Database backup is a necessary but complicated business. Having a backup serves two purposes: To recover a good version in case of a mishap, and to allow rollback to earlier information that was inadvertently changed or deleted. With an on-premises system, it's necessary to manage backups, set up offsite storage for maximum safety, and verify the process. Tape backup requires storing and handling reels of tape, and restoration can be slow.
Virtual machine software provides a simpler and more reliable way to manage databases with confidence that they're fully backed up and can be easily recovered. Microsoft Azure Backup and Site Recovery provides industry-leading automated protection and replication of virtual machines for backups and disaster recovery. In this article, we will provide insight into Azure's virtual machines ease of use and the advantages of using it for your business.
The Ease of Using Azure Virtual Machines for Backup and Recovery
Running SQL Server on an Azure Virtual Machine takes care of routine backup automatically. Setting it up is simple; once you have an account, you can create a virtual machine with SQL Server already installed. Azure maintains multiple copies of everything it stores, so it can quickly recover if there's a media failure. Administrators will want to perform archival database backups, though, in case it's necessary to examine or recover information from an older version.
The recommended way to perform an archival backup is to use Azure blob storage. You can store these backup "blobs" directly on Azure. A database can be as big as 12.8 terabytes and be backed up this way. Storing the backups on Azure means that they are themselves backed up, providing maximum data safety.
Snapshot backup simplifies the archiving job by allowing almost instantaneous creation of a backup. With SQL Server Managed Backup, the administrator can set up an automated custom backup schedule, so that periodic snapshots of the database are available. It's also possible to take a manual snapshot at any time.
Restoring a database from a backup is quick and simple, minimizing downtime. Each backup can have a distinctive file name (e.g., one with the date and time) so that it's easy to find and restore the right backup.
The Many Advantages of the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform
Hosting a database on an Azure Virtual Machine offers many advantages:
- Azure guarantees at least 99.9% availability for most of its services, excluding free ones. A high level of uptime means very few disruptions in business.
- Azure data centers provide a high level of security. No one gets near the machines without proper authorization. All visits are logged. The latest security measures, including 24-hour network monitoring, prevent intrusion over the Internet.
- Cloud services provide almost unlimited scalability. You can start with a small database and let it grow along with your business. There's no need to trade in a small server for a bigger one.
- Information sent to and from Azure servers is always encrypted, so that no one can intercept information in transit. Backups are stored in encrypted form. In addition, Azure Disk Encryption is an option for Windows and Linux virtual machines. Even in the extremely unlikely event someone can steal the data files from the server, they won't be able to read them.
- Data is geo-replicated. The backup maintains six copies at two data centers. Azure is prepared for worst-case situations, such as a disaster that disables a data center or cuts it off from the Internet. If that happens, the data will still be available from another location.
- Azure's Unified Solution provides cloud backup for on-premises storage as well as virtual machines. Snapshot backup to Azure is available for SQL Server installations on a business's own systems. This allows a hybrid cloud approach, with some data kept on premises and other information maintained on Azure, to work smoothly together and protect all data.
Virtual machine software with Azure hosting provides reliable, secure, highly available database hosting. It simplifies backup, allowing multiple snapshots, and makes sure that the backup is itself safe and always available for quick recovery. It's no surprise that many businesses are taking advantage of this approach.
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