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I need to devise a backup solution for some Azure virtual machines, in a hybrid cloud scenario (persistent VPN, Active Directory DCs present in both the company LAN and the Azure virtual network, all machines domain joined); workloads include file servers, SQL Server databases and SharePoint sites.

The current backup solution for internal servers uses Data Protection Manager 2012, with both disk and tape protection, and a tape rotation schedule using weekly, monthly and yearly tapes.

The company management is adamant that the backups should not reside on the cloud only: physical tapes must exist and must be stored safely offsite; also, the tape rotation schedule should be kept as is.

However, these requirements pose some real problems when moving the servers to the cloud; specifically, it seems like they can only be met by having a local DPM server, which would perform backups of Azure virtual machines; but this would create truly obscene amounts of Internet traffic, and would also require the same amount of local disk storage we are currently using for backups (which we would instead like to free up).

Is there any solution to perform cloud-based backups of Azure virtual machines (using either a virtual DPM server or the native Azure backup agent, but it seems the latter is a lot less powerful than the full DPM product), while still being able to somewhat save those backups to physical tapes?

  • We don't use DPM, but can it do agent-side deduplication before backing up over the wire? We use Simpana and it works great for getting synthetic full backups nightly for our hosted VMs over the internet with encryption and the dedupe happens on the fly. Nightly backups for all the servers take around 2 hours tops. Not trying to sell you on Simpana...just wondering what DPM might offer you in this regards. – TheCleaner Sep 5 '14 at 13:07
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    DPM uses deduplication too, but some data are heavily modified, and also the initial backup of new data needs to transfer the full data size; and we create and destroy development servers quite often. – Massimo Sep 5 '14 at 13:14
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I don't have personal experience on this, but the Microsoft StoreSimple Appliance would be a good solution in your case, it should be able to do the following and more:

  • Backup your data to the local appliance (I think it's about 10 TB of storage).
  • Offload any unused data to the cloud.
  • Have schedules for the upload times to the cloud.
  • Keep the most used data backed up on the appliance for faster restore.
  • Single interface for management, which will be surprisingly the Azure Portal site.

You can read more about it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/storsimple/explore.aspx

I have DPM 2012 R2 on my network with NAS and TAL, but I haven't had the chance to connect it to the Azure network due to the fact that it will kill my WAN connection, very slow connection where I live. I'll be very interested in knowing how this turned out with you.

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