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Score one for the IT Pro: Azure File Sync is now generally available!

Posted on July 19, 2018

General Manager, Azure Storage & Azure Stack

Azure File Sync replicates files from your on-premises Windows Server to an Azure file share. With Azure File Sync, you don’t have to choose between the benefits of cloud and the benefits of your on-premises file server - you can have both! Azure File Sync enables you to centralize your file services in Azure while maintaining local access to your data.

Visit our planning guide to learn more about Azure File Sync.

We created Microsoft Azure Files with the goal of making it easy for you to reap the benefits of cloud storage. We know from decades of experience building Windows file server that file shares are useful for more than just application development; file shares are used for everything under the sun. With Azure Files, we are focused on building general purpose file shares that can replace all the file servers and NAS devices your organization has, and today, we are happy to share an important milestone on that journey: the general availability of Azure File Sync! 
 
Azure File Sync grew out of our conversations with thousands of customers about the challenge of balancing the need for local and fast access to their frequently accessed data with the maintenance and time cost of managing on-premises storage. Azure File Sync replicates files from your on-premises Windows Server to an Azure file share, just like how you might have used DFS-R to replicate data between Windows Servers. Once you have a copy of your data in Azure, you can enable cloud tiering—the real magic of Azure File Sync—to store only the hottest and most recently accessed data on-premises. And since the cloud has a full copy of your data, you can connect as many servers to your Azure file share as you want, allowing you to establish quick caches of your data wherever your users happen to be. As mentioned above, in simple terms, Azure File Sync enables you to centralize your file services in Azure while maintaining local access to your data.

Having a copy of the data in the cloud enables you to do more. For example, you can nearly instantly recover from the loss of server with our fast disaster recovery feature. No matter what happens to your local server – a bad update, damaged physical disks, or something worse, you can rest easy knowing the cloud has a fully resilient copy of your data. Simply connect your new Windows Server to your existing sync group, and your namespace will be pulled down right away for use. 

When we announced Azure File Sync last year at Ignite, we thought it would help a lot of organizations on their cloud journeys but nothing could have prepared us for the groundswell of interest in Azure Files and Azure File Sync. For the general availability of Azure File Sync, we focused on addressing your feedback from using Azure File Sync in preview. Here are a few of our top innovations and enhancements in Azure File Sync since our initial preview:

  • Sync and cloud tiering performance, scale, and reliability improvements. For general availability, we have increased the performance of Azure File Sync upload by 2X and fast disaster recovery by 4X to 18X (depending on hardware). We have also rearchitected the cloud tiering backend to support faster and more reliable tiering, enabling us to support tiering as soon as we detect that the used volume space exceeds your volume free space percentage threshold.
  • Enhanced Azure File Sync portal experience. One of the top concerns we heard from customers during preview is that it was hard to understand the state of the system. We believe that you shouldn’t have to understand how our system is built or have a Ph.D. in computer science to understand the state of an Azure File Sync server endpoint. To this end, we are excited to introduce a revamped portal experience that more clearly displays the progress of sync uploads and surfaces only actionable error messages to you – keeping you focused on your day to day job! 
  • Holistic disaster recovery through integration with geo-redundant storage (GRS). Fast disaster recovery enables you to quick recover in the event of a disaster on-premises, but what about a disaster affecting one of the datacenters serving an Azure region? For GA, we now integrate end-to-end with the geo-redundant storage (GRS) resiliency setting. This enables you to fearlessly adopt Azure File Sync to protect against disasters for your organization’s most valuable data!

We’re just getting started!

For us, the general availability of Azure File Sync is just the start of the innovations we plan to bring to Azure Files and Azure File Sync. We have a whole series of new features and incremental improvements to deliver throughout the summer and fall, including support for and tighter integration with Windows Server 2019! Stay tuned – we think you’ll like what we have for you! See you at Ignite!

Visit our product page to learn more about Azure File Sync.