Microsoft Enables Azure Backups for Premium Storage

Businesses using Azure's SSD-based cloud storage can now use Azure Backup to keep their enterprise cloud application data safe.

cloud security

The blockbuster LinkedIn deal may have overshadowed all of Microsoft's other moves this week, but the company still had another busy week in cloud updates.

Microsoft announced on June 16 that Azure Backup's data protection capabilities have been extended to Premium Storage virtual machines. Azure Premium Storage employs solid-state drives (SSDs) instead of traditional hard drives to give cloud applications a flash-enabled performance boost.

Last month, Microsoft brought data replication to Premium Storage, courtesy of an upgrade to the company's cloud-based business continuity offering, Azure Site Recovery. Now, Azure Backup is getting in on the act, allowing enterprises to protect data stored their Oracle, Cassandra and SAP databases.

Premium Storage customers can use the cloud backup solution to safeguard application data from both their classic and Azure Resource Manager virtual machines (VMs). They can then opt to restore those VMs to either premium or standard storage accounts, depending on their performance and cost requirements.

"One of the reasons customers deploy premium storage for virtual machines is to satisfy the IOPS requirements of enterprise critical workloads," explained Giridhar Mosay, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise program manager, in a June 16 announcement.

"Backup data is initially copied to the customer storage account as a staging area before it is copied to the backup vault. This is to minimize the impact of IOPS on the production workload while efficiently transferring incremental changes to the backup vault," Mosay said. The staging area is cleared after the backup data is fully copied to the vault, he added.

On a related note, Microsoft recently updated its resiliency technical guidance for Microsoft Azure. The online documentation covers designing a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, including restoring on-premises applications to Azure and recovering from data corruption, dropped databases and errors that may have gone undetected for a while.

This week also brought SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition to the Azure Gallery, a free version of the recently released database software that users can test on the cloud.

"The SQL Server 2016 Developer image supports the full set of SQL Server 2016 Enterprise features (In-Memory OLTP and DW, Advanced Analytics, Availability Groups, Row-Level Security, etc.)," blogged Luis Vargas, a Microsoft SQL Server principal program manager. "The image doesn't have any limits (memory, storage, etc.), but it can't be used in production environments."

While the image is free, users are still on the hook for the Azure VM required to run it, he cautioned. Users can pause VMs and pay only for the time it is up and running, however.

Finally, Microsoft officially released its HDInsight Tool for developers creating big data applications using the IntelliJ IDE (integrated development environment).

"The HDInsight Tool for IntelliJ supports Spark application life cycle management from creation to submission. It allows users to view job history, information and statistics for Spark applications running in the cluster with tight integration with IntelliJ and seamless integration with Azure," stated Jenny Jiang, a principal program manager in Microsoft's Big Data group, in a June 13 blog post.

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...