing an application-consistent snapshot without shutting down the VM. The snapshot automatically uploads to Azure Backup for storage in a vault while the snapshot is simultaneously removed from the VM. After that initial backup, Azure will collect instances of only those data blocks that have changed and back up those to the vault.

5 Tips for Azure Backup

Here are some tips that may help you while working with Azure Backup:

#1. Reduce the impact on disk performance

The backup process has an impact on the performance of your disk performance. To reduce this impact on, it’s best to schedule backups during non-peak hours. For better performance, do not use more than 20 disks in a single storage account on the same backup schedule.

#2. Remember what cannot be backed up

Azure Backup cannot backup files and folders from drives and volumes in the following cases:

  • Removable disks or memory cards
  • Volume shadow copy service (VSS) and offline volumes
  • The file system is not NTFS
  • The volumes are protected by BitLocker.

#3. Remember data can be backed up and recovered at a file or folder level

Although Azure provides a VM-level backup, you will be able to backup files and folder using Azure backup agents. To restore a single file, you don’t need to restore the entire VM.

#4. Cache folder restrictions

The cache folder cannot be stored in the following locations:

  • Network share
  • Removable disk
  • Offline volume

#5. Renaming backup server

When you rename the backup server, you will need to re-register it to the vault with the new name. Otherwise, all the backups will be stopped.

Wrap Up

Azure Backup is Microsoft’s cloud-based service you can use to back up and restore your data. Azure Backup can replace your existing backup solution with a pure cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and competitive in cost and functionality to all major enterprise backup solutions.

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