One of the key scenarios that you can leverage the cloud for is backup and that is what we are going to take a look in this post. Backup is something that should be doing everyday in your datacenter. Regardless of the size of your datacenter, you backup your data. You can backup your data to a variety of locations and media. Are you prepared if you lose your backup volumes or misplace the tape or if disaster strikes?
You can now include the cloud into your thought process as a storage destination for your data. It is secure and easy scenario to dip your toe into using the cloud. The cloud backups instantly provide you a disaster recovery environment and a great place to store your data. These tools provide you automated backups that are offsite.
In Windows Azure you can use the familiar backup tools in Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager. These tools provide similar experiences configuring, monitoring, and recovering backups whether to local disk or Windows Azure storage. After data is backed up to the cloud, authorized users can easily recover backups to any server. Windows Azure backup is also very efficient. Windows Azure provides incremental backups, only changes to files are transferred to the cloud. This helps ensure efficient use of storage, reduced bandwidth consumption, and point-in-time recovery of multiple versions of the data. Configurable data retention policies, data compression and data transfer throttling also offer you added flexibility and help boost efficiency. Backups are stored in Windows Azure and are "offsite," reducing the need to secure and protect onsite backup media.
So the cloud provides a great environment to protect your data. However, when you think about the backup cost will also become a factor. Windows Azure Backup is currently in preview and there is a 50% discount during the preview period. The first 5GB is free, after 5GB the cost is between $.30 – $.50 per GB per month depending on how you purchase the service. While the backup features in Windows Azure are currently in technical preview we have announced some preview pricing located here: Pricing details
Currently you can try all of this free with a free trial and it is very easy to get started.
Backing Up Your Servers
Now that you have all the basics setup you are now ready to begin backing up your data to the cloud. To start protecting your servers, you will need to register the servers with Windows Azure, and then you can begin manage your backups. When you installed the backup agent, it also created a Windows Azure Backup application that you will use to configure your backups, and recover your data. The tool works very similar to Windows backup the only difference is the tool is actively leveraging Windows Azure.
Now you can wait for your backup schedule to kick off or you can click Backup now to begin the process. When you select backup now your screen will look similar to the following:
Recovering Your Data
Now what happens when you want to recover your files. This is also done through the Windows Azure backup applications as well.
As you can see you leverage the power of the cloud for the backup very easily. Remember you can contribute to the series. Let us know what scenarios are you interested in seeing? Are you currently using Windows Azure, if so how are you using it? Let us know and email me firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post. We will try to include them in this series.
Also remember to sign up for your free Window Azure trial: Get Started TODAY with a FREE 90-DAY Windows Azure Subscription
You can find the full series here: 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure