Hybrid Cloud Blog

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In recent blog posts, we’ve covered the automation, disaster recovery and log analytics capabilities in Operations Management Suite (OMS) and explored how you can use OMS to manage and protect your hybrid environments. Starting today, we’ll look at another set of key capabilities around cloud-first enterprise backup with Azure Backup and System Center: Data Protection Manager.

Backup is one of the more established scenarios within modern IT organizations. There are tried and tested methods and procedures for backup that enterprises swear by, both from a cost perspective and from a reliability perspective. Today, however, we find that data protection remains one of the top challenges for most organizations as backup costs and the complexity of managing backup continue to escalate. With more and more organizations turning to the cloud to address the rising demands facing modern IT, it is increasingly clear that the new paradigms for data protection will be required for the new hybrid reality.

Organizations face a perfect storm of challenges in data protection. On the one hand, we have the proliferation of SaaS technologies and adoption of cloud resources, where traditional data protection paradigms no longer apply. On the other hand, we see that the massive shifts of datacenter modernization, including virtualization, the move to containers, and other services-focused scenarios are creating new issues. Cloud adoption and datacenter modernization together are forcing organizations to reconsider older protection approaches. Legacy methods such as tape backup do not afford the agility modern application administrators demand. Faced with a rapid pace of change, organizations are adopting multiple data protection technologies, adding to the cost and complexity of the overall solution.

One of the most challenging problem in data protection today is the explosion in backup data. There are multiple copies of backup for each piece of production data. While production data grows exponentially, backup data necessarily grows even faster! One of the factors driving this is sometimes onerous requirement for long term retention either due to compliance or regulatory requirements. The budget pressure this creates is often very painful. Historically, the standard resolution to this problem has been the move to ever cheaper and denser media such as tapes. Tapes have had their own set of challenges from the time to recovery to reliability in case of a dire need.

Adding to the general complexity are the specific issues around enterprise remote and branch offices. Direct-to-cloud protection paradigms make the most sense here, given that internet bandwidth is often more available at these locations than intranet connectivity. But cloud backup adoption is hindered by the lack of solutions that cater to the heterogeneous nature of workloads and organizations’ inability to extend multiple solutions from corporate data centers to the smaller footprint remote locations. The need for enterprise ready cloud-first backup solutions is patently obvious in such scenarios. The two possible alternative approaches of using cloud as a storage target or as just another data center usually causes more problems than it solves.

Microsoft System Center was built to help enterprises ease their management challenges. We’ve continued to innovate in this area and continue to build the right set of tools in the data protection domain. With OMS we’re adding the keystone “cloud-first” piece to address the hybrid data protection challenges as a whole. We’ve designed the solution so that you get to keep tried-and-trusted tools on-premises and at the same time begin to leverage rich and powerful tools built from the cloud-up.

Ultimately, System Center and OMS work in tandem to ease the cost and complexity issues in the domain of backup.

The backup capabilities in System Center and OMS allow you to protect your data and applications no matter where they reside: in the enterprise datacenter, in remote and branch offices or in the public cloud, while being sensitive to the unique requirements these scenarios pose. You can protect workloads and applications with operational recovery on disk to recover quickly in the event of an outage and can conveniently tier backups to the cloud to meet long term retention and compliance requirements in your enterprise data centers. In this way you can lower costs and complexity while increasing reliability by gradually phasing out legacy technologies such as tapes.

In remote and branch offices, you can take advantage of direct-to-cloud backups of files and folders and leverage technologies such as Azure Backup Server to protect application workloads, again – with short-term operational recovery to disk and long term protection in the cloud. Finally, you can protect applications running on Azure IaaS at the fabric level using familiar controls and retention schemes used across your enterprise.

As Azure Backup is delivered as a first party SaaS offering, customers need not maintain any infrastructure on-premises, resulting in minimal maintenance for the backup solution. Storage and Backup are delivered directly as a service offering on Azure backed by an enterprise grade SLA. It is also designed to be cost effective for both long term retention and operational recovery. To enable cost-effective long term retention, storage is pay-as-you-go with the Azure blob storage while OMS covers licensing. OMS backup consistently offers 99+ year retention on the cloud based on a rich GFS scheme making it easy to enforce enterprise-wide retention policies.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be going into more depth on what makes these backup technologies a great option for you to consider for your enterprise as you increasingly look towards the public cloud. Check back soon.

To hear from our experts, register for the upcoming webinar, How a cloud-first approach can transform enterprise backup, on Tuesday, May 24 at 10:00 am PDT.