Have you heard about cloud file-shares?
Cloud file-shares are shared-file storage hosted in the cloud, built to provide file server capabilities to users accessing on-premises.
What is Azure Files?
Azure Files is shared file storage hosted in Azure Cloud, and users from on-premises can mount file shares from Azure Cloud and access files concurrently using Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.
Importantly, it is server-less file storage. This means unlike on-premise file servers, no separate server, Cloud VM, or any such entity needs to be hosted/maintained in the cloud “to host” these Cloud-shares. They are offered as a service by Microsoft Azure.
Why Azure Files?
The primary concern of file servers hosted on-premises is the cost of maintenance. For example, time spent updating the file server’s operating system patches, adding security updates, anticipating future data growth, and the direct cost of provisioning storage, so the server never reaches capacity.
Additionally, if your current systems are aging and need to be refreshed, it can be a heavy upfront cost to replace an entire file server.
Thanks to the “as a service” model, Microsoft’s Azure Files solves all the problems stated above and offers a highly scalable, secure & easy to deploy file storage.
Is Backup Exec stepping up to protect Azure File shares?
Yup, you got that right!
Backup Exec has always had a journey with a Cloud-focused strategy. Starting from sending on-premises workload data into the cloud using Cloud Connectors, adding support for hybrid cloud storage solutions, all the way to offering a disaster recovery based solution for on-premises infrastructure. Backup Exec always had the vision to provide data protection offerings in the interest of our customers.
In continuation of that vision, we are happy to announce that we are introducing support Azure files with the release of Backup Exec 21.1.
What is the scale of protection that Backup Exec is offering?
Backup Exec can protect entire Azure Storage accounts comprising multiple Azure file shares or many Storage-accounts using Backup Exec. It offers a point in time-based granular recovery.
We have made sure that Backup Exec administrators will have a seamless experience while configuring backup jobs for protecting Azure Files, similar to configuring backup jobs for any other workload that Backup Exec supports. That easiness & simplicity has been retained.
Will this require an additional license?
No. Not at all!
Customers with existing licensing will get support for Azure Files at no extra charge!
Where will my backups reside?
Wherever you want!
Backup Exec supports many devices for storing Azure Files backups, full details on which devices Backup Exec can use as a target area in our Hardware Compatibility List. Hence, it’s up to the Backup Exec admin to decide where to store their data protection strategy.
What about backup security?
Backup Exec encrypts the data using 256-bit AES encryption, one of the strongest block ciphers available. It is also a FIPS 140-2 compliant before it sends it to the storage device of your choice. On the Azure side, Azure Storage accounts are by default enabled for encryption. Hence data in transit, as well as data at rest, will remain encrypted.
That way, you can meet your organizational security and compliance commitments.
How about the backup performance?
As this is an internet bandwidth-driven operation, the faster the speed on the wire, the faster the backups, the lesser the backup windows.
In summary, if your organization is thinking of reducing maintenance costs of their age-old, on-premises file servers, avoiding capital-heavy new files server purchases, or just trying to avoid the endless cycle of capacity planning, they should seriously consider hosting their file servers into the cloud. If you make the move, Backup Exec will be there to protect & recover Azure files!
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