If you run your servers, you know that you need to put systems that cover possible damage. Moving up to an Azure server seems to remove all of the maintenance issues with on-premises hardware. However, Azure gives you privacy and control over the data you store on the platform, and with control comes responsibility. The Azure team can’t get into your server space, and so they can’t be held responsible for what happens to the data you hold there.
The result of this is that you need to organize a backup solution for your Azure account.
Here is our list of the seven best Azure backup tools:
- Acronis Cyber Backup This cloud-based service offers a range of backup solutions that include the capability to backup data held in Azure accounts.
- Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure Protects Azure-based assets with this backup system for physical and virtual servers offered as a cloud service. Still, it can be acquired as a software package for installation on Windows Server.
- DSP-Explorer A managed service that provides a team to manage Azure resources, back them up, and recover data when necessary.
- Vembu BDR This tool will manage backup and recovery for physical and virtual resources and cover Azure-based assets. It runs on an Azure VM.
- Datto Continuity for Microsoft Azure This cloud-based service is designed for use by managed service providers to protect their clients’ systems.
- NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a cloud service that offers a backup of Azure accounts stored on Azure or another cloud platform.
- Bacula Enterprise Edition This on-premises system can coordinate with Axure native monitoring and management to back up from or to the Azure platform. It runs on CentOS Linux.
The obvious choice for backing up your Azure services is to use the backup service integrated into the platform. This service isn’t a free utility. However, as it is provided on the Azure platform, it is quick and efficient. Another benefit is less security risk of moving data within the same system that would be encountered transferring backups over the internet. There is also a lower risk of transmission failure slowing down your recovery process.
Azure Backup has several modes that cater to whether you are backing up a data store or an application. Azure Disk Backup, Azure Blob Backup, and Azure File Share Backup for storage and Azure VM backup for live applications.
The Azure Disk Backup service is offered as an incremental snapshot that can take just data or go down to the OS. This is a background process that has no impact on data access. The account does not need to be associated with an Azure virtual machine. Snapshot updates can be made several times a day. Blobs Backup is a continuous service that includes versioning that lets you roll back to a point in time or select a whole restoration for s a specific moment.
The Azure File Share Backup architecture is complicated because it is integrated with the File Sync utility. However, like the Blobs Backup, it allows you to choose a point in time to restore from.
The Azure VM Backup service is accessed through the Azure portal directly in the VM management console. You can backup individual VMs or multiple instances together. This service will create a restore point for that VM, which is added daily. The retention period for these backups is 30 days. The service can also backup Azure-based databases.
The creation of a backup service can be added within the Azure portal. It requires the definition of a Backup Vault that gets set up for your account. You then define a backup policy, and the service starts.
All types of Azure backups are protected by mirroring with copies held at a second data center.
Azure Backup is also offered as a service for other servers and platforms, including on-premises servers (Windows and Linux) and virtualizations applications.
The best Azure Backup tools
You should consider other candidates if you don’t want Azure Backup to be your only option when looking for a backup solution for your Azure-based resources. It is always a good idea to compare several products before buying anything, just in case extra functionality is available elsewhere.
What should you look for in an Azure backup tool?
We reviewed the market for systems to backup Azure resources and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A service that can extract Azure data to another cloud platform
- The possibility to perform application backups or disk backups
- A set of functions that at least matches Azure Backup
- A fast recovery process
- Secure data transfers and protection for backups in storage
- A free trial or a demo system for a no-cost assessment opportunity
- Value for money, represented by a decent set of services for a reasonable price
We have identified some very dependable Azure backup and recovery systems that will protect your data from corruption or deletion with this set of criteria in mind.
You can read more about each of these options in the following sections.
Acronis Cyber Backup offers a service that backs up Azure VMs. This package is also able to backup Amazon S3 accounts. Other services that you can protect with the Acronis system include on-premises virtualizations with VMWare or Hyper-V.
You can use the Acronis Cyber Backup service to back up your physical servers as well. Again, a single account can manage all of these resource backups, plus it can perform targeted and adapted backup for applications, such as databases and mail servers.
Acronis can work together with the native backup processes of Azure. This lets Azure Backup create its copy and then extracts a copy of that, which gets stored on the Acronis server. So, you get two layers of protection, with the Acronis-hosted version acting as a mirror to the Azure Backup copy.
When the Acronis Cyber Backup system operates for on-site resources, it follows the same double backup process. So, if you use Acronis for both on-premises and Azure systems, you will get a backup store on your site, a store of your data in the Azure environment, plus stores on the Acronis server.
- Integrates with Azure Backup
- Creates a second backup of Azure VM backups
- It can be combined with backups of other systems
- Includes 250 GB of cloud storage space
- Backs up settings as well as data
- Many different backup charges can get confusing
Acronis charges for its services on a per implementation basis rather than giving you a tool that you can use as many times as you like. An Acronis Cyber Backup subscription includes 250 GB of cloud storage space. The Acronis system is available for a 30-day free trial.
Acronis Cyber Backup is our top pick for an Azure Backup tool because it has a wide range of capabilities that you can use to back up other assets, not just your Azure-based systems. The Acronis system can back up all of your systems: on-premises, cloud, and SaaS systems. Your Azure VMs get backed up by Azure backup first and then protected again on the Acronis server.
Get a 30-day free trial: acronis.com/en-us/products/backup/trial/
Operating system: Cloud based
Veeam is a leading backup system provider for many on-site and cloud-based resources. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure is part of that list of services. The Veeam solution to Azure backup strategies is almost identical to that of Acronis.
Veeam plugs into Azure Backup and takes a copy of the data stored in the Azure Backup Vault. This is a cloud-based service that will unify all of your backup and recovery strategies, combining backup services for your on-premises assets as well as your cloud systems, including Azure VMs.
When data is lost or damaged and access to the backup is needed, the Veeam system lets the Azure Backup service perform that task. This provides a quicker refresh than any remote service could provide. Essentially, the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Azure system verifies the Azure Backup copy of data. So, that Backup Vault version is kept in a ready state, meaning that, should it be required to recover the live system, it can be sure that the backup copy is correct.
- Combines Azure backups with protection for all of your systems
- Verifies Azure Backup Vault data
- It can be used to migrate or replicate systems
- You’re paying to double the backup that Azure Backup provides
You might decide that your best bet is to just go with native Azure Backup services, but if you don’t have your own IT Department, the question is how are you going to look after the system, and how will you know when to restore data. In these circumstances, it is a good idea to contract in expertise.
The need for professional management throws up another issue. If you don’t know about Azure or data management, how do you select a freelance technician to take responsibility for you?
DSP-Explorer is a team of Microsoft products specialists. The company offers contracts to provide the management of Azure Backup. You get a service level agreement (SLA) that gives you adequate operational cover and the paperwork you need for your insurance provider.
- A team of experts to manage your Azure Backup
- An option that allows you to use native Azure processes
- A good choice for small businesses
- You place the security of your system in the hands of others
Vembu BDR is available for an on-premises installation or as a cloud service. The system can bring together the backup strategies for a range of resources, including physical servers, virtualizations, applications, and cloud assets. Azure services are on the list of systems that Vembu BDR can protect. Specifically, it backs up Azure VMs.
Vembu offers a list of strategies for backing up Azure. You can backup to another Azure account within the same region or another region. It is also possible to get the copy stored on your on-site servers or another cloud platform. There are many options to consider when setting up a Veeam BDR service for your Azure assets. You install the Vembu software on whichever target system you choose to store the Azure VM images.
The Vembu technicians strive to provide an easy-to-use system with a degree of automation that requires minimal expertise on the part of the customer. The service is available in two plans: Free and Standard. The Free service has the same utilities as the Standard plan, but it is limited to managing 10 VMs.
- Flexible service with backup location options
- A service that can back up other assets apart from Azure VMs
- A free option that is limited to 10 VMs
- Decisions over where to store backups can be complicated
If you choose to backup to your own server, you need to install the Vembu software on the host, and it will run on Windows, Windows Server, or Ubuntu Linux. Vembu BDR Standard is available for a 30-day free trial.
Datto Continuity for Microsoft Azure is a business continuity and disaster recovery solution designed for managed service providers (MSPs) to protect their clients’ systems. This service assures processes rather than data stores. So, you are looking for an alternative to Azure VM Backup with this solution.
Datto has its cloud servers, and it pulls in copies of working data in Azure every hour. The purpose of this package is to keep those processes running. Essentially, if a process falls over and loses its stateful variable values and reference data, Datto puts it back on its legs so that it can pick up where it broke off.
- Secure backup transfers and storage
- Purpose-built for MSPs
- Control over backup storage locations
- Requires technical skills to manage
When setting up your Datto account, you get a range of options over where your backups will be stored and mirrored. This is particularly important for customers located in the EU who need to restrict their business data to comply with GDPR. Wherever that data travels, it is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, and that same protection is applied to storage on the Datto server. You can request a demo of Datto Continuity for Microsoft Azure or any other Datto service.
NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP will backup Azure services on a cloud platform of the customer’s choice. This service is implemented as an extension that is integrated into the Azure Backup system. It will then extract a copy of the backup to a different account on Azure or to a different cloud platform. Other storage options include AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
Rather than copying the Azure Backup service, the NetApp system replaces its storage facility and data management functions, claiming to offer better response times, better controls, and a lower price. The service also provides the options the option of a second backup store that is implemented through syncing. It is possible to replicate VMWare or Hyper-V on Azure using the NetApp service.
- Integrates into Azure
- Offers an option for a secondary backup
- Cloud-to-cloud backup
- Requires technical knowledge to calibrate the service
NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is available for a 30-day free trial.
Bacula is available in both free and paid versions. Businesses that require professional support and a level of service guarantee would be better off going for the paid service, called Bacula Enterprise Edition. On the other hand, as a result, if you feel that you have sufficient technical skills within your business and are prepared to take on the legal responsibility of your data continuity strategy, you could opt for the free Community Edition.
As well as backing up Azure services, this tool will back up your on-site endpoints running Windows, Linux, and macOS. The service operates through client programs that need to be installed on each device or platform to be backed up. The other cloud platforms covered by the Bacula system are AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Glacier, and Oracle Cloud. Manage multiple accounts on different platforms together with backups for on-premises servers.
- Unifies the backups of multiple sites and cloud platforms
- Offers processes for backing up applications as well as servers and cloud platforms
- Includes container and virtualization backup options
- You will need on-site expertise; as a result, to manage the software
Other options available with Bacula are containers, virtualizations, and applications. There is also a multi-tenanted version of the Bacula system for use by MSPs. The server software for Bacula runs on CentOS Linux, and you can experience the backup service with a 30-day free trial.