Microsoft Beefs Up Azure Virtual Machine Cloud Backups

The company lifts some limits on its backup service, enabling organizations to protect bigger workloads for longer.

Azure virtual machine cloud backups

Microsoft has upgraded its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) virtual machine backup service, providing enterprises with more headroom as they implement their cloud-based data protection programs, the company announced.

"The new set of features includes support for virtual machine backup with more data disks, long-term retention and more," said Trinadh Kotturu, a program manager in Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group. "These features strengthen Azure Backup's ability to back up Azure IaaS virtual machines in a simple and reliable way."

The service now supports virtual machines (VMs) that span "16 data disks in addition to the OS disk," he noted. Customers also can expect more predictable backup times as a result of the new enhancements and optimizations.

In terms of keeping those backups around for the long haul, customers can retain data decades into the future. "Virtual machine backups can be retained for up to 99 years," said Kotturu. In addition, the service now supports the GFS (grandfather-father-son) backup schema, providing "powerful customization of retention choices for backup copies," he claimed.

Other new features include an offline VM backup option, the ability to cancel in-progress backup jobs and built-in backup policies to speed up the process of setting up backups at scale. Also new is the ability to restore VMs to the customer's choice of storage account.

New reporting options include a downloadable snapshot of daily, weekly and monthly backup and restore operations on Azure. The service also provides more visibility by including "the backup data size transferred value to track the storage consumption for a specific backup job," Kotturu revealed. Finally, the Export Job option "provides detailed information on jobs triggered in specified timeframes and can be customized to get job details per specified filters," he added.

Microsoft has been steadily bulking up its cloud backup capabilities as businesses continue to flock to the company's portfolio of enterprise cloud services.

During a July 21 earnings conference call, CEO Satya Nadella noted that his company's "annualized commercial cloud run rate surpassed $8 billion this quarter, and the revenue grew 88 percent year-over-year." And the company is on track to hit $20 billion in its 2018 fiscal year, he added.

That added demand requires cloud backup services that can handle enterprise-grade workloads.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a massive increase in the amount of data customers can protect on Azure Backup. "We are happy to announce Azure Backup has increased the size of datasources that can be protected from 1,700GB to 54,400GB," said Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Program Manager Giridhar Mosay, in an Aug. 12 announcement.

In July, as part of the Operations Management Suite (OMS) release, a hybrid cloud management add-on for the System Center data center management platform, the company offered extended support for Data Protection Manager, Microsoft's enterprise backup and recovery software. "A new downloadable backup agent based on DPM technology for Azure Backup offers customers of all sizes advanced functionality to enable fast and efficient hybrid backup services as part of their Azure Backup investment," Guru Pangal, general manager of Hybrid Storage at Microsoft, said in a statement.

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...