What is our primary use case?
We use it to backup on-premise data to Azure. We can backup the whole virtual machine to Azure if we need offsite backup. If you don't have any backup solution on-premise data center, you can rely on Azure Backup to do a backup to Azure, to the cloud. That means from on-premise to cloud backup, for data and virtual machines.
What is most valuable?
It has many features. First of all, you can schedule a backup for the client as you like. You can also control the bandwidth so the backup will not utilize. The internet will depend on the bandwidth. You can also configure the retention period as you like and monitor everything from the cloud. You can monitor it from anywhere and you can log on and see. Doing a restore is also easy. It's easy to use.
The second thing is that if you have multiple computers and you need to utilize the bandwidth, you can install a dedicated server on the data center and let this backup server communicate with Azure and the local servers will only communicate with the local computers and the server only will communicate with Azure.
You can do a backup from the whole virtual machine as an image. You can do a backup only from files and folders. It has every option. All options are available for the backup, for the restore, for the bandwidth utilization to do backups even virtual machines or a physical machine. If you need to do a backup from the whole image from the virtual machine, all these options are there.
What needs improvement?
It doesn't have the option to have a backup from the database. It has a backup for the files, folders, and backup only the whole virtual machine. But if I need to do a backup from the Oracle database, from an Exchange server or from SharePoint, this ability isn't there. There is no application backup.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Azure Backup for around three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability depends on the bandwidth. It's very stable. If you have a good bandwidth, it's fine. If you don't have a good bandwidth, you can have a problem. If you have limited bandwidth, you will pay the cost.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
With cloud there is no limit. The limit is the sky and so for Microsoft infrastructure, there are two options. If you have a small data center, small servers or small computers and you need to do a backup, this is fine. You only need to install the agent.
But if you have big servers or it's a number of servers, Microsoft also offers the ability to do a local Azure Backup and this Azure Backup will communicate with the local server and these servers can be communicated to the cloud and you can often install multiple servers. It will distribute different loads.
How are customer service and technical support?
I haven't needed to contact the support or get a ticket with the support team because the document and the tutorials were available and even when we try to do a main backup, Microsoft guides you in steps and will not go to the next step until you finish the first one. For each and every step there is a guideline, and even if you didn't read the tutorial, just you go to the steps and follow the steps.
I didn't raise any requests or get any support from Microsoft but I got other support from Microsoft and raised other support tickets but not for this particular project.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
In addition to Azure Backup we used Azure Backup as an off-site backup because we have on-site backup. We also use EMC NetWorker which backups up to a disk. It's backup to disk software which we then do a backup from our local data and local servers to the local backup device. We use Azure because it is off-site backup so it helps us a lot in case of a disaster, in case of any problems so we can still have data be off-site so we can restore it from anywhere.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was easy. I did it myself. It is not very complicated at all. This is another one of its valuable features, that it is easy to set up. Microsoft has guidelines, documentation, instructions, procedures, and tutorials available.
Because it's a Microsoft product, admin guidelines and instructions are available. It's not that complicated. You can have any infrastructure on the cloud or on-premise. If you want to install a server you will need to install maybe a virtual machine. But if you don't need to install it, you can install only an agent on the computers. That's it.
The deployment took around two days. I have experience with other backup solutions so I understand the concept. It's like a car. You have a car, you know how to drive a car. But this is Rolls Royce or a Porsche or whatever, but it is the same concept. You can still own the car and you can go. It is the same. So for us, it doesn't take that much time to understand the concept of backup and then implement it.
The deployment required two people, myself and a colleague.
It requires three people for maintenance.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
From a cost perspective, it is a very good solution because it doesn't need a lot of costs because it's only a matter of storage on the cloud. You don't need any license at all, and on the cloud, you only need bandwidth. Bandwidth utilization will have various calculations of bandwidth utilization or bandwidth utilization and storage.
You don't need a license. There's only a subscription with Azure, that's it. Azure will calculate the bandwidth which you are utilizing and the storage. The worst thing at Azure is software allocations. That is not required, even in Azure, to implement a server or install backup software. From Azure itself, it's a matter of configuration. No need to have infrastructure. You don't need to have a server and install the software in the cloud. It's only a matter of some steps you need to follow. It's only a platform and a service.
What other advice do I have?
It is easy to configure a solution at any time, from anywhere. I can also restore the data, easily, without any complication. You can implement it in a very short time. The lesson learned in the beginning is that you can implement a solution in a very short time.
I would rate it a seven out of ten. It has some good features. You can sort the data in many ways and at anytime. But it is not user-friendly. To be frank, it is not a software and a service. Software and service is easier and not complicated but infrastructure is more complicated. A platform lies somewhere in between. It's a platform and service.