Category Archives : Storage, Backup & Recovery

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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12

Dec

Static websites on Azure Storage now generally available

Today we are excited to announce the general availability of static websites on Azure Storage, which is now available in all public cloud regions.

What is a static website?

Static websites refer to websites that can be loaded and served statically from a pre-defined set of files. You can now build a static website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that are hosted on Azure Storage. In contrast, if you want to host a dynamic website with the ASP.NET, Java, or Node runtime, use Azure Web Apps and rely on the runtime to generate and serve your web content dynamically.

Static websites can be powerful with the use of client-side JavaScript. You can build a web app using popular frameworks like React.js and Angular and host it on Azure Blob storage. If there is a need to manipulate or process data on the server side, simply call the relevant managed Azure service like Azure Cognitive Services or leverage a web server of your own hosted on Azure Functions.

Get started now

Azure Storage makes hosting of websites easy and cost-efficient. When you enable the static website hosting on your Azure Storage account, a container named ‘$web’ is automatically created for

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05

Dec

Apply the latest Azure Site Recovery capabilities with automatic agent update

One of the biggest hassles faced by administrators while using services provided by cloud providers is the need to catch up with the latest release and stay up-to-date. This involves downloading the latest software and performing frequent upgrades. In an enterprise scenario, this means going through various level of approvals and wait time before you can make any changes. It becomes even more cumbersome if downtime is involved.

Enable Site Recovery to manage automatic updates for Mobility Service

Azure Site Recovery has a monthly release cadence where it makes enhancements to existing features or add new capabilities. Architecture reference shows when you enable disaster recovery of Azure virtual machines, a component known as mobility service agent gets installed on the VM. In order to avoid the overhead associated with upgrading the agents, users can choose to enable Site Recovery to manage updates for you. Once you enable automatic update, the Mobility Service extension gets updated automatically with every new release.

What’s the advantage? You no longer need to plan for deploying the new versions with every release, and automatic update doesn’t require a reboot of your Azure Virtual Machines, nor does it affect on-going replication.

How to enable automatic updates?

When

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05

Dec

An easy way to bring back your Azure VM with In-Place restore

We are excited to announce In-Place restore of disks in IaaS VMs along with simplified restore improvements in Azure Backup. This feature helps roll back or fix corrupted virtual machines through in-place restore without the needs of spinning up a new VM. With the introduction of this feature, customers have multiple choices for IaaS VM restore like create new VM, Restore Disks and Replace disks.

Customers can exercise this new capability by choosing the Replace existing tab in the Restore Configuration blade. The prerequisite for replacing disks operation is an existence of source IaaS VM. This operation is comprised of the following steps:

Azure Backup first takes the snapshot of the IaaS VM before replacing the disks as the replace operation modifies the production VM. The snapshots taken are stored in the Staging location provided by the user. On successful completion of step 1, the existing disks connected to the VM are replaced using the selected restore point. In parallel to the step 2, the snapshot created in step 1 is copied to the vault and retained as per the customer specified retention policy.

Replace existing option is currently supported for unencrypted managed

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12

Nov

Microsoft Azure is now certified to host sensitive health data in France

Recently at the Microsoft Experiences18 conference in Paris, we shared that Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics have been granted a Health Data Hosting (HDS) certification. This makes Microsoft the first major cloud provider capable of meeting the strict standards of storing and processing health data for data centers located in France, and under the new certification process that began in June 2018.

This validates the very high level of safety and protection that Microsoft can offer to French healthcare entities, who will be able to rely on the Microsoft cloud to deploy the applications and health services of tomorrow. These applications and health services will also be in compliance with the current regulations on data protection and privacy.

With the HDS certification, health providers in France will not only be able to take advantage of the efficiencies of the cloud, but will also be empowered to innovate with new technologies such as artificial intelligence and mixed reality. Both have the potential to transform the delivery of health services.

Trust is essential when health information is held and shared in the public cloud. The privacy of health-related information is critical. Microsoft takes a holistic defense-in-depth approach to security

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30

Oct

Simplified restore experience for Azure Virtual Machines

Azure Backup now offers an improved restore experience for Azure Virtual Machines by leveraging the power of ARM templates and Azure Managed Disks. The new restore experience directly creates managed disk(s) and virtual machine (VM) templates. This eliminates the manual process of executing scripts or PowerShell commands to convert and configure the .VHD file, and complete the restore operation. There is zero manual intervention after the restore is triggered making it truly a single-click operation for restoring IaaS VMs.

A managed disk ARM template is automatically created in the customer’s storage account during the restore disk operation, which can be deployed to create a VM either as part of the restore operation or a later time. Parameters in the template can also be edited to customize the restored VM as required providing flexibility in the VM creation process. 

In addition to the above-mentioned improvements, naming conventions of the restored disks are now more intuitive to identify the virtual machine associated with the disks during restore operations. The naming conventions are carefully chosen according to the restore path selected by the user namely “Create new” and “Restore disks”.

Create new

While restoring the VM through the “Create new” flow, the

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25

Oct

Query Azure Storage analytics logs in Azure Log Analytics

Log Analytics is a service that collects telemetry and other data from a variety of sources and provide a query language for advanced analytics. After you post logging data to Log Analytics workspace with HTTP Data Collector API, you are able to query logs for troubleshooting, visualize the data for monitoring, or even create alerts based on log search. For more details, see Log Analytics.

Tighter integration with Log Analytics makes troubleshooting storage operations much easier. In this blog, we share how to convert Azure Storage analytics logs and post to Azure Log Analytics workspace. Then, you can use analysis features in Log Analytics for Azure Storage (Blob, Table, and Queue). The major steps include:

Create workspace in Log Analytics Convert Storage Analytics logs to JSON Post logs to Log Analytics workspace Query logs in Log Analytics workspace Visualize log query in Log Analytics workspace Create workspace in Log Analytics

First, you will need to create a workspace in Log Analytics. The following screenshot shows how to create it in Azure Portal.

Convert Storage Analytics logs to JSON

Azure Storage provides analytics logs for Blob, Table, and Queue. The analytics logs are stored as blobs in “$logs” container within

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01

Oct

Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage now in public preview

We are excited to announce that this week we have made Advanced Threat Protection available for public preview on Azure Storage Blob service. Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage detects anomalous activities indicating unusual and potentially harmful attempts to access or exploit storage accounts.

The introduction of this feature helps customers detect and respond to potential threats on their storage account as they occur. For a full investigation experience, it is recommended to configure diagnostic logs for read, write, and delete requests for the blob services.

The benefits of Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage include:

Detection of anomalous access and data exfiltration activities. Email alerts with actionable investigation and remediation steps. Centralized views of alerts for the entire Azure tenant using Azure Security Center. Easy enablement from Azure portal. How to set up Advanced Threat Protection Launch the Azure portal. Navigate to the configuration page of the Azure Storage account you want to protect. In the Settings page, select Advanced Threat Protection. In the Advanced Threat Protection configuration blade: Turn on Advanced Threat Protection. Click Save to save the new or updated Advanced Threat Protection policy.

Get started today

We encourage you to try out Advanced Threat

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24

Sep

Azure Service Fabric updates at Ignite 2018
Azure Service Fabric updates at Ignite 2018

Service Fabric is a microservices platform to build, deploy, discover, and scale services with message routing, low-latency storage, and health monitoring. It powers both first- and third-party applications including core Azure infrastructure and cloud services along with several mission-critical applications for enterprises.

This week at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, we are announcing an update of the Azure Service Fabric Mesh preview, the serverless microservices platform that was released in July this year. We are also announcing Service Fabric runtime version 6.4 with corresponding SDK and tooling updates which will start rolling out in the coming weeks and come with a bevy of enhancements.

Support for Windows Server version 1803 and multi-tenancy features

We are announcing support for Azure clusters running Windows Server version 1803, as well as those running containers based on the same image for Azure clusters and Service Fabric Mesh. Windows Server version 1803 includes several improvements and fixes.

Customers have often asked us to provide network isolation in addition to compute isolation to help enable multi-tenant scenarios. With this update, Service Fabric enables isolated networks per application as a preview. With an isolated network per application, service endpoints can only be reached from other

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