On July 10, 2018, between the hours of 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST), the Azure Backup team hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Twitter.
This is a session where individuals from the Azure Backup Engineering team are available on hand to answer any questions we may have.
I started writing this blog post by trying to capture every question and answer… but I could not keep up! So instead, here is a summary of some of the responses from the Azure Backup team, which provides insight into what’s coming in the not-too-distant future! I’ve tried to group/organize the points into categories as best I could, and highlighted keywords to help you skim the content.
PS: If you would like to review the session in full, questions asked, etc. here is the direct Twitter link.
Management and Reporting Updates
- There is work being done on providing centralized reporting for all of Azure Backup (including System Center Data Protection Manager), which will include being able to view Jobs, Alerts, Backup Items, Storage consumed, etc. in a single location. This will include cross-subscriptions data (via the use of multiple Azure Storage accounts). In the next few months, the Azure Backup team will share a PowerBI template file (.PBIT) that will allow us to connect multiple Azure Storage accounts to view all of the Azure Backup data in one central place.
- The ability to include data from the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) is on the roadmap, and this functionality is planned to be available by the end of the year.
- Remote setup, configuration, management, etc. for the MARS Agent will be enabled through the Windows Admin Center tool.
ARM / Policy Updates
- There are plans to integrate Azure Backup with ARM Policy so that a policy can be defined and used to enable Virtual Machine backups from multiple Recovery Services Vaults (RSVs).
- In reference to the retention policy for Azure Files, “We are making sure we have a no-compromise solution in terms of resilience and retention. This means we are looking at the full solution availability early calendar year 2019 (CY19). However, we will keep rolling out updates in the meantime.”
- It is on the Azure Backup roadmap to remove the daily backup limits, and thus allow more frequent backups
- Cross-region restores is currently being developed, and will be available in approximately 6-9 months.
- Self-Service restore functionality (similar to the current Azure VM and Azure Files restore process), is being planned. There is no definitive timeline on this feature as of yet.
- Long-term retention (i.e. >7 years) for backup of Azure Files is in progress. Additional backup policy options will also be made available including Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly.
- When leveraging the Azure Import Service to create an initial offline seeding of your backup content to physically ship to Microsoft, you have to first create the backup in a staging area. The Azure Backup team is working on a solution to remove this step. If you are interested in this, up-vote the suggestion on UserVoice, and contact the Azure Backup team.
- The Azure Backup roadmap includes the goal of providing a zero-infrastructure backup solution. This will provide support for individual workloads with no infrastructure required (similar to how Azure Backup supports SQL Server in Azure VMs).
- The ability to exclude disks from backup is being developed. By the end of the calendar year 2018 (CY18), we will have this feature.
- Enabling Item-Level Recovery (IRL) for cloud-based Recovery Points is one of the current top priorities.
Supported Workloads Updates
- The Office 365 (O365) team is working on enabling support for Azure Backup as part of their experience.
- Expansion of the supported workloads is planned, and this will include Cosmos DB.
- Additional plans include further workload-level backup support and options (similar to the SQL Server in Azure VMs feature). This will include Linux based workloads.
- Support for backing up Azure Services that leverage Virtual Network Service Endpoints is being developed, and should become available within a few months. An example of this is an Azure File Share that uses an Azure Storage account with a VNet Service Endpoint restriction.
- Support for backing up Azure Blob Storage is on the roadmap, though Azure Storage Blobs Soft Delete may be an interim solution.
Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS)
- The next version of the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (version 3) is targetted for release in the next few months.
- The vNext version of MABS will have the following features:
- Protect VMware VMs with Modern Backup Storage (MBS)
- Migrating data between volumes
- Support for backing up the newest versions of the target workloads
- Integration with the Azure Backup Central Reporting
- The Azure Backup service is one of the Azure Services that is 100% GDPR compliant. No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored in Azure Backup. There is also a mechanism to support the deletion of data for GDPM compliance purposes
During the Ask Me Anything session, someone asked about Azure Site Recovery (ASR) supporting Virtual Machines with encrypted disks.
Even though the Azure Backup (ABU) team is different than the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) team, they work closely together since both Azure services work through the Recovery Services Vault (RSV) platform.
The Azure Backup team was able to share the update, that Azure Site Recovery (ASR) support for encrypted disks is planned for this semester.
A big THANK YOU goes out to the Azure Backup team, and their efforts to answer everyone’s questions. I, for one, truly appreciate how interactive, engaged, and supportive this Microsoft team is; with its Clients, Partners, and their Partner’s Customers.