Alerting and Monitoring Comes to Microsoft Azure Cloud Backups

This week's updates include new ways for customers to keep tabs on their cloud backups, index their content and improve the performance of their streaming media.

Azure Backup

Microsoft has finally enabled a highly requested feature for customers of the company's cloud-based data protection offering, Azure Backup.

"In a continuation of the simplified experience using the new Recovery Services vault, customers can now monitor cloud backups for their on-premises servers and Azure IaaS virtual machines in a single dashboard," said Giridhar Mosay, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise program manager, in an Aug. 18 announcement. "In addition, they can also configure email notifications for all backup alerts."

Microsoft released the Recovery Services Vault, an Azure Resource Manager resource, earlier this year, allowing users to automate the process of backing up both their cloud and on-premises data. Azure Resource Manager is an infrastructure management solution that enables administrators to monitor, manage and deploy a cloud application's resources as a group rather than individually.

To enable the new functionality, Mosay recommended that current Azure Backup customers using Recovery Services Vault update to the latest version of the backup agent software. Step-by-step instructions on adding the new monitoring and alerting features to their Azure subscriptions is available in this blog post.

Also this week, the company added new search indexing support to the Azure Portal, announced Evan Boyle, a Microsoft Azure Search software engineer. Currently in preview, the feature allows users to create search indexes based on content housed in an Azure Search blob and table storage.

"Make your Microsoft Office, HTML, PDF, and other documents searchable with just a few clicks in the Import Data wizard," he blogged. "After selecting your data, we'll detect your metadata fields and suggest an index. The blob indexer has the ability to crack open your documents and extract all text into the content field as well," he continued.

On the media streaming front, Microsoft announced the availability of HTTP/2 support for customers of its Azure CDN (content delivery network) from Akamai service. The specification improves webpage loading times and allows multiple requests to be sent along the same TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) connection, according to Manling Zhang, a program manager at Microsoft Azure Media Services.

Other benefits include reduced header sizes, resulting in faster transfer times, and stream prioritization capabilities that push important data first. Although currently not supported, HTTP/2 also enables "server push" scenarios where server responses are proactively sent to a client's cache.

HTTP/2 support is turned on by default for all new and existing standard Akamai profiles, said Zhang. Its performance-enhancing capabilities are also headed to Azure CDN from Verizon sometime "in the next few months," added Zhang.

Finally, Microsoft's pile of cloud certifications—the largest of its kind, claims the software giant—has grown even larger.

The Spain Esquema Nacional de Seguridad certifies that the company's security controls for protecting customer data work as intended. In the UK, Azure became the first public cloud to get the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) stamp of approval. In Japan, Azure was awarded the Cloud Security Mark Gold Level accreditation, reported Microsoft.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...