backup, recover and virtualize Azure Data

Get Backup and Virtualization for Client Data in Azure

Seamlessly Virtualize Azure VMs with x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud for Microsoft Azure

If Microsoft goes down, are all your eggs in the Microsoft basket? Do you have redundancy by securing your client’s Azure public cloud data with a 3rd party? We would argue that you shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket because eggs are very expensive these days.  Many agree that MSPs should be backing up their Azure data, as they have a “co-management responsibility” to not rely on Microsoft to be the sole steward of their client data. Just like MSPs need to backup their MS 365 data, they need to invest in  backup and disaster recovery for their clients’ Azure data to deliver on RTO in service agreements and business continuity promises.

Axcient’s business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solution, x360Recover, has always provided initial support for backing up Azure virtual machines (VMs). Now, we’re extending the recovery functionality to include full virtualization and VM export for immediate failback. With Axcient x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) for Microsoft Azure, MSPs can protect and recover clients’ Azure data and ensure true business continuity in a single solution. Deployed via Axcient’s hardware-free BCDR, Direct-to-Cloud, x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure gives MSPs and their clients the full economic promise of the cloud, security-first capabilities, and efficient functionality at half of what competitors charge for backup alone.

In this article:

  • See where Microsoft falls short on security, leaving MSPs responsible for data protection in Azure.
  • Discover how x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) for Microsoft Azure protects Azure workflows both on-prem and in the cloud providing uninterrupted business continuity.
  • Compare x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure to similar tools to see why Axcient wins across cost, functionality, and capability.

The Growing Market for Public Cloud

The digital transformation of 2020 accelerated the rate at which MSPs and their SMB clients are migrating production infrastructure from on-premise, hardware-based solutions to publicly available cloud services. Now, as many enterprise businesses have already shifted from on-prem to public cloud, MSPs are well-positioned to adopt similar ‘public cloud’ environments. With both price and complexity decreasing, public cloud services and application benefits will be the backbone of more businesses.

Microsoft offers MSPs a best-in-class program that incentivizes partners to use Microsoft 365, Azure VMs, and associated cloud storage for production workloads. Similar to Microsoft 365, Microsoft has uptime SLAs surrounding its services but not the actual data stored within them. That means MSPs are responsible for protecting client applications, endpoints, and data running within Azure. With Azure revenue growth up 62% from 2019 to 2020, there’s a huge opportunity for MSPs to grow their revenue by offering Azure business continuity.  Axcient’s product team estimates that most of our partners have at least one client server in Azure, yet a large number of partners are not using backup and disaster recovery protection for that server data.

x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud for Microsoft Azure Business Continuity

Like all of Axcient’s solutions and product features, x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) for Microsoft Azure was born out of need. As a 100% channel-focused solutions provider, Axcient’s mission is to cure data loss and keep businesses running. With increasing public cloud adoption, MSPs need to deliver secure, simple, and cost-efficient business continuity. To do so, we built our BCDR solution to fully support Windows servers and desktops running as VMs in the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

x360Recover has always natively supported Azure VM backups and can fully virtualize Azure backups using Virtual Office and Runbooks, with virtual disk format for failback. These capabilities are built on the same best-in-class proprietary Chain-Free technology as our other products, and x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure skips the local appliance and sends data straight to the cloud.

Plus, D2C for Microft Azure is easy to use, is a part of our x360 Portal, and is accessed with a single sign-on (SSO).  With a straightforward setup, you will be backing up those Azure servers in as little as 5 minutes.  Here is what our MSP Partner Revolution Group had to say:

“Another great functionality advantage with Axcient is the SSO options, specifically with D2C for Azure. Once the account set up is done, it’s pretty easy to train engineers and technicians on how to get to the portal and get into the system.”  – Vince McCullum, Project Team Manager, Technology Services at Revolution Group

Key Features and Capabilities:

  • Direct-to-Cloud backup of Azure VMs to the Axcient cloud
  • No rip and replace required – run the Axcient agent alongside your legacy solution until you’re ready to turn it off
  • Standardize your backup agent and deployment methods for both on-prem and Azure workloads
  • Near-instant RTO in turn-key cloud with IPsec bridge to Azure
  • Flat cost per server, no bundling of inflated egress fees, long-term retention, and flat-fee pooled storage capacity (per our Fair Use Policy)
  • Built-in AirGap technology to protect backups from accidental or malicious deletion
  • Built-in AutoVerify automatically verifies backup integrity
  • Export any recovery point to Azure format Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) – up to 32TiB per disk
  • Use FTPS protocol to download VHDs at high speed
  • Use Azure tools to upload VHD to create a native Azure VM
  • Use Azure to convert restored VM back to managed disks if desired
  • Fast upload to Azure as unmanaged disks with anticipated speeds of 300 GB/hour

The release management philosophy at Axcient is to release early and often. For new features like x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure, we take a ‘minimum viable product’ approach. That means we launch as soon as we can provide the minimum amount of value-added functionality for MSPs and then enhance functionality with follow-up releases. The key features listed

above are available now, but there’s always more coming from Axcient…

Key Features and Capabilities Released in 2023:

  • Easily use web console (RMC) to restore any recovery point back to Azure as a native VM, and
  • Recovery of VM config (e.g., vCPU, networks, etc.) and metadata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoid the Risk of Complete Downtime by Separating Backups

It can be tempting to use another native Microsoft service for backing up Azure cloud environments, but with native Azure Backup service, your backups and the production infrastructure live in Azure. In the event of an Azure incident, outage, or cyberattack, it’s possible that both the production infrastructure and your backups will be unavailable.

Having your client’s Azure data in a separate location could mean the difference between your clients staying in business or losing their livelihood.

Additionally, file restores from native Azure backups are more complicated and require extra services for disaster recovery and testing. It’s not an all-in-one solution, so you need Azure Backup for backups and Azure Site Recovery for business continuity. Not only does this add complexity to your stack, but it increases management resources and overall costs.

Native Azure Backup Pros:

  • Simple setup
  • Near-instant RTO for failback if using new (1-5 days) backup snapshots
  • Long-term retention

Native Azure Backup Cons:

  • High risk with both production and backup data in the Azure cloud
  • Two additional services are required for backup and business continuity – Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery
  • Difficult file recovery – no GUI
  • Double paying for disaster recovery and testing
  • Additional cost for cross-account protection
  • Wildly variable costs – $40-$240 per month for an average-sized Windows server

Why Axcient Wins:

  • You get the layered security of a third-party cloud where full disaster recovery testing and live VMs can be virtualized in minutes for a near-instant RTO.
  • A simplified pricing structure includes data pooling for a flat fee per device or perserver, secure long-term retention, and built-in always-on features for one flat, per-device fee. You will avoid invoices for surprise overages or wild cost fluctuations making monthly costs predictable for better business management. Plus, Axcient does not inflate or bundle egress fees.
  • Unify protection for clients with a mix of on-prem and Azure workloads to a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Meet multiple business use cases with a single vendor to standardize management resources and reduce operational overhead.

Comparing Axcient to The Other Guys

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our competition. MSPs have a wide array of solution providers to choose from when adding new technology to their stack. Because each provider has benefits and drawbacks, MSPs need to consider both their client’s and their own business when moving forward. Based on features, functionality, capabilities, and costs, the chart below provides a direct comparison of x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) for Microsoft Azure with our competitors.

x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure Competitor’s Azure Backup
Any size storage capacity Limited – Limited to 1TB VMs
Long-term cloud retention Limited, often to 1 year
RPO as low as 15 minutes RPO of 1 hour or more
Flat cost per server with no bundling of inflated egress fees Costs 2X to 4X more per protected system
Single solution and GUI for backup and business continuity Separate solutions for backup and business continuity
Built-in AirGap and backup testing Extra cost for cross-account protection
Axcient can also protect any size VMs Typically limited to 1TB VMs or less
Ensures disaster recovery in a third-party cloud May leverage Azure storage
No bundling of egress fees, you pay only what you owe Inflated egress fees bundled in, and 2-4X monthly cost

Hear it First-Hand – An MSP Recovery Experience

Mike Jones, Technical Services Engineer at Pact-One, talks about their first experience recovering lost data using x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud for Microsoft Azure

Q: Tell us about the recent client whose data you restored from x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud for Microsoft Azure (D2C for Microsoft Azure):

The client we restored using x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure had several technical, high-performing offices and is one of our biggest clients in the Pacific Northwest. They are the type of modern offices where you go in and it feels like you’re in a modern and efficient production line, and they are quickly cycling through customers.

The client has multiple locations and, in this instance, had issues with file replication services for Microsoft. They were misconfigured, and they were missing confidential data folders. For them to lose an hour of data could translate to losing data for as many as 40, 50, or even 60 customers. If the data were not restored, they would have to call each and tell them, “We had a computer problem the other day when you were in, so we need you to come back and do all that all over again” – as many as 60 times over.

Once we figured out where the folders went, we’re like, ‘oh boy. Yeah, it’s gone.’ But really, no, the folders were not gone because we made backups. So, we called the client, explained what happened, told them what we would do, set up a simple schedule, and managed expectations with them. Then, we jumped over to the x360Recover portal and found the last good backup. We backed up every hour, and it took us a little while to figure out when the change was made, so we had to cherry-pick a few backups. But we got the data back onto the network drives where they belonged.

They lost a handful of files, so it wasn’t a critical loss. Instead, they were happy to have the folder structure and the majority of what they had restored.

Q: Do you think the restoration process was faster with x360Recover D2C for Azure versus Azure native?

Using x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure was easier than Azure native recovery. At first, I wasn’t sure because it was my first time recovering with D2C for Azure, so I wasn’t sure how it would work, but yeah, it was simple. You bring up the little tenant, click, click, and grab it once you find it. There’s a little bit of bandwidth time and network connectivity concern, but it wasn’t bad because we had done our homework ahead of time before we put in the solution and made sure that in the event this had to happen, there would be adequate bandwidth. We ensured we knew it would be a reasonable amount of time to restore and not be an overnight thing. So it worked out.

Q: After recovering, do you feel you are better off having had Axcient x360Recover D2C for Azure than having used Azure’s native backup solution? 

Yes, for sure. There was some immediate familiarity with the UI and the interface because it is just a different deployment option for x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud, and just in the back of my mind, I knew that it works.

And the lost time with up to 60 customers is one thing, but the cost to do all that work again falls on the client. It would have a substantial financial impact on the client in addition to the aggravation and time lost bringing all those customers back in. So, yeah, it was a big deal.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Axcient support team?

My buddies at Axcient support, they know all that about us. They know if Pact-One calls, what vertical we specialize in, and that we have about 350 clients, and we have devices rolled out all across the west coast. And any advice they give me, they provide it with that in mind and understand things like why I can’t reboot the server right now. They don’t give you random advice that doesn’t take into consideration your world. That’s probably the big differentiator for me. One of the reasons I love Axcient, there’s respect. I’m not a tier-one guy that just started yesterday – and the support team knows that.

MSPs can now protect their business and their client data in the Azure public cloud with a complete Backup and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution.

Ready To Try x360Recover D2C for Microsoft Azure to Secure Your Clients’ Data in the Azure Public Cloud? Try it for Free with a 14-Day Trial.

 


Carissa Kohn Johnson Axcient

About the Author: Carissa Johnson // Product Marketing Manager, Axcient

Carissa Kohn-Johnson has a background in healthcare technology and information technology, and is now the Product Marketing Manager for Axcient. She has a lot of MSP Channel experience from planning and attending hundreds of conferences and tradeshows, and found her passion in IT. Carissa is also an elected official in Cary NC, a town chock full of technology-forward people. Connect with her on LinkedIn – perhaps you can contribute to the Axcient blog?

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