Microsoft Speeds Up Azure Backup Cloud Services

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Microsoft’s Azure cloud backup service gets faster and more efficient with lower cache demands

Microsoft is claiming that its Azure Backup service is about to get faster, with lower cache demands and increased data retention, thanks to a raft of new features designed for optimizing cloud backups for enterprise data.

Azure Backup will now be using a Update Sequence Number Journal (USN journal) technology to track files in Windows that have changed between consecutive backups. Keeping track of changes in this way, Azure can identify changes faster, thereby speeding up backups.

50 percent reduction

“We’ve seen up to a 50 percent reduction of backup times in volumes with two million files utilizing this optimization,” wrote Microsoft’s Giridhar Mosay, program manager of Cloud and Enterprise on the Azure blog.

Alongside the speed boost technology, Microsoft has also introduced a new algorithm to Azure Backup that uses less disk space when metadata has to be computed. Using the algorithm, Microsoft has managed to trim the required cache space of 15 percent of volume size down to five percent.

microsoft“Previously, Azure Backup required cache space of 15 percent of volume size being backed up to Azure. While this was generally fine for smaller volumes, it became prohibitive with volumes greater than 10TB,” wrote Mosay.

“In our internal tests with large volumes, we are now seeing less than 5 percent cache space requirement which is a 3X improvement. To that effect, we are updating our requirement for cache space accordingly to be less than 5 percent of the size of data being backed up.”

Furthermore, Microsoft has increased the number of recovery points for cloud backups. Up to 9999 from 366.

“This enables flexible retention policies to meet stringent compliance requirements such as HIPAA for large enterprises,” Mosay said.

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