Say hello to Azure’s arsenal of backup and disaster recovery solutions

Say hello to Azure’s arsenal of backup and disaster recovery solutions

Originally published in November 2015. Updated: May 18, 2016. New on-demand Webinar

We used to just worry about the unlikely natural disaster and the odd communications breakdown when planning for backup and recovery. But these days, an entirely new breed of threats have emerged that promise to knock out your business applications and data the first chance they get. From cyber crime, to cyberterrorism and mobile and cloud computing complexities, handling these new threats with the same old tools simply isn’t possible.

But there is hope. New platforms and best practices are emerging that allow businesses to better prepare for backup and recovery.

This was the topic that drove a recent Softchoice webinar, centered on how your business can more effectively, simply and securely provide a robust DR and BC strategy leveraging a suite of Azure based technologies from Microsoft.

Watch the latest on-demand webinar:

The complexities are worse than ever

The issue of backing up your data and recovering it in case of an emergency has only grown in complexity in recent years. Today, businesses are faced with fragmented, hybrid environments with multiple apps and OSs, exponential data growth, longer more cumbersome retention processes and, worst of all, an enormous cost increase just to store it. It’s also not uncommon for enterprises to have less budget than needed to run an adequate DR strategy.

Backup storage complexities - Azure Webinar

The costs of an outage are outrageous

It’s not only too expensive to maintain the right DR strategy, the costs of getting it wrong are more significant than ever before. According to one IDC study, the average hit to a business is $110,000 per hour of disruption.

The solution: Availability on Demand

Thankfully though, IT leaders have a number of best practices at their disposal to eliminate their risk, increase their cost efficiencies and be prepared for the worst. A majority, if not all, of these new approaches are made possible thanks to cloud technologies such as what is found in the Azure stack, making up what is dubbed “Availability on Demand.”

Azure Availability on Demand

Availability on Demand centers on three fundamentals: speed, scale and economics. For speed, businesses will enjoy procurement and provisioning that takes minutes instead of days and weeks. On the scale side, organizations can leverage an infinite capacity to store protected data and apps. And with economics, you end up paying only for what you use (“on demand”), shifting your costs to OpEx from an old CapEx model, freeing up more capital as a result.

Exploring Azure’s offerings

From this point on in the webinar, we dedicated the discussion to highlighting three central technologies to help businesses achieve this on-demand vision. They are:

  • Azure Site Recovery: giving you “DR as a Service” for Hyper-V, VMware and physical servers
  • Azure BackUp: simple and reliable cloud-integrated backup-as-a-service
  • StorSimple: a hybrid cloud storage device used for primary storage, archiving and disaster recovery

Azure backup solutions

Azure Site Recovery:

SiteRecovery (ASR) lets you protect and maintain all your applications and data, without having to maintain a secondary data center. On the call we discussed two popular scenarios where ASR would come in handy, Datacenter to Datacenter recovery, and Datacenter to Azure. Pulling from Microsoft’s powerful Azure cloud solution, there are a number of benefits of leveraging ASR:

  • Support for Hyper-V, VMware, Physical Servers
  • Lift and shift migrations to Azure
  • No-Impact recovery testing
  • Orchestrated application recovery

Probably one of the most essential points to draw here is ASR’s ability to let you run planned fail-over testing, a capability missing from almost all traditional approaches to recovery (and something we’d suggest is better to know in advance if it’s working, before it’s too late.) Also key is to note the support for both Hyper-V and VMware environments, or a mix of both.

Azure BackUp:

The elephant in the room during the webinar when it comes to storage is data growth. What is certain is that almost all organizations are facing staggering rates of growth in data that needs to be stored. The problems only intensify when you consider the extra hardware needed to manage this growth, the never-ending problem of data recovery and an incessant dependency on tape as your go-to-storage medium. A key message here was that tape is no longer your only option to managing this growing scourge. And in fact, it shouldn’t be.

Azure BackUp changes the story for enterprises dealing with this issue. With it, you can access “backup as a SaaS application” granting you several benefits, such as lower OpEx, zero egress costs for retrieval, unlimited scale and a single-point of management for all your storage and cloud needs (simplifying management).

Azure BackUp


Finally, we investigate StorSimple, a hybrid storage array that runs in your data center and combats a series of headaches associated with traditional storage data center architecture. The solution connects your Windows, Linux and VMware to Azure Storage, delivers inline de-dupe and compression, highly efficient disaster recovery and an integrated offsite data protection service, using cloud snapshots.

In recent months, Microsoft has rolled out a number of updates to StorSimple making it more effective for your admins. For example, StorSimple now allows for Locally Pinned Volumes, which makes it easier to use high-performance workloads, such as SQL. Microsoft also announced general availability of the StorSimple Virtual Array, allowing you to deploy the solution without installing any physical hardware in your datacenter. Finally, you can integrate with Azure Site Recovery to protect entire workloads protected on your StorSimple hybrid array. This means in the event of a disruption, a single click can bring your application back up online in a few minutes.

Azure StoreSimple

But the bottom line here is that StorSimple can save you thousands of dollars, and lots of time. In fact, we’ve seen customer storage costs get sliced by as much as 40%-60% thanks to reduced complexities, less demand on admins and internal resources and a reduction in capacity issues and hard costs on tape storage.

Watch the webinar or get started

Your backup and DR needs will be specific to your own goals and unique challenges. We recommend you take a look at the on-demand webinar to get an even deeper insight into the technologies discussed above.

After that, get in touch with a Softchoice representative to take advantage of a number of offerings and special promotions, including our Azure TechCheck, deployment funds and our Keystone managed service for Azure.

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About Mack Ratcliffe

Mack is Softchoice's SaaS Practice Lead. He is responsible for setting technical strategy and direction for Softchoice’s SaaS business and developing managed services for Microsoft Office 365 and Azure platforms. For fun, Mack enjoys traveling, live music, golfing, snowboarding, and surfing in Southern California.