Backup System state using Azure Backup

A new version of Azure backup has just been released and it now includes the ability to backup system state.
Previous this would have required deploying the more advanced Azure Backup Server, but can now be accomplished using the simpler Azure backup agent.

Also new, you can now set policies and backup retention from the Azure portal and not just the endpoint server/computer.

Backing up of System state is good for Active Directory servers, IIS and file servers (shares) as it allows for easier recovery of these systems in case of a failure.
Now I’m just waiting to see when full image backup and recovery will become part of the system 🙂

For anyone looking to upgrade an existing agent, you can either download it from the Azure portal or directly from here

 

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Azure B series VM’s, cheap burstable CPU

The new B series VM is now in preview. These are extremely cheap VM’s that offer burstable CPU performance.

What exactly does that mean? Well, basically you can not run these VM’s at 100% CPU 24/7. The VM CPU will run at a predefined baseline, As you run the VM you acquire credits for every hour of run time. Once enough credits have been acquired the VM can burst up to 100%.

This is very similar to AWS T2 instances and is perfect for small web servers, Dev/Test servers and so on that don’t require high CPU usage. The VM will run most of the time at low CPU usage and if required can burst for a short period of time up to 100% as long as you have the required credit to do so.

The B series VM’s are of course priced accordingly with a 2 Core, 4GB VM priced at$20.09 and a larger 4 Core, 16GB VM priced at just $80.36. These are preview prices and based on past experience we can expect these prices to double when general availability is reached. Even then these are still very low prices.

The following table details the VM specs and time to acquire credits for a full burst.

Size vCPU’s Memory: GiB Local SSD: GiB Base CPU Perf of VM Max CPU Perf of VM Credits Banked / Hour Max Banked Credits
Standard_B1s 1 1 4 10% 100% 6 144
Standard_B1ms 1 2 4 20% 100% 12 288
Standard_B2s 2 4 8 40% 200% 24 576
Standard_B2ms 2 8 16 60% 200% 36 864
Standard_B4ms 4 16 32 90% 400% 54 1296
Standard_B8ms 8 32 64 135% 800% 81 1944

So as you can see for example, the B2s will only supply 40% baseline performance (20% of each core). To burst it requires 864 credits, and for each hour of runtime 36 credits are assigned. meaning that it can burst exactly once every 24 hours of run time. This is the same for all the b series, they can burst to 100% of all cores for one hour after every 20 hours of running.

You can also see the official post here

Microsoft & Netapp to collobrate to deliver NFS on Azure

Netapp announced that it will be the data services technology powering the first Network File System (NFS) service in the cloud, the Microsoft Azure Enterprise NFS Service.

With Microsoft itself offering Azure files, a CIFS/SMB based file sharing service, NFS has until now not been a native option with Azure.
This announcement now means that NFS will be offered as a service via Azure. Allowing even simpler lift and shift scenarios for customers who are already using NFS based file shares.

The service itself is offered in collaboration with Netapp and will be available early 2018.
You can sign up now for the preview here

Virtual Network Service Endpoints

Another new announced feature at Ignite was Virtual Network Service Endpoints.

Now I actually saw this turn up in the portal about a w eek ago and wasn’t quite sure what the feature was until now.

Basically this a very simple and very useful feature. up until now services such as Azure storage and Azure SQL have been public facing services. You would connect to these services over a public IP address and secure access either using a firewall or security token. Now I’ve had quite a few customers who were not happy using a public facing service. The new service endpoints allows you to connect your VNet address space to Azure services, and you can restrict access to the services to be from your VNet only.

Allowing you to secure access to Azure resources from your VNet only. The service currently supports Azure Storage & Azure SQL with more services coming in the future.

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Azure File Sync

Another newly announced preview service at ignite was Azure File Sync.

Now in my opinion this has been a long time coming, though it was arguably available as part of the StorSimple solution, however this new feature sounds much easier to implement and maintain.

Basically, you install an agent/package on your on-prem fil server and it syncs up with Azure File Storage .

The two great things about this service are:

  • Storage tiering, allowing you to offload files to the cloud and free up your on-prem server space.
  • The solution supports multi master sync. Allowing you to keep file servers in different geographic regions synced with each other. Finally we have a solution for syncing cross premises file servers using Azure as our central store point!

You can read the official announcement here

Back in Business

Just a quick note to all my followers,

As you’ve probably seen my blog has been “sleepy” for the past 12-15 months.
This has been because of multiple reasons mainly our first child arriving, and me changing jobs 18 months ago.
Well the little one is now not so little and I’m changing jobs again.
I figured it’s time to kick this blog back to life. And what better time that during Microsoft ignite when all the new announcements for Azure are flowing in!

So hopefully back top blogging.

Azure Data Box

Azure Data Box is Microsoft’s answer to AWS snowball.

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Basically this is a secure, hardened “box”/Storage for transferring large amounts of data to Azure.

The basics are simple. The box plugs directly into your network and supports standard SMB/CIFS protocols.

You copy your data to the box, which supports up to 100TB, and ship it back to Microsoft where it will be offloaded to your Azure storage.

There is also integrated support for 3rd party products such as Commvault, Veeam. Veritas & more.

You can read the official statement here