How can Microsoft Azure reduce your RTO?

How can Microsoft Azure reduce your RTO?

What is the biggest challenge with integrating the Cloud in your backup architecture? I would argue that restore times could be the biggest hurdle, especially when we are talking about multiple terabytes of data. Cloud storage is a great backup target for those incremental changes that can trickle up to the Cloud each day. It isn’t great for those large restore operations that are sometimes a necessity.

In my last blog, Windows Azure Backup, I mentioned Microsoft’s Cloud Integrated Storage solution StorSimple and the concept of thin recovery. In this edition, we will explore what deterministic thin recovery is and why you should care.

In traditional recovery scenarios, the backup software restores data without regard to the actual working set. Both the hot and cold data need to be restored before applications can be restarted and the data can be accessed. The restore times can be a challenge with large datasets, and the problem is compounded when the data being restored lives in the Cloud. WAN optimization appliances can help in these scenarios to an extent, but there is another way to address this issue.

Microsoft’s StorSimple Cloud-integrated Enterprise Storage has the ability to perform deterministic thin recoveries from Microsoft Azure. This is an application driven data recovery that prioritizes the data to download from Azure when the application needs it. Data that is part of the working set is downloaded so cold data stays in the Cloud. This saves time and bandwidth during a disaster.

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StorSimple has the ability to download the metadata map to any other live system in the environment to enable data recovery. This invokes some interesting architecture possibilities when there are multiple StorSimple devices in the environment. If it is architected correctly, you could have multiple restores working in parallel to different datacenters. An added advantage to the reduced restore times is that there only needs to be two copies of the data, one on the StorSimple device and one in Azure, but you have the ability to restore to any StorSimple device in the environment without having to replicate data in a full mesh topology.

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