Azure Backup and Site Recovery Plans

By Farwah Aslam | Microsoft Cloud

Jan 14

Data is the currency of modern businesses but in today’s digital world, the amount of data organizations are creating and collecting is growing by over 40% per year. According to some analysis, 90% of the world’s current data was created in the last two years. This increase in data has yielded more ways in which to back it up. Ten years ago, data backup was simple. Copy files to a disk or backup to a tape. Today we have much more data. Research predicts that there will be 40 zettabyte of data on the planet by 2020. Those amazing effects lead to an ever increasing cost to store and manage this data

We’re all told that taking the regular backups of your data is important but did you know that a backup alone is not enough to get you operational if your business went gently floating downstream. Keeping dusty backups of your data stacked in the story is great when you need to restore a single file but what do you do with it when your servers are not there anymore. A disaster recovery plan outlines what to do with your backups when lights go out.

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So, Backups or Data Recovery, which one do you need for your business or do you need both?

One of the common myths is that you can protect your data by having data recovery alone or just having an off site backup. A Lot of businesses think i am doing backups on site, i am fully protected, my data is being backed up everyday, i can recover. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there are still some real risks anyway. They don’t take into consideration that what would happen if their site goes down. Your backups are ineffective at that point. Here the cloud comes in. It allows you to take a copy of your backups and move them off site so that you have a copy of the data in a different location. You can begin recovery operations while your primary site is down. The only way to really protect yourself against any type of downtime scenario is to have a really comprehensive backup and DR strategy.

In Azure there are two core services that you want to take advantage of; Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup. Both compliment each other to provide you with an end to end business continuity.

Azure backup

Every byte in Azure is stored three times. So, do you really need to backup your stuff when you are already backing it three times? Yes and yes. Azure does take three copies of your data and stores it in azure storage but you still need azure backup to protect against ransomware, corruptions, or accidental deletion.

With Microsoft Azure backup you can eliminate expensive discs and tape costs and ensure that all your data is protected. It will enable you to either supplement your existing on-premises backup solutions or replace them entirely at a lower cost with a scalable, reliable, secure and encrypted cloud based solution.

Features of Azure Backup:

No more taps needed for backup

No need for taps and therefore maintaining an expensive off site storage facility becomes redundant. This help protect data against loss and corruptions.

Protect on-premises and Azure VMs

Protect your on-premises VMs running with windows or Linux but also your VMs already running in azure.

Long term retention

It enables you to keep your data up to 99 years and meet any legal and compliance requirements. So you might not be around in 99 years, but your backups will be.

Consistent experience

Configuring, monitoring and recovering backups across local disc and cloud storage for on premises or cloud workloads.

Wide application support

Supports variety of applications such as sequel servers, sharepoint servers, exchange file servers and even window client computers.

Security

Enjoy the confidence that your data is safe with Azure certified security privacy and compliance practices. Azure is certified with many times over with International Organization for Standardization.

Workload protection everywhere

Protect any cloud hosted, public or private running workloads.

Multi factor authentication

Azure backups are protected with multi factor authentication. So azure backups got you covered when it comes to security and protecting against ransomware.

Cost effective

It’s a cost effective solution metered by usage which transform your capital expenditure into a controlled and defined monthly operating expenditure.

The customers primarily use backups to retain their data for long term retention purposes and so azure backup is optimized based on the way that it compresses your data for long term retention. So it gives you quick accessibility to your data but also keeps your costs low. You have to pay $10 per VM that’s protected with azure backup and then it’s a pay as you go service. You only pay for the amounts of storage that are consumed. Azure backup is free for first 30 days.

Size of Each Instance

Azure Backup Price/Month

Instance < or = 50 GB

$5 + storage consumed

Instance is > 50 but < or = 500 GB

$10 + storage consumed

Instance > 500 GB

$10 for each 500GB increment + storage consumed

Types of Microsoft Azure Backups

Microsoft azure backup comes in four different flavors to encompass your business needs.

  1. Integrate with data protection manager DPM
  2. Free azure backup available for download
  3. Integrated with windows backup
  4. Protects VMs in azure
A little more about security

With azure you have the confidence that your data is safely stored in the cloud. Before your data is copied to azure it is first encrypted with your own encryption key. It is then sent to your backup vault where it stays encrypted until you decide to restore the data at which points it will get decrypted with your key on your premises.

What is a Recovery Service Vault? It’s the place that stores backups, so that as you are taking your backups, you can go into this one centralized location and see all the backups that you have. It’s also the space that holds Azure site recovery, which is what allows you to replicate and fill over applications to azure. It holds your business continuity solutions.

Your recovery service vault is connected to your azure storage account, but your recovery services vault automatically scales storage based on the amount of backups that you are taking.

Azure site recovery plan

Before we dive into azure site recovery, let’s take a look at what a disaster actually is and why you should be concerned.

5 causes of IT disasters
  1. Hardware failure
  2. Human error
  3. Viral infection
  4. Malicious/criminal intent
  5. Environmental catastrophes

All of these can cause a critical application go offline.

Traditional disaster recovery strategies

When a disaster does happen, what do you do?

  • Nothing at all
  • Backup to disc or a tape
  • Dual active/active data centers
  • Dedicated secondary data center

But you do have a cost effective alternative in Microsoft as Azure Site Recovery. Data Recovery allows you to protect entire systems. It replicates an entire environment to a second location so that when the time comes, you can flip a switch and your production systems are fully ready within minutes to an hour.

It lets you rest easy knowing that all your workloads are protected from any disaster without having to build and maintain a secondary data center or rely on your backup strategy. Azure delivers cloud services that extend your data center and protect your infrastructure, transforming your business with a true hybrid solution.

So how does it work?

There are three main steps to set azure site recovery.

  1. Preparing your local infrastructure
  2. Replicate your applications
  3. Preparing your recovery plan

Features of Azure Site Recovery

No secondary data center

With azure site recovery, you no longer need an expensive secondary data center to protect your application as you extend your data center to azure.

Heterogeneous environment

It can be used with different environments such as VMwares, physical servers or even with VMs running in other public clouds.

Support complex workloads

Complex workloads are fully supported.

Test fail-overs

You can test your disaster recovery plans without protecting your production environments giving you the confidence that when a disaster does happen your system is protected.

Automate recovery plans

Automation can also be used to enable the true power of recovery plans and allow you to fail over your workloads by the click of a button removing the stress associated with disaster.

Use as a migration tool to azure

It can also be used as a free migration tool to permanently move your workloads to azure for a true hybrid experience reducing your infrastructure maintenance cost.

Azure site recovery models

On premises to on premises protection

It can be used if you already have an investment in a secondary data center. In this case, site recovery can still be utilized as a management and orchestrated platform across all different types of environments; virtual or physical.

On premises to Microsoft Azure

If you do not have or do not want to invest in a secondary site, this is the solution for you. ASR provides the capability to replicate virtual and physical server to azure which means you can avoid the complexity and cost of managing a secondary site for data.

Azure Site Recovery Plan

Azure Site Recovery is billed based on number of instances protected. Every instance that is protected with Azure Site Recovery is free for the first 31 days, as noted below.

Description

Price for First 31 Days

Price After First 31 Days

Azure Site Recovery to customer owned sites

20$

₹1,057.54/month per instance protected

Azure Site Recovery to Azure

20$

₹1,652.41/month per instance protected

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