Microsoft Previews Azure VM Backup Pre-Checks

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Azure will now evaluate cloud virtual machine backups for configuration problems that may cause them to fail

Microsoft Azure will now checks backups of virtual machines (VMs) to ensure they’ll work properly if called upon to do so, addressing an issue that’s increasingly problematic as organisations’ cloud environments become ever-more changeable.

Virtual-machine configuration changes, such as network or platform-related updates, can mean a backup doesn’t run properly, so the new feature, called Backup Pre-Checks for Azure Virtual Machines, checks them for possible problems.


Automatic checks

It then aggregates the information and makes it available from the Recovery Services Vault dashboard, along with recommendations for how to fix the problems that were spotted.

The pre-checks, currently being previewed, run as part of scheduled VM backups, and so don’t need a separate schedule of their own.

It either lists VMs as passed, or else warns of issues that could lead either to a possible or a definite backup failure.

The system makes it easier for administrators to prioritise which VMs need attention first, Microsoft said.

Botnet detection

Separately, Microsoft on Monday provided details on the way its security team eliminates malware-controlled bots from Azure virtual machines.

The company said it analyses DNS query logs to identify communication patterns typical of communications between command servers and botnets.

The technique, which employs machine learning, is 95 percent accurate and can detect botnets before computer security companies do, said Roy Levin and Tomer Teller of Azure Security.

“Unlike most other systems which analyze data from each machine in isolation, our approach can effectively uncover patterns that are typical to Botnets,” they wrote in a blog post. “This new botnet detection feature will reduce the risk of Azure VMs becoming infected with malware.”

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