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December 18, 2014

The Path to the Azure Cloud Just Got Easier

Stephen Manley, CTO Core Technologies Division at EMC, offers advice to IT teams on how to make the first steps to the cloud easier.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Today, EMC is announcing a new version its Avamar Virtual Edition, which integrates with Microsoft Azure and can help make those first steps to the cloud just a little bit easier for users.

"The cloud- it’s all fun and games until somebody loses a job." – IT administrator at a large financial institution.

IT teams struggle with finding the right first step to the cloud. Management tells them to "buy some cloud for data protection," without specifying which cloud, how to protect the data, or what workload to move. Unfortunately, some teams make their best guess… and guess wrong. What should you do?

When faced with ambiguity, the best response is flexibility. Most customers I encounter want a cloud that not only can meet a variety of needs today, but will flex with them well into the future. Similarly, an approach to data protection that will support multiple workloads and consumption models is essential.

Here are some key characteristics to look for in a cloud:

– The optimal cloud platform supports both IaaS and PaaS so users can build, deploy and manage applications in a true hybrid-cloud environment.
– Support for a variety of operating environments for key applications – whether it’s a traditional database or a next-gen big data application.
– Assurance that the cloud will be able to connect and function across different countries and their regulations.
– Stability and financial strength — nobody wants to run emergency data migrations from a failing cloud.

Deciding which data protection workloads to move to the cloud
Most customers are beginning with traditional backup workloads, but with an approach that can evolve to full data protection (availability, disaster recovery, operational recovery, and archive retrieval). In general, they’re focusing on three configurations:

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– Backup directly to cloud -The backup agent sends the data directly from the application server to the cloud. This is most common in remote offices.
– Replicate backups to the cloud – The customer protects the data locally, often to a virtual backup server, then replicates the data to the public cloud. This is common for branch offices, workgroups, and small businesses.
– Protect applications born in the cloud – The customer wants to ensure the recoverability of an application born in the cloud. Therefore, they set up a backup environment in the cloud, leveraging the cloud’s compute and storage. This is most common in larger businesses in which IT is asked to protect a "skunkworks" application set up by a line of business.

IT should try to find one mechanism that spans across these different use cases, ties in with their on-premises physical and virtual protection solutions, and provides a path forward into end-to-end data protection.

Path to the Azure Cloud Just Got Easier

These design considerations are why we are so pleased to announce EMC Avamar Virtual Edition that runs on Microsoft Azure. Azure is an enterprise-class, mature hybrid cloud platform that provides flexibility that customers need.

EMC Avamar supports all of the cloud protection workloads with unmatched network and storage efficiency, as well as traditional on-premises workloads. It also works hand-in-hand with Data Domain systems to deliver end-to-end data protection.

Garth Fort, Microsoft’s General Manager, Cloud & Enterprise Partner Marketing puts it this way:
"Microsoft Azure provides both IaaS and PaaS capabilities so customers can build, deploy and manage applications in a true hybrid cloud environment."

"Azure supports a variety of operating systems as well as business critical applications such as SQL Server, Oracle, Java, SAP, and has global coverage across five continents. EMC Avamar Virtual Edition integrates seamlessly in a customer’s Azure environment to provide a complete data protection solution that’s efficient and enterprise-grade."

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