You may recall a couple of months back, we announced the availability of the first in a series of Microsoft Virtual Academy courses designed to bring you up to speed with Hybrid IT Management. If you’ve forgotten what we mean when we say ‘Hybrid IT Management’, it’s the management, automation and protection of heterogeneous infrastructure, workloads, apps and services, on both Windows and Linux, across any cloud, regardless of whether it’s running in your datacenter, with a service provider, in the public cloud, on platforms such as Azure, or a combination of all of those. Now if that’s not a short definition, I don’t know what is.
The first course in the series, entitled “Insights, Visibility and Security Analytics, was delivered by Laura Cruz and myself, and took a detailed look at some of the key areas of the Microsoft Operations Management Suite, specifically those focused on log analytics and robust threat analysis.
You’ll be pleased to know, we’ve just published the second part of this Hybrid IT Management series, this time, focused on the awesome backup and site recovery capabilities within the Operations Management Suite. We’ll call it ‘Cloud-Enabled Protection’, to keep those marketing folks happy 😉
What is ‘Cloud-Enabled Protection’?
Well, at a high level, it’s a way for you to protect, and actually extend your on-premises datacenter investments. The two key solutions covered as part of the course are Azure Backup, and Azure Site Recovery. These technologies, as you may be aware, are technologies that exist in Azure today, hence the ‘Cloud-Enabled’ naming. They offer protection for your on-premises (and public cloud, in some cases) workloads, hence the ‘Protection’ naming. Put it all together and you’ve got ‘Cloud-Enabled Protection’. Kinda makes sense when you put it like that, right?
For us IT geeks though, let’s be more specific. Firstly, Azure Backup is an awesome way to protect your data that resides on-prem. Data in files and folders? that’s fine. If you want to protect Exchange, SQL and SharePoint, that’s fine too. VMs? Yeah, we’ve got you covered there too. Azure Backup protects all of those different types of data to local disk first, then off to the cloud for long-term retention and archiving, without so much as a sniff of a tape drive nearby. Joy.
What’s nice about Azure Backup, like so many cloud services, is that there is zero capital investment and minimal operating costs. You can get started very quickly, at incredibly low cost, and realize significant benefits through doing so. In addition, if you’ve got System Center Data Protection Manager on-prem, this plugs straight in and extends the functionality of DPM to the cloud. If you haven’t got DPM, don’t worry, we’ve made available a free Microsoft Azure Backup Server, that enables cloud backups and disk backups for key Microsoft workloads like SQL, SharePoint and Exchange regardless of whether these workloads are running on Hyper-V, VMware or Physical servers. Flexible, right? Yep, and the course covers it all.
So that’s backup, but in the event of a complete datacenter outage, whilst it’s reassuring to know you have a backup of all your data stored safely away in the cloud, it may take a while to get everything back up and running from cloud backups. Surely there’s a faster way? Yep, with Azure Site Recovery. Azure Site Recovery replicates your on-prem resources, whether they are on Hyper-V, VMware, or physical servers, to another location, which could be another on-prem datacenter, or Azure. In addition, it abstracts all of the complexity of DR, and masks it behind powerful, rich, programmable interfaces to streamline the automation and management of the failover and failback experience between the two locations. It even allows you to test failover before committing. Upon failover, your workloads will be back online in minutes, all controlled in an automated fashion, with minimal downtime. Cool.
Just tell me about the Hybrid IT Management course!
OK – that brings me nicely on to the course!
For the course, I was joined by a number of Azure Backup and Site Recovery rock stars. We start off the course with Shreesh Dubey, Principal Group PM Manager, and Vijay Tandra Sistla, Principal PM Manager, who between them, take us through a detailed look at Azure Backup configuration, usage, integration with System Center Data Protection Manager, pricing information and much more. We conclude the course, in the second half, with Abhishek Agrawal, Principal PM Manager, who takes us through all of the core scenarios for Azure Site Recovery, including protection between on-prem and Azure, and between two on-prem datacenters, for Hyper-V, VMware and physical resources.
In the coming months, I’ll be returning to the studio, side-by-side with more of our engineering talent, to walk you through a new course on automation and who knows, maybe a course or two on stuff we haven’t even announced yet…stay tuned for those.
For now, all that’s left for me to do is encourage you to check out the course. It’s worth the 4 hours or so of your time, and by the end, you’ll have much more of an appreciation of just what cloud-enabled protection means for you!