Category Archives : Storage, Backup & Recovery

26

Mar

Blob storage interface on Data Box is now generally available

The blob storage interface on the Data Box has been in preview since September 2018 and we are happy to announce that it’s now generally available. This is in addition to the server message block (SMB) and network file system (NFS) interface already generally available on the Data Box.

The blob storage interface allows you to copy data into the Data Box via REST. In essence, this interface makes the Data Box appear like an Azure storage account. Applications that write to Azure blob storage can be configured to work with the Azure Data Box in exactly the same way. 

This enables very interesting scenarios, especially for big data workloads. Migrating large HDFS stores to Azure as part of a Apache Hadoop® migration is a popular ask. Using the blob storage interface of the Data Box, you can now easily use common copy tools like DistCp to directly point to the Data Box, and access it as though it was another HDFS file system! Since most Hadoop installations come pre-loaded with the Azure Storage driver, most likely you will not have to make changes to your existing infrastructure to use this capability. Another key benefit of migrating via the blob storage

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25

Mar

Azure Premium Block Blob Storage is now generally available

As enterprises accelerate cloud adoption and increasingly deploy performance sensitive cloud-native applications, we are excited to announce general availability of Azure Premium Blob Storage. Premium Blob Storage is a new performance tier in Azure Blob Storage for block blobs and append blobs, complimenting the existing Hot, Cool, and Archive access tiers. Premium Blob Storage is ideal for workloads that require very fast response times and/or high transactions rates, such as IoT, Telemetry, AI, and scenarios with humans in the loop such as interactive video editing, web content, online transactions, and more.

Premium Blob Storage provides lower and more consistent storage latency, providing low and consistent storage response times for both read and write operations across a range of object sizes, and is especially good at handling smaller blob sizes. Your application should be deployed to compute instances in the same Azure region as the storage account to realize low latency end-to-end. For more details on performance see, “Premium Block Blob Storage – a new level of performance.”

Figure 1 – Latency comparison of Premium and Standard Blob Storage

Premium Blob Storage is available with Locally-Redundant Storage (LRS) and comes with High-Throughput Block Blobs (HTBB), which provides very high and

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25

Mar

Azure Storage support for Azure Active Directory based access control generally available

We are pleased to share the general availability of Azure Active Directory (AD) based access control for Azure Storage Blobs and Queues. Enterprises can now grant specific data access permissions to users and service identities from their Azure AD tenant using Azure’s Role-based access control (RBAC).  Administrators can then track individual user and service access to data using Storage Analytics logs. Storage accounts can be configured to be more secure by removing the need for most users to have access to powerful storage account access keys.

By leveraging Azure AD to authenticate users and services, enterprises gain access to the full array of capabilities that Azure AD provides, including features like two-factor authentication, conditional access, identity protection, and more. Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM) can also be used to assign roles “just-in-time” and reduce the security risk of standing administrative access.

In addition, developers can use Managed identities for Azure resources to deploy secure Azure Storage applications without having to manage application secrets.

When Azure AD authentication is combined with the new Azure Data Lake Storage Gen 2 capabilities, users can also take advantage of granular file and folder access control using POSIX-style access permissions and access control lists

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18

Mar

Azure Backup for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines now generally available!

How do you back up your SQL Servers today? You could be using backup software that require you to manage backup servers, agents, and storage, or you could be writing elaborate custom scripts which need you to manage the backups on each server individually. With the modernization of IT infrastructure and the world rapidly moving to the cloud, do you want to continue using the legacy backup methods that are tedious, infrastructure-heavy, and difficult to scale? Azure Backup for SQL Server Virtual Machines (VMs) is the modern way of doing backup in cloud, and we are excited to announce that it is now generally available! It is an enterprise scale, zero-infrastructure solution that eliminates the need to deploy and manage backup infrastructure while providing a simple and consistent experience to centrally manage and monitor the backups on standalone SQL instances and Always On Availability Groups.

 

Built into Azure, the solution combines the core cloud promises of simplicity, scalability, security and cost effectiveness with inherent SQL backup capabilities that are leveraged by using native APIs, to yield high fidelity backups and restores. The key value propositions of this solution are:

15-minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Working with uber critical

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13

Mar

Simplify disaster recovery with Managed Disks for VMware and physical servers

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) now supports disaster recovery of VMware virtual machines and physical servers by directly replicating to Managed Disks. Beginning in March 2019 and moving forward, all new protections have this capability available on the Azure portal. In order to enable replication for a machine, you no longer need to create storage accounts. You can now write replication data directly to a type of Managed Disk. The choice of Managed Disk type should be based on the data change rate on your source disks. Available options are Standard HDD, Standard SSD and Premium SSD.

Please note, this change will not impact the machines which are already in a protected state. They will continue to replicate to storage accounts. However, you can still choose to use Managed Disks at the time of failover by updating the settings in compute and network blade.

There are benefits in writing to Managed Disks:

Hassle free management of capacity on Microsoft Azure: You don’t need to track and manage multiple target storage accounts anymore. ASR will create the replica disks at the time of enabling replication. An Azure Managed Disk is created for every virtual machine (VM) disk at on-premises. This is

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12

Mar

Stay informed about service issues with Azure Service Health

When your Azure resources go down, one of your first questions is probably, “Is it me or is it Azure?” Azure Service Health helps you stay informed and take action when Azure service issues like incidents and planned maintenance affect you by providing a personalized health dashboard, customizable alerts, and expert guidance.

In this blog, we’ll cover how you can use Azure Service Health’s personalized dashboard to stay informed about issues that could affect you now or in the future.

Monitor Azure service issues and take action to mitigate downtime

You may already be familiar with the Azure status page, a global view of the health of all Azure services across all Azure regions. It’s a good reference for major incidents with widespread impact, but we recommend using Azure Service Health to stay informed about Azure incidents and maintenance. Azure Service Health only shows issues that affect you, provides information about all incidents and maintenance, and has richer capabilities like alerting, shareable updates and RCAs, and other guidance and support.

Azure Service Health tracks three types of health events that may impact you:

Service issues: Problems in Azure services that affect you right now. Planned maintenance: Upcoming maintenance that

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12

Mar

AzCopy support in Azure Storage Explorer now available in public preview

We are excited to share the public preview of AzCopy in Azure Storage Explorer. AzCopy is a popular command line utility that provides performant data transfer into and out of a storage account. The new version of AzCopy further enhances the performance and reliability through a scalable design, where concurrency is scaled up according to the number of machine’s logical cores. The tool’s resiliency is also improved by repeated retries.

Azure Storage Explorer provides the UI interface for various storage tasks, and now it supports using AzCopy as a transfer engine to provide the highest throughput for transferring your files for Azure Storage. This capability is available today as a preview in Azure Storage Explorer.

Enable AzCopy for blob upload and download

We have heard from many of you that the performance of your data transfer matters. Let’s be honest, we all have better things to do than wait around for files to be transferred to Azure. Now with AzCopy in Azure Storage Explorer, we give you all that time back!

With AzCopy preview, the blob operations will be faster than before. To enable this option, go to the Preview menu and select Use AzCopy for improved blob Upload and

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11

Mar

Azure Stack IaaS – part four

Protect your stuff

In this post, we’ll cover the concepts and best practices to protect your IaaS virtual machines (VMs) on Azure Stack. This post is part of the Azure Stack Considerations for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery white paper.

Protecting your IaaS virtual machine based applications

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure that lets you deliver IaaS Azure services from your organization’s datacenter. Consuming IaaS services from Azure Stack requires a modern approach to business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR). If you’re just starting your journey with Azure and Azure Stack, make sure to work through a comprehensive BC/DR strategy so your organization understands the immediate and long-term impact of modernizing applications in the context of cloud. If you already have Azure Stack, keep in mind that each application must have a well-articulated BC/DR plan calling out the resiliency, reliability, and availability requirements that meet the business needs of your organization.

What Azure Stack is and what it isn’t

Since launching Azure Stack at Ignite 2017, we’ve received feedback from many customers on the challenges they face within their organization evangelizing Azure Stack to their end customers. The main concerns are the stark differences from traditional virtualization. In

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11

Mar

Azure Data Box family now enables import to Managed Disks

The Azure Data Box offline family lets you transfer hundreds of terabytes of data to Microsoft Azure in a quick, inexpensive, and reliable manner. We are excited to share that support for managed disks is now available across the Azure Data Box family of devices, which includes Data Box, Data Box Disk, and Data Box Heavy.

With managed disks support on Data Box, you can now move your on-premises virtual hard disks (VHDs) as managed disks in Azure with one simple step. This allows you to save a significant amount of time in lift and shift migration scenarios.

How managed disks work with Data Box solution?

The Data Box family supports the following managed disk types: Premium SSD, Standard SSD, and Standard HDD. When you place your order for any of the Data Box data transfer solutions in the Azure portal, you can now select your storage destination as managed disks and specify the resource groups for ingestion. You will be asked to select a staging storage account, which is used to stage VHDs as page blobs and to then convert page blobs to managed disks. 

When your Data Box device arrives, it will have the shares or folders corresponding

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05

Mar

Azure Premium Blob Storage public preview
Azure Premium Blob Storage public preview

Today we are excited to announce the public preview of Azure Premium Blob Storage. Premium Blob Storage is a new performance tier in Azure Blob Storage, complimenting the existing Hot, Cool, and Archive tiers. Premium Blob Storage is ideal for workloads with high transactions rates or requires very fast access times, such as IoT, Telemetry, AI and scenarios with humans in the loop such as interactive video editing, web content, online transactions, and more.

Our testing shows that both average and 99th percentile server latency is significantly lower than our Hot access tier, providing faster and more consistent response times for both read and write across a range of object sizes. Your application should be deployed to compute instances in the same Azure region as the storage account to realize low latency End-to-End. For more details see, “Premium Blob Storage – a new level of performance.”

Figure 1 – Latency comparison of Premium and Standard Blob Storage

Premium Blob Storage is available with Locally-Redundant Storage (LRS) and comes with High-Throughput Block Blobs (HTBB), which provides very high and instantaneous write throughput when ingesting block blobs larger than 256KB.

You can store block blobs and append blobs in Premium Blob

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