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Microsoft Azure Supports Bigger Backups

By Pedro Hernandez (Send Email)
Posted August 12, 2015


Microsoft is now offering Azure Backup customers seeking to store tens of terabytes of data in the cloud some added headroom.

"We are happy to announce Azure Backup has increased the size of datasources that can be protected from 1,700 GB to 54,400 GB," announced Giridhar Mosay, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise program manager, in an Aug. 12 announcement. "For customers with large volume fileservers (greater than 2TB) that want to backup to Azure this updated feature will be very helpful."

Microsoft settled on 54,400 GB (54.4 TB) due to the technical limits of VHDX, the company's Hyper-V virtual hard disk format, Mosay explained. "Azure Backup uses VHDX technology to backup these large datasources. The maximum size of the VHDX is 64 TB (65536 GB) and Azure Backup reserves some space for operational metadata."

Mosay further hinted that future updates may raise the current ceiling. "We will continue to optimize and increase the usable space but for this release we have pegged it to 54400 GB."

Users of Azure Backup Agent version 2.0.8715.0 or above and System Center Data Protection Manager with Update Roll Up 6 or higher can start using the expanded capacity. Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 with Data Protection Manager, and Windows 8 and above can also make use of the storage space.

For businesses that sling multimedia content to PCs, smartphones and other devices, Microsoft also announced Aug. 12 that its Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) can restrict their content by country and reduce the network impact of their streams.

"By default, your content can be accessed from all countries. In some cases, you may want to restrict access to your content by country," said Manling Zhang, program manager of Microsoft Azure Media Services, in a statement. The new country filtering "feature enables you to allow or deny access based on the country a user request came from," she added.

Customers can now compress specific file types, resulting in more responsive experiences. "By reducing the size of your files, compression improves file transfer speed and thus increases page load performance." New analytics capabilities help customers keep an eye on basic metrics, including bandwidth, cache hit ratios and hits.

Azure Files, Microsoft's cloud-based server message block (SMB) file sharing service, has been updated with new client libraries and tooling, as well as new REST application programming interface (API) features. These include Server-Side Copy File, File Shared Access Signatures, Get/Set Directory Metadata and support for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing.

Also new is Share Size Quotas, which helps administrators to manage their storage capacity. "This means that you can now set limits on the size of file shares. When the sum of the sizes of the files on the share exceeds the quota set on the share, you will not be able to increase the size of the files in the share," said Michael Curd, program manager for Microsoft Azure Storage, in a separate Aug. 12 announcement.

Originally published on eWeek.
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