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Microsoft Enters Cloud Backup with Updated Online Preview

Azure Online Backup service goes from Beta to Preview

Microsoft just made a splash in the cloud backup space with the announcement of their Window Azure Backup Service Preview this month. While I'm sure other traditional software and appliance vendors will be partnering with Microsoft to offer a more application coverage, I haven't heard any announcements so we'll just have to wait and see. For the time being thought, it's an exciting time for customers using one of the three products eligible for the preview. Below I've summarized how customers of each of the three products can become eligible for the preview.

Windows Server 2012 Customers
You can download the azure online backup agent and follow Microsoft's instructions for installation. The agent interface will reside in the Windows Server backup interface, from this interface you can backup and recover files as usual but instead of using onsite storage, the agent will store your data to Windows Azure Storage. After you signup for the preview, login into the Windows Azure online backup portal to download and install the backup agent for windows server 2012.

System Center 2012 SP1 Customers
Administrators can incorporate the Windows Azure Online Backup Agent into Data Protection Manger to easily add off-site data protection to their existing disk/tape based backups for Data Protection Manager (DPM). While the local disk and tape based backups will continue to offer the fastest recovery times, the Azure Online Backup will provide the added peace of mind of having an offsite copy in the cloud. Also, System Center's DPM enables Virtual Machine Backups to be stored both locally and in the cloud.

To enable Azure Online backup for System Center 2012 SP1, download the Windows Azure Online Backup Agent for System Center 2012 from the Backup Portal.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials
For small businesses, Microsoft has also released an integration module for Windows Server 2012 Essentials. The extension is for the Essentials dashboard and allows small businesses to leverage the cloud for their backups. Businesses using Windows Server 2012 Essentials can start using Azure's cloud backup by downloading the Online Backup integration module in the backup portal.

Here are some of the key features Microsoft has announced for Azure Online Backup:

  • Simple Configuration and Management
  • Block Level incremental Backups
  • Data Compression, encryption and throttling
  • Data integrity verified in the cloud
  • Configurable retention policies

To see more details on the features read the official Windows Azure Blog article.

Steps to start using Windows Azure Online Backup

  1. Check to see if you're using one of the three products eligible for the preview
  2. Signup for the Preview here (http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/home/features/online-backup/)
  3. Download the correct agent or extension for you environment in the backup portal here. (https://portal.onlinebackup.microsoft.com/)

You can read more about other leading Cloud Backup Solutions, Software Backup Solutions, or Appliance backup solutions here.

More Stories By Quinn Devery

Quinn Devery has spent his entire career working for Small, Mid Market and Fortune 2000 Information Technology services companies in client facing roles. He earned his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and received his Master of Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business. Active in the Dallas Fort Worth community, Quinn is a Director on the Dallas Texas Exes Board, President of the DFW IT Professionals, and an regular speaker at local user groups. In his free time, Quinn enjoys P90X, running in his Vibrams, and spending time with family & friends. Quinn Regularly blogs on his company site http://www.paranet.com/blog/

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