The only thing worse than not a having a backup is realizing that your only available backup is corrupted or otherwise unusable. To prevent just such a scenario with Azure virtual machine backups, Microsoft recently introduced a new feature that aims to inspire confidence among its customers.
"Backup Pre-Checks—as the name suggests—check your VMs' configuration for issues that can adversely affect backups, aggregate this information so you can view it directly from the Recovery Services Vault dashboard and provide recommendations for corrective measures to ensure successful file-consistent or application-consistent backups, wherever applicable," stated Saurabh Sensharma, a Microsoft Azure Backup program manager, in a March 23 announcement. "All this without any infrastructure and at no additional cost."
The tool runs during scheduled backups and will alert users if their VM backups are not up to snuff. The system issues a warning if a current VM configuration, such as an outdated VM Agent, can lead to failures down the line. A critical notification will appear if the tool identifies issues that will cause failures, along with recommendations for avoiding such a fate.
Other recent updates to Microsoft's cloud services ecosystem includes a public preview of a new feature in Azure Active Directory B2C that offers customers more granular access token management capabilities.
Inspired by the software giant's popular enterprise user identity management platform, Azure Active Directory B2C allows developers to add identity services to their consumer-facing, or business-to-consumer (B2C), cloud applications.
"The introduction of this feature makes it possible to create web APIs [application programming interfaces] that can be accessed by different client applications," explained Parakh Jain, a program manager at Microsoft Azure Identity, in a blog post. "You can even grant permissions to your API on an app-to-app basis. By having more control over who can access your API, you will be able to develop apps with tighter security."
Instructions on creating a web API with the new functionality is available in Jain's blog post.
Microsoft also recently announced the general availability of Geographic Routing, a feature in Azure Traffic Manager that enables businesses with global user bases to customize content based on where their users reside. In addition to localizing e-commerce sites and other cloud-delivered services, the feature enables companies to implement data sovereignty policies that may affect how user data is stored and secured.
Geographic Routing is available now worldwide in all public Azure cloud regions. The feature arrives in the Azure Government, Germany and China offshoots sometime in May 2017.
Finally, Microsoft today peeled back the curtain a bit on Azure Security Center's ability to sniff out cloud-based botnets. In keeping with the Redmond, Wash. software maker's increased reliance on artificial intelligence, the service employs a machine-learning model that analyses domain name systems query logs from Azure virtual machines with a 95 percent level of precision and can often detect Botnets before anti-malware applications detect them, according to Microsoft.