In our earlier blog post, we delved into how the cloud-first backup architecture, powered by Operations Management Suite and System Center, makes for a compelling solution for offsite backups and long term retention of on-premises data. In this post, we will focus on data protection in the remote and branch offices (ROBO) of an enterprise. We will explore how a cloud-first backup approach can overcome challenges associated with backup at these remote sites.
Most organizations centrally manage remote data and backups. Such a setup requires sending backup data over an intranet, which is typically made up of expensive dedicated leased lines, to the primary datacenter. Such backup data, which is often voluminous, overloads a network infrastructure primarily provisioned for business applications. Furthermore, in this model remote backups from multiple locations must be transported to the central location and then vaulted for long-term retention.
While decentralized backup solves some of these problems, it is expensive both in terms of provisioning remote infrastructure and maintaining it. Decentralizing backups requires you to procure and provision storage hardware and licenses for backup software, as well as hiring or training skilled IT personnel at remote and branch office locations.
Cloud-first backup of remote and branch office data
The backup solution powered by Operations Management Suite operates on the common sense premise that internet bandwidth is more plentiful in remote and branch offices than intranet bandwidth. Leveraging the cloud for remote and branch office backups means eliminating backup-related infrastructure at those sites and freeing up IT for value-added activities.
Operations Management Suite caters to the specific requirements of remote and branch offices with the following solutions:
Azure Backup Agent
Some of the data in remote and branch offices has flexible restore requirements. In such cases there is no need to maintain a copy for operational recovery on-premises. Such data is usually made up of files and folders. This type of data can be protected using the Azure Backup Agent offering in a direct-to-cloud model. A direct-to-cloud approach to file-folder backup eliminates the need for any backup infrastructure.
Azure Backup Server
Remote and branch offices often also have line of business applications that need protection. These workloads frequently have operational recovery requirements. An example of such a requirement would be “line of business application can be restored to a point in the last 30 days with less than two hours’ downtime.” In such scenarios, it might make sense to keep the restore points or backup data related to the operational recovery on-premises and offload the rest to the cloud.
The Azure Backup Server offering is capable of backing up enterprise-grade business applications to disk. It also has first-class integration with Azure Backup to tier backups to the cloud, thus enabling a local-copy to disk to cloud strategy. This not only enables rapid restores from the disk, but also enables a massive reduction in the infrastructure requirements in remote and branch offices.
Both Azure Backup Server and Azure Backup Agent are Operations Management Suite offerings that make for a best-in-class remote or branch office backup solution due to the following unique advantages:
Cost effective solution for a large number of remote and branch offices
A cloud-first backup solution greatly reduces the cost of backing up applications at remote and branch offices. In one Microsoft case study, PCL constructions, a construction company which runs hundreds of active job sites at any point in time, reduced their backup costs by a whopping 73% by adopting a local copy to disk to cloud backup strategy.
Reduced Time to Value
Provisioning a cloud-first backup solution with Operations Management Suite for remote and branch office protection only involves a few clicks to download and install the Azure Backup Server or the Azure Backup Agent. The on-premises investment is limited to the storage required for operational recovery using Azure Backup Server.
Nearly eliminate backup infrastructure
With the backup solution powered by Operations Management Suite, storage – which is the significant driver of cost in any backup solution – is delivered as-a-service directly from Azure and is paid-as-you-go. The only infrastructure that needs to be provisioned is storage for operational recovery. This not only reduces costs, but also frees up IT for more strategic activities.
Leverage direct-to-cloud model
Internet bandwidth is often significantly cheaper than intranet to corporate datacenters in most remote and branch offices. Adopting direct to cloud model for backups not only reduces costs but also frees up valuable intranet bandwidth for business applications.