Microsoft speeds up Azure backups

Azure Backup also now boasts better caching and retention rates

Microsoft has updated its Azure Backup service, using its Update Sequence Number (USN) Journal to speed up the process of creating data backups.

USN Journal tracks changes in file backups, quickly identifying any changes across the entire directory.

This method has reduced backup times by up to 50 per cent, Microsoft claimed, although the time it takes to back up volumes varies according to how big the individual files are and how the directory is organised.

Microsoft has also taken steps to reduce the amount of space file caching takes on each server. Using an algorithm to compute the metadata attached to each backup, Microsoft has managed to reduce the amount of space each cache needs by 66 per cent.

Previously, Azure required up to 15 per cent of a volume to be used as cache space, which many companies found they were unable to cache the data on volumes more than 10TB, but this improvement means the amount of space each volume needs is reduced to just five per cent, making it a more flexible option for organisations processing a high volume of data.

As a result of this change, Microsoft has now updated its requirement for cache space to be just five per cent of the total amount of data being backed up, meaning more space for the backups and less used for caching.

The final big change in Azure Backup is the increased number of recovery points allowed for cloud backups, from 366 to 9999, meaning companies with demanding compliance requirements such as HIPAA can use more flexible retention to meet the requirements.

Additional changes include increasing time outs for large-scale backups to reduce the number of jobs not completing and decoupling cataloguing of the backup data from uploading backup data to ensure smoother running of the process.

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