• 6 min read

What’s new in Azure Backup

This past week at Ignite, we announced many new capabilities in Azure Backup to help customers scale their data protection to the evolving needs of their business. Lets recap on all the new capabilities within Azure Backup.

At Microsoft Ignite, we announced several new Azure Backup features that enhance the protection of your data in Azure. Azure Backup is Azure’s native backup solution that provides data protection capabilities for diverse and mission-critical workloads in a simple, secure, and cost-effective manner. The latest capabilities that we announced this Ignite let you expand your data protection to new workload types, enhance security, and improve the availability of your backup data. Furthermore, you can now increase operational efficiencies with built-in capabilities for managing backups at scale, along with the ability to automatically onboard Azure Backup to Windows Server Virtual Machines.

Protect Azure Database for PostgreSQL and retain the backups for 10 years

Azure Backup and Azure Database Services have come together to build an enterprise-class backup solution for Azure PostgreSQL (now in preview). Now you can meet your data protection and compliance needs with a customer-controlled backup policy that enables retention of backups for up to ten years. With this, you have granular control to manage the backup and restore operations at the individual database level. Likewise, you can restore across PostgreSQL versions or to blob storage with ease. Please visit Backup for Azure Database for PostgreSQL for more details and start using the service today.

Ensure database consistent snapshots for Oracle and MySQL databases running on Azure Linux virtual machines

Application-consistent backups ensure that the backed-up data is transactionally consistent, and that applications will boot up post-virtual machine (VM) restore. To ensure transactional consistency, applications need to be quiesced, and there should be no unfinished transactions when taking a VM snapshot. The Azure Backup service already provides a framework to achieve application consistency during backups of Azure Linux VMs. This framework gives you the flexibility to execute scripts that are orchestrated pre and post backup of the VM.

At Microsoft Ignite, we have an improved application consistency framework that provides packaged pre-post scripts to provide database consistent backups for a few select databases. Sign up for the preview that supports backing up Oracle and MySQL databases running on Azure Linux VMs.

Scale up and scale out your data protection along with your estate

As you scale up your workloads to use larger configurations or scale out across regions, you can also scale your data protection inline to the expansion of your business with new backup capabilities across various workload types.

Enhanced backup capabilities for Azure Virtual Machines

Azure Backup supports backing up all the disks (operating system and data) in a VM together using the VM backup solution. Using the new selective disks backup and restore functionality, you can back up a subset of the data disks in a VM (now generally available). This provides an efficient and cost-effective solution for your backup and restore needs. Each recovery point contains only the disks that are included in the backup operation. This further allows you to have a subset of disks restored from the given recovery point during the restore operation. Until now, Azure Backup has supported 16 managed disks per VM. Now, Azure Backup supports backup of up to 32 managed disks per VM (now generally available).

Simplified backup configuration experience for SQL in Azure Virtual Machines

Configuring backups for your SQL Server in Azure VMs is now even easier with inline backup configuration integrated into the VM blade of the Azure portal (now generally available). With just a few clicks, you can enable backup of your SQL Server to protect all the existing databases as well as the ones that get added in the future.

Backup SAP HANA in RHEL Azure Virtual Machines

Azure Backup is the native backup solution for Azure and is BackInt certified by SAP. Azure Backup has now added support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) (now generally available), one of the most widely used Linux operating systems running SAP HANA.

Seamless backup configuration for Azure Files

Azure Backup has simplified the experience of configuring backup for Azure file shares by giving you the ability to seamlessly enable backup from the file share management experience in the Azure portal. With this new capability (now generally available), you can perform the backup and restore related operations directly from the file share experience, as well as the vault experience.

Improve the durability of your backup data

Azure Storage provides a great balance of high performance, high availability, and high data resiliency with its varied redundancy options. Azure Backup allows you to extend these benefits to backup data as well, with options to store your backups in locally redundant storage (LRS) and geo-redundant storage (GRS). This Microsoft Ignite, we allow you to increase durability options for your backups with the added support of Zonally Redundant Storage for backup data (now in preview).

Ensuring data protection requires not just being able to back up your data, but also being able to control on to what, when, and where you want to restore your data. Azure Backup provides this control by allowing cross-region restore for Azure Virtual Machines. At Microsoft Ignite, we have extended this capability to restore across regions backed up SQL and SAP HANA databases in Azure Virtual Machines (now in preview).

Enhance security for your backups

Concerns about increasing security threats such as malware, ransomware, and intrusion have been top of mind for many of our customers. These security threats can be costly from both a monetary and reputational perspective. To guard against such attacks, Azure Backup provides security features to help protect backup data even after deletion. One such feature is soft delete. With soft delete, even if a malicious actor deletes a backup (or backup data is accidentally deleted), the backup data is retained for 14 additional days, allowing the recovery of that backup item with no data loss. The additional 14 days of retention for backup data in the soft deleted state does not incur any additional cost. Azure Backup now provides soft delete for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine and SAP HANA in Azure Virtual Machine (now generally available) workloads. This is in addition to the already supported soft-delete capability for Azure Virtual machines.

Increase efficiencies in backup operations with new built-in capabilities to manage your backups at scale with Backup Center

Azure Backup has enabled a new native management capability to manage your entire Backup estate from a central console. Backup Center provides customers with the capability to monitor, operate, govern, and optimize data protection at scale in a unified manner consistent with Azure’s native management experiences.

With Backup Center, you get an aggregated view of your inventory across subscriptions, locations, resource groups, vaults, and even tenants using Azure Lighthouse. Backup Center is also an action center from where you can trigger your backup related activities, such as configuring backup, restore, creation of policies or vaults, all from a single place. In addition, with seamless integration to Azure Policy, you can now govern your environment and track compliance from a backup perspective. In-built Azure Policies specific to backup also allow you to configure backups at scale.

Backup Center supports two workload types, which are Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Database for PostgreSQL servers (now in preview), along with Azure Files, SQL in Azure Virtual Machines, and SAP HANA in Azure Virtual Machines (now in limited preview).

Plan and optimize backup costs

Achieving cost efficiency with your cloud usage is more critical today than ever before. The Azure Backup team is committed to helping you optimize your backup costs. New capabilities in Azure Backup Reports (now in preview) help you get more visibility into your backup usage and also help you take action to right-size backup storage and achieve significant cost savings. An advanced pricing calculator (now generally available) also allows you to estimate your costs for budgeting and price comparisons.

Automatically onboard, configure, and monitor Azure Backup on your virtual machines

With Azure Automanage (now in preview), it is possible to automate frequent and time-consuming management tasks such as the onboarding and configuration of Azure Backup. Through Automanage, Backup will be automatically configured when using the Azure Best Practices Production configuration profile. The Backup policy can be customized through Automanage preferences to meet company or compliance requirements. Furthermore, Automanage will continuously monitor the Backup settings and will automatically remediate back to the desired state if drift is detected. By using Azure Automanage, it is possible to realize further operational savings while improving business continuity. 

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