Category Archives : Storage, Backup & Recovery

14

Feb

Protect Azure Virtual Machines using storage spaces direct with Azure Site Recovery

Storage spaces direct (S2D) lets you host a guest cluster on Microsoft Azure which is especially useful in scenarios where virtual machines (VMs) are hosting a critical application like SQL, Scale out file server, or SAP ASCS. You can learn more about clustering by reading the article, “Deploying laaS VM Guest Clusters in Microsoft Azure.” I am also happy to share that with the latest Azure Site Recovery (ASR) update, you can now protect these business critical applications. The ASR support of storage spaces direct allows you to take your higher availability application and make it more resilient by providing a protection against region level failure.

We continue to deliver on our promise of simplicity and help you can protect your storage spaces direct cluster in three simple steps:

Inside the recovery services vault, select +replicate.

1. Select replication policy with application consistency off. Please note, that only crash consistency support is available.

2. Select all the nodes in the cluster and make them part of a Multi-VM consistency group. To learn more about Multi-VM consistency please visit our documentation, “Common questions: Azure-to-Azure replication.”

3. Lastly, select OK to enable the replication.

Next steps

Begin protecting virtual machines using

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11

Feb

Controlling costs in Azure Data Explorer using down-sampling and aggregation

Azure Data Explorer (ADX) is an outstanding service for continuous ingestion and storage of high velocity telemetry data from cloud services and IoT devices. Leveraging its first-rate performance for querying billions of records, the telemetry data can be further analyzed for various insights such as monitoring service health, production processes, and usage trends. Depending on data velocity and retention policy, data size can rapidly scale to petabytes of data and increase the costs associated with data storage. A common solution for storage of large datasets for a long period of time is to store the data with differing resolution. The most recent data is stored at maximum resolution, meaning all events are stored in raw format. While the historic data is stored at reduced resolution, being filtered and/or aggregated. This solution is often used for time series databases to control hot storage costs.

In this blog, I’ll use the GitHub events public dataset as the playground. For more information read about how to stream GitHub events into your own ADX cluster by reading the blog, “Exploring GitHub events with Azure Data Explorer.” I’ll describe how ADX users can take advantage of stored functions, the “.set-or-append” command, and the Microsoft Flow

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05

Feb

Account failover now in public preview for Azure Storage

Today we are excited to share the preview for account failover for customers with geo-redundant storage (GRS) enabled storage accounts. Customers using GRS or RA-GRS accounts can take advantage of this functionality to control when to failover from the primary region to the secondary region for their storage accounts.

Customers have told us that they wish to control storage account failover so they can determine when storage account write access is required and the secondary replication state is understood. 

If the primary region for your geo-redundant storage account becomes unavailable for an extended period of time, you can force an account failover. When you perform a failover, all data in the storage account is failed over to the secondary region, and the secondary region becomes the new primary region. The DNS records for all storage service endpoints – blob, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, file, queue, and table – are updated to point to the new primary region. Once the failover is complete, clients can automatically begin writing data to the storage account using the service endpoints in the new primary region, without any code changes.

The diagram below shows how account failover works. Under normal circumstances, a client writes

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23

Jan

Azure Service Bus and Azure Event Hubs expand availability

The Azure Messaging team is continually working to enhance the resiliency and availability of our service offerings – Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hubs, and Azure Event Grid. As part of this effort, in June 2018, we previewed Azure Service Bus Premium tier for Availability Zones and Azure Event Hubs Standard tier in 3 regions – Central US, East US 2, and France Central.

Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ve added Availability Zones support for Azure Service Bus Premium and Azure Event Hubs Standard in the following regions:

East US 2 West US 2 West Europe North Europe France Central Southeast Asia

Availability Zones is a high availability offering by Azure that protects applications and data from datacenter failures. Availability Zones are unique physical locations within an Azure region. Each zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking. To ensure resiliency, there’s a minimum of three separate zones in all enabled regions. The physical separation of Availability Zones within a region protects applications and data from datacenter failures. Zone-redundant services replicate your applications and data across Availability Zones to protect from single-points-of-failure.

With this, Azure Service Bus Premium and Azure Event

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22

Jan

Azure Backup now supports PowerShell and ACLs for Azure Files

We are excited to reveal a set of new features for backing up Microsoft Azure file shares natively using Azure Backup. All backup-related features have also been released to support file shares connected to Azure File Sync.

Azure files with NTFS ACLs

Azure Backup now supports preserving and restoring new technology file system (NTFS) access control lists (ACL) for Azure files in preview. Starting in 2019, Azure Backup automatically started capturing your file ACLs when backing up file shares. When you need to go back in time, the file ACLs are also restored along with the files and folders.

Use Azure Backup with PowerShell

You can now script your backups for Azure File Shares using PowerShell. Make use of the PowerShell commands to configure backups, take on-demand backups, or even restore files from your file shares protected by Azure Backup.

We have enabled on-demand backups that can retain your snapshots for 10 years using PowerShell. Schedulers can be used to run on-demand PowerShell scripts with chosen retention and thus take snapshots at regular intervals every week, month, or year. Please refer to the limitations of on-demand backups using Azure backup.

If you are looking for sample scripts, please write to AskAzureBackupTeam@microsoft.com. We

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15

Jan

Azure Site Recovery team is hosting an Ask Me Anything session

You can start asking your questions with #ASR_AMA soon!

The Azure Site Recovery (ASR) team will host a special Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Twitter, Tuesday, January 22, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time. You can tweet to @AzSiteRecovery or @AzureSupport with #ASR_AMA.

What’s an AMA session?

We’ll have folks from across the ASR product team available to answer any questions you have. You can ask us anything about our products, services, or even our team!

Why are you doing an AMA?

We like reaching out and learning from our customers and the community. We want to know how you use ASR and how your experience has been. Your questions provide insights into how we can make the service better.

How do I ask questions on Twitter?

You can ask us your questions by mentioning #ASR_AMA in your tweet. Your question can span multiple tweets by replying to first tweet you post with this hashtag. You can also directly message @AzSiteRecovery or @AzureSupport if you want to keep your questions private. For our customers in different time zones who may not be able to attend the event at the specified time, you can start posting

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14

Jan

Azure Backup for virtual machines behind an Azure Firewall

This blog post primarily talks about how Azure Firewall and Azure Backup can be leveraged to provide comprehensive protection to your data. The former protects your network, while the latter backs up your data to the cloud. Azure Firewall, now generally available, is a cloud-based network security service that protects your Azure Virtual Network resources. It is a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability. With Azure Firewall you can centrally create, enforce, and log application and network connectivity policies across subscriptions and virtual networks. It uses a static public IP address for your virtual network resources, allowing outside firewalls to identify traffic originating from your virtual network.

Backup of Azure Virtual Machines

In a typical scenario, you may have Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) running business-critical workloads behind an Azure Firewall. While this is an effective means of shielding your VMs against network threats, you would also want to protect your data in the VMs using Azure VM Backup. This further reduces the odds of being exposed to several risks. Azure Backup protects the data in your VMs by safely storing it in your Recovery Services Vault. This involves moving data from your

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18

Dec

Azure Backup can automatically protect SQL databases in Azure VM through auto-protect

We are excited to share the auto-protection capability for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines (VM). This is a key addition to the public preview of Azure Backup for SQL Server on Azure VM, announced earlier this year. Azure Backup for SQL Server is an enterprise credible, zero-infrastructure pay as you go (PAYG) service that leverages native SQL backup and restore APIs to provide a comprehensive solution to backup SQL servers running in Azure VMs.

What happens when you add a new database to your protected SQL Server? You need to rediscover the database and then manually trigger configure protection to backup that database. Now imagine if we take away the work from you and automatically detect and protect each new database you add to the instance. Our new auto-protection feature does just that.

Auto-protection is a capability that lets you automatically protect all the databases in a standalone SQL Server instance or a SQL Server Always On availability group. Not only does it enable backups for the existing databases, but it also protects all the databases that you may add in future.

Getting started

You can enable auto-protection for the desired SQL Server instance or Always On availability

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13

Dec

Azure Backup Server now supports SQL 2017 with new enhancements

V3 is the latest upgrade for Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS). Azure Backup Server can now be installed on Windows Server 2019 with SQL 2017 as its database. MABS V3 brings key enhancements in the areas of storage and security.

Security Preventing critical volumes’ data loss

While selecting volumes for storage that should be used for backups by MABS, user may accidently select the wrong volume. Selecting volumes containing critical data may result in unexpected data loss. With MABS V3 you can prevent this by disabling these volumes to be available for backup storage, thus keeping your critical data secure from unexpected deletion.

TLS 1.2

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the cryptographic protocol which ensures communication security over the network. With TLS 1.2 support, MABS V3 ensures more secured communication for backups. MABS now offers TLS 1.2 communication between Azure Backup Server and the protected servers, for certificate based authentication, and for cloud backups.

Storage Volume migration

MABS V3 provides the flexibility to move your on-premises backups datasources to other storage for efficient resource utilization. For example, during storage upgrade, you can move datasources such as frequently backed up SQL databases to higher performant storage to achieve better results. You

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13

Dec

Automate Always On availability group deployments with SQL Virtual Machine resource provider

We are excited to share that a new, automated way to configure high availability solutions for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) is now available using our SQL VM resource provider.

To get started today, follow the instructions in the table below.

High availability architectures are designed to continue to function even when there are database, hardware, or network failures. Azure Virtual Machine instances using Premium Storage for all operating system disks and data disks offers 99.9 percent availability. This SLA is impacted by three scenarios – unplanned hardware maintenance, unexpected downtime, and planned maintenance.

To provide redundancy for your application, we recommend grouping two or more virtual machines in an Availability Set so that during either a planned or unplanned maintenance event, at least one virtual machine is available. Alternatively, to protect from data center failures, two or more VM instances can be deployed across two or more Availability Zones in the same Azure region, this will guarantee to have Virtual Machine Connectivity to at least one instance at least 99.99 percent of the time. For more information, see the “SLA for Virtual Machines.”

These mechanisms ensure high availability of the virtual machine instance. To get the same

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