Category Archives : Storage, Backup & Recovery

20

Jun

Disaster Recovery solution for Azure IaaS applications

On June 4th 2018, Corey Sanders announced the general availability of Disaster Recovery (DR) for Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) using Azure Site Recovery (ASR) in his blog post about why you should bet on Azure for your infrastructure needs today and in the future. Azure is the first public cloud to offer native Disaster Recovery solution for applications running on IaaS. With this offering, you can make your applications resilient to even region level failures by replicating VMs into another region. Along with Availability Sets and Availability Zones, Azure Site Recovery completes the resiliency continuum for applications running on Azure Virtual Machines.

Key benefits No infrastructure required: You do not need any additional software infrastructure (VMs or appliances) in your Azure subscription to enable this functionality. You avoid all the complexity and cost associated with deploying, monitoring, patching and maintaining any DR infrastructure.

“By using ‘Azure to Azure DR’, Microsoft’s Universal Store Team (UST), who develops and operates Microsoft’s core commerce Store and systems, was able to use its previously DR validated platform on-premises to perform the equivalent on Azure. Without ASR, the Universal Store team would have spent substantial resources deploying a new instance of the legacy

20

Jun

Disaster Recovery solution for Azure IaaS applications

On June 4th 2018, Corey Sanders announced the general availability of Disaster Recovery (DR) for Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) using Azure Site Recovery (ASR) in his blog post about why you should bet on Azure for your infrastructure needs today and in the future. Azure is the first public cloud to offer native Disaster Recovery solution for applications running on IaaS. With this offering, you can make your applications resilient to even region level failures by replicating VMs into another region. Along with Availability Sets and Availability Zones, Azure Site Recovery completes the resiliency continuum for applications running on Azure Virtual Machines.

Key benefits No infrastructure required: You do not need any additional software infrastructure (VMs or appliances) in your Azure subscription to enable this functionality. You avoid all the complexity and cost associated with deploying, monitoring, patching and maintaining any DR infrastructure.

“By using ‘Azure to Azure DR’, Microsoft’s Universal Store Team (UST), who develops and operates Microsoft’s core commerce Store and systems, was able to use its previously DR validated platform on-premises to perform the equivalent on Azure. Without ASR, the Universal Store team would have spent substantial resources deploying a new instance of the legacy

14

Jun

Quick Recovery Time with SQL Data Warehouse using User-Defined Restore Points

We are excited to announce that SQL Data Warehouse (SQL DW) now supports User-Defined Restore Points! SQL DW is a flexible and secure analytics platform for the enterprise optimized for running complex queries fast across petabytes of data.

Previously, SQL DW supported only automated snapshots guaranteeing an eight-hour recovery point objective (RPO). While this snapshot policy provided high levels of protection, customers asked for more control over restore points to enable more efficient data warehouse management capabilities leading to quicker times of recovery in the event of any workload interruptions or user errors. 

Now, with user-defined restore points, in addition to the automated snapshots, you can initiate snapshots before and after significant operations on your data warehouse. With more granular restore points, you ensure that each restore point is logically consistent and limit the impact and reduce recovery time of restoring the data warehouse should this be needed. User-defined restore points can also be labeled so they are easy to identify afterwards. 

You can seamlessly create a restore point with a single statement in PowerShell, so it’s easy to integrate with your data warehouse management operations. You can have up to 42 restore points at any point, and as all

14

Jun

Quick Recovery Time with SQL Data Warehouse using User-Defined Restore Points

We are excited to announce that SQL Data Warehouse (SQL DW) now supports User-Defined Restore Points! SQL DW is a flexible and secure analytics platform for the enterprise optimized for running complex queries fast across petabytes of data.

Previously, SQL DW supported only automated snapshots guaranteeing an eight-hour recovery point objective (RPO). While this snapshot policy provided high levels of protection, customers asked for more control over restore points to enable more efficient data warehouse management capabilities leading to quicker times of recovery in the event of any workload interruptions or user errors. 

Now, with user-defined restore points, in addition to the automated snapshots, you can initiate snapshots before and after significant operations on your data warehouse. With more granular restore points, you ensure that each restore point is logically consistent and limit the impact and reduce recovery time of restoring the data warehouse should this be needed. User-defined restore points can also be labeled so they are easy to identify afterwards. 

You can seamlessly create a restore point with a single statement in PowerShell, so it’s easy to integrate with your data warehouse management operations. You can have up to 42 restore points at any point, and as all

07

Jun

Azure Backup for SQL Server on Azure now in public preview

Earlier this week, Corey Sanders announced preview of a new Azure Backup capability to backup SQL workloads running in Azure Virtual Machines in his post about why you should bet on azure for your infrastructure needs today and in the future. In this blog, we will elaborate on how this enterprise backup provides a new breakthrough in backup that differentiates Azure from any other public cloud. This workload backup capability is built as an infrastructure-less, Pay aA You Go (PAYG) service that leverages native SQL backup and restore APIs to provide a comprehensive solution to backup SQL servers running in Azure IaaS VMs.

Key benefits Zero-infrastructure backup: Freedom from managing backup infrastructure (e.g. backup server, agents or backup storage) or writing complex backup scripts. Centrally manage and monitor all backups using Recovery Services Vault: Create policies to specify the backup schedule and retention for both short-term and long-term retention needs using Grandfather-father-son style retention schemes. Re-use these policies across multiple databases across servers. Configure email notification for any backup or restore failure. Monitor the backup jobs using Recovery Services Vault dashboard for all workloads including Azure IaaS VMs, Azure Files and SQL server databases. Restore to any time,

05

Jun

Use Azure Data Lake Analytics to query AVRO data from IoT Hub

Recently a customer asked me how to read blob data produced from the routing capability of Azure IoT Hub. To provide this customer with a complete answer, I put together a step-by-step guide that I am happy to share with you in the video below.

One of the common patterns of Internet of Things applications is called “cold path” and consists of storing all data produced by IoT devices in the cloud for later processing. To make such an implementation trivial, Azure IoT Hub supports routing of messages coming from devices directly to cloud storage services. IoT Hub can also apply simple rules based on both properties, and the message body can route messages to various custom endpoints of your choice. IoT Hub will write blob content in AVRO format, which has both message body and message properties. Great for data/message preservation, AVRO can be challenging for querying and processing the data. Here is a suggested solution to process this data.

Many of the big data patterns can be used for processing non-relational data files in custom file formats. Focusing on cost and deployment simplicity, Azure Data Lake Analytics (ADLA) is one of the only “pay per query” big data

04

Jun

(Preview) Standard SSD Disks for Azure Virtual machine workloads

We are excited to announce the preview of Azure Standard SSD Managed Disks, a new type of durable storage for Microsoft Azure Virtual machines. Standard SSD Disks are a cost effective storage option optimized for workloads that need consistent performance at lower IOPS levels. The new Azure Standard SSD Disks store data on Solid State Drives (SSDs), like our existing Premium Storage Disks. Whereas our Standard HDD disks store data on Hard Disk Drive (HDD). With the addition of Standard SSD, Azure now offers three types of persistent Disks for use with Azure Virtual machines, optimized for different workload requirements: Premium SSD Disks, Standard SSD Disks, and Standard HDD Disks.

Following is a summary comparing Azure Disk types.

Disk Type

Premium SSD

new Standard SSD

Standard HDD

Summary

Designed for IO intensive enterprise workloads. Delivers consistent performance with low latency and high availability.

Designed to provide consistent performance for low IOPS workloads. Delivers better availability and latency compared to HDD Disks.

Optimized for low-cost mass storage with infrequent access. Can exhibit some variability in performance.

Workload

Demanding enterprise workloads such as

23

May

Azure AD Authentication for Azure Storage now in public preview

We are excited to announce the preview of Azure AD Authentication for Azure Blobs and Queues. This capability is one of the features most requested by enterprise customers looking to simplify how they control access to their data as part of their security or compliance needs. This capability is available in all public regions of Azure.

Azure Storage supports several mechanisms that give you flexibility to control who can access your data, as well as how, when, and from where they can access it. With AAD authentication, customers can now use Azure’s role-based access control framework to grant specific permissions to users, groups and applications down to the scope of an individual blob container or queue. This capability extends the existing Shared Key and SAS Tokens authorization mechanisms which continue to be available.

Developers can also leverage Managed Service Identity (MSI) to give Azure resources (Virtual Machines, Function Apps, Virtual Machine Scale Set etc.) an automatically managed identity in Azure AD. Administrators can assign roles to these identities and run applications securely, without having any credentials in your code.

Administrators can grant permissions and use AAD Authentication with any Azure Resource Manager storage account using the Azure

23

May

An update on the integration of Avere Systems into the Azure family

It has been three months since we closed on the acquisition of Avere Systems. Since that time, we’ve been hard at work integrating the Avere and Microsoft families, growing our presence in Pittsburgh and meeting with customers and partners at The National Association of Broadcasters Show.

It’s been exciting to hear how Avere has helped businesses address a broad range of compute and data challenges, helping produce blockbuster movies and life-saving drug therapies faster than ever before with hybrid and public cloud options. I’ve also appreciated having the opportunity to address our customers questions and concerns and thought it might be helpful to share the most common ones with the broader Azure/Avere community:

When will Avere be available on Microsoft Azure? We are on track to release Microsoft Avere vFXT to the Azure Marketplace later this year.  With this technology Azure customers will be able to run compute-intensive applications completely on Azure or to take advantage of our scale on an as-needed basis. Will Microsoft continue to support the Avere FXT physical appliance? Yes, we will continue to invest in, upgrade and support the Microsoft Avere FXT physical appliance, which customers tell us is particularly important for their on-premise and hybrid environments.

22

May

Blue-Green deployments using Azure Traffic Manager

Azure Traffic Manager, Azure’s DNS based load balancing solution, is used by customers for a wide variety of use cases including routing a global user base to endpoints on Azure that will give them the fastest, low latency experience, providing seamless auto-failover for mission critical workloads and migration from on-premises to the cloud. One key use case where customers leverage Traffic Manager is to make their software deployments smoother with minimal impact to their users by implementing a Blue-Green deployment process using Traffic Manager’s weighted round-robin routing method. This blog will show how we can implement Blue-Green deployment using Traffic Manager, but before we dive deep, let us discuss what we mean by Blue-Green deployment.

Blue-Green deployment is a software rollout method that can reduce the impact of interruptions caused due to issues in the new version being deployed. This is achieved by exposing the new version of the software to a limited set of users and expanding that user base gradually until everyone is using the new version. If at any time the new version is causing issues, for example a broken authentication workflow in the new version of a web application, all the users can be instantly* redirected