Why Azure cloud backup is the best for servers?

Azure backup service for cloud server backup

Server backup to the cloud needs to be fast, flexible, highly secure, and cost-effective. Azure cloud backup service becomes a more competitive choice for IT teams to enable server backups quickly, manage easily, and stands less chance for data loss, or downtime.

PC backup solutions perform a decent job backing up files like word, excel, PDF, images and other file types.  But would it support backup for servers? Maybe yes, but generic backup tools are not a perfect solution.

 A recent IDC’s research report along with Microsoft on the business value of Azure backup and recovery says that business has seen 76% faster backups, 99% reduction in lost productivity, and 46% reduction in unplanned downtime.

What is a server backup?

A server backup is a copy of the server image in its current state containing all the installs of executable application files, and operating system.

On-Premise Server Backup

In an on-premise setup, using additional disks for server backup is a typical practice following with an offsite backup strategy. The downside is the time and effort that goes into the first phase of the disk backup.  

The Azure backup service uses a lite app known as an agent to push the data from the on-premise server storage to the Azure Recovery services vault.

There is no need for additional hardware, and dedicated resource to perform the backups. Once configuring the backup, it requires less effort to oversee backup efficiency.

Types of backup include on-premise SQL data, entire VMs, individual files, and folders. Besides, backup of Azure VMs is possible.

Flexible Retention

The data retention policy depends on regulatory compliance requirements, and an organization can choose to retain data for numerous reasons. The period can vary between three years to more than ten years. 

However, for server backups, the purpose is to make sure the latest version of all applications and patches are available.

The backups could run daily, weekly to biweekly and monthly with 1 to 4 cycles. Azure backup services allow configuring short term and long term which can be up to 99 years.

Storage options

Azure backup service offers two options. LRS and GRS.

Local redundant storage makes three copies within the same region, and it is a low-cost storage option to protect data from local hardware failure.  

During a server crash, backup services help to quickly restore a server backup and bring it to live within a few minutes eliminating the server build process and decreasing downtime.

Global redundant storage (GRS) runs with the same concept of LRS except that the data will be available in a different region. Any critical downtime due to the regional data center outage, or network failure, GRS can be helpful to restore data quickly.

 AEC Cloud application hosting provides both GRS and LRS for our clients.

Highly secure

The main element in the Azure cloud backup process is confidentiality as the internet is the medium for data transfer.

Data goes through an encryption process when you upload or download. It converts as a code during upload and decodes while downloading.

 This encryption involves a key to code or decode. And encryption takes place over the network using protocols including Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Also, access controls help to avoid writing existing backups.

Through the Azure console, a centralized monitoring system is available and can run reports. With multi-factor authentication, we can increase security measures, set up alerts for suspicious activity which can help save from threats of ransomware attacks or malware.

Conclusion

Perform backups for servers with the right solution. Configuring third-party storage may seem to be a cheap alternative, but cannot be the best enterprise-class solutions for servers. 

One of the reasons Azure backup service is the best for a server is, it is a Microsoft product, and, the majority of the servers are windows based and the solution is fast, flexible, highly secure and cost-effective.

Besides, Azure backup service is the first step towards disaster recovery. Learn the advantages of cloud backup and understand what you are missing.

For configuring Azure backup needs hands-on experience. Work with a Microsoft partner to receive assistance.

AEC Cloud is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider and been assisting firms on Azure Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Application hosting on cloud.

If you are struggling with on-premise backup solutions and considering Azure backup service to solve your IT challenges, contact us, we can guide you.

3 best ways to IT transformation on the cloud

3 best ways to IT transformation on the cloud

Transform IT on the cloud for better productivity and efficiency.

Cloud drives modern technology, and many businesses are yet far from achieving the true potential.

In this article, we share our first-hand experience to make your IT transformation on the cloud by opting three best ways.

IT transformation is the process of reassessing your IT assets for improvement and modernizing to address the changing business requirements and goals. Moreover, a step forward to adopt new trending technologies.

The very purpose of IT transformation on the cloud is to enhance performance, additionally optimize costs.

To bring in the cloud to your transformation strategy, analyze the business function that requires transformation on to the cloud, and classify and group the whole IT under Software, Platform, and Infrastructure.

 

Transforming the software – Productivity Suite

 Software is vital for one or more business functions to support daily work. 

Productivity suite, business email, mission-critical applications for project management, sales, and marketing, human resources, estimating, designing, accounting, and the list can go on.

Let’s begin with business email as a reference case.

Microsoft Office 365 suite or Exchange online and Google suite offerings are both excellent for businesses. Pick the right one that suits your business.

From a 2017 survey by Osterman Research Inc, 64% of respondents say that the drive for the use of Office 365 is to streamline IT operations, 53% user productivity and 54% to reduce the cost of delivering services.

Microsoft’s offering has a large install base and comes with familiar desktop options, whereas Google lacks desktop options.

However, if cloud transformation is to start at the software, give a try with your business email first.

 

Transforming the Infrastructure - Backup

 The second option to IT transformation with a cloud-based solution is the backup.  A critical task of an IT is backup, and it falls under the infrastructure classification.

Your backup solution should help you simplify restore procedures during an emergency. It must be flexible, secure, and cost-effective.

Azure backup gives you a great cloud experience.  You can configure backup with your existing systems on-premise and later extend the capabilities to combine a hosted site.

IDC’s recent survey claims that organizations utilizing Azure backup services and Site recovery see an average annual reduction in their total cost of operations (TCO) by 46% per year improving overall IT staff productivity, backup performance, and data recovery operations. 

The respondents also claim that they were able to minimize unplanned downtime and reduce expenditures for backup related hardware and software.

 

Transforming the software – Line of Business Applications

 Line of business applications is an increasing part of IT consumption.  Assess those that are running within your office or out of your data center and determine which ones you'd need to offload to the cloud.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a choice if your vendor offers you for the present software, or, go for a new SaaS type.

An alternative is to migrate the applications to a managed cloud hosting model, or a self-service public cloud.   You'd save costs by not reinvesting on software licenses.

SaaS and hosted software, both are a delivery model that satisfies the NIST cloud definition. Choose the one that fits your business requirement.

If you prefer to host all your applications, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud are the top players of Infrastructure as a service provider (Iaas). Nevertheless, you'd need a technology partner to help set up and transition.

We assist our customers on Microsoft Azure hosting applications providing anywhere access. 

 

Conclusion

 As change is unavoidable, so is cloud transformation.

Begin your cloud transformation with either one, or all of these - business email, line of business applications, and backup. 

Do a phase by phase transformation, gain control on the overall migration, and learn along with the changing trends.  IT transformation on the cloud is a steady process, and it will enhance productivity and efficiency.

Work with a technology partner to guide you through the transformation process and help achieve your IT goals.

Sage Estimating and On-Screen Takeoff: Why host on the cloud?

Sage Estimating and On-Screen Takeoff

Sage Estimating and On-Screen Takeoff are a windows client application that perfectly fit a hosted model. 

Offloading to the cloud eliminates additional server for OST license management, and gives better performance, flexibility, and ease of access.

We understand estimators use a takeoff and an estimating software back to back. 

From our experience hosting Sage estimating and On-Screen Takeoff on Microsoft Azure for our clients, here are few inputs on why to consider hosting both the applications on the cloud.

Anywhere access

Estimators, project team members, and managers can work from anywhere, collaborate, and update records.  Teams working from more than one location sees this as a huge benefit.

Digital Takeoff Experience

Computing power and speed is an essential requirement for On-Screen Takeoff.  Deploying OST on a cloud server with the right computing power provides better image processing, speed, and performance.  Your team can quickly load or scan blueprints and perform take offs with ease.

Server Requirement

To deploy Sage Estimating and On-Screen Takeoff on a traditional setup, you’d need three servers. An SQL server for the sage database, an application server and a license server for OST.

Whereas deploying on a cloud requires only a database and an application server.  Because OST now supports a cloud-compatible license version and makes it easier for cloud transition.

Also, running one application server for both the application is a better choice for provisioning, managing access to applications, folders, files and supports populating records between Sage Estimating and On-Screen Takeoff.

Storage and Backup

Cloud storage on Azure is a high performing storage disk which supports defined workload.  Also, you can extend the storage ability with your on-premise workloads making a hybrid.

Configuring backup becomes easy when working with cloud storage as the components will be in the same network and scalable.

 

Conclusion

Overall, hosting Sage Estimating and On-Screen Take off on the cloud has some cost benefits against a traditional IT management.  Besides cost, users can work from anywhere securely on highly available performing servers improving productivity and accuracy.

Managed Cloud Hosting Provider

AEC Cloud has been hosting applications for its clients and specializes in solving anywhere access by managed cloud hosting services.  If you are in the middle of evaluating migrating to the cloud or need assistance, please gives us a call at (212) 505-0381 or contact us by email.