SUPER BACKUP – Not All Backups Are Made Equal

By June 15, 2017Uncategorized

Not All Backups Are Made Equal

At First for Cloud, not only do we offer the best Cloud services, enabling you to focus on your business, instead of the business of IT, but we also provide multiple tools in which to ensure that your business’ IP and collateral are securely backed-up.  The Azure Cloud is your “go-to” Cloud service, but getting data into the cloud, backing up that data and migrating from on-premise to the cloud can be an arduous task often seen as daunting and nigh-on impossible.

Azure Backup and Acronis Backup offer the flexibility to use the Azure Cloud as the repository – with the obvious benefit of being able to “spin up” virtual servers as an when needed (testing, DR, Site Recovery etc.).  First for Cloud offers Acronis as a terrific backup option for either migrating existing on-premise data to the Azure Cloud, and if required to continue to use as an on-premise to Cloud backup solution.

We’re going to touch on the Azure and Acronis Backup options and outline the benefits of this solutions!

Option 1
talks to Azure Backup, either from on-premise to the Azure Cloud, or from within the Azure Cloud,

Option 2
talks to using a 3rd party Backup tool – in this case, Acronis, to back up your data.

Azure & Acronis Backup/Migration Solutions

On-Premise to Azure Cloud and Within the Azure Cloud

Compelling cloud-based backup alternative to tape

Due to business or compliance requirements, organisations are required to protect their data for years, and over time the data grows exponentially. Traditionally, tape has been used for long-term retention. Backup gives you a compelling alternative to tape with significant cost savings, shorter recovery times and up to 99 years of retention.

Highly secure and reliable backup as a service

Your backup data is highly secure over the wire and at rest. The backup data is stored in geo-replicated storage which maintains six copies of your data across two Azure data centres. With 99.9% service availability, Backup gives you operational peace of mind.

Efficient and flexible online backup services

Backup is efficient over the network and on your disk. Once the initial seeding is complete, only incremental changes are sent at a defined frequency. Built-in features such as compression, encryption, longer retention and bandwidth throttling help boost IT efficiency.


  • One restore mechanism for all backup sources –The Restore-as-a-Service model of Azure Backup unifies the approach for recovering individual files and folders backed up from sources in the cloud or on-premises. You can use instant restore, whether you are backing up on-premises data to cloud using Azure Backup agent or protecting Azure VMs using Azure VM backup.
  • Instant recovery of files –Instantly recover files from the cloud backups of Azure VMs or on-premises file-servers. Whether it’s a case of accidental file deletion or simply validating the backup, instant restore drastically reduces the time taken to recover your first file.
  • Open and review files in the recovery volumes before restoring them –Our Restore-as-a-Service approach allows you to open application files such as SQL, Oracle directly from cloud recovery point snapshots as if they are present locally, without having to restore them, and attach them to live application instances.
  • Recover any combination of files to any target –Since Azure Backup provides the entire snapshot of the recovery point and relies on copy of items for recovery, you can restore multiple files from multiple folders to a local server or even to a network-share of your choice.

(Web List: Resellers will have a discounted price, but this shows the kind of pricing you can ask)


Block Blob Storage – LRS

Data Stored Per Protected Instance per Month                                  Price

Instances up to 50GB of data                                                                       R 73.15 per protected instance
+ Storage consumed

Instances between 50GB to 500GB of data                                            R 146.30 per protected instance
+ Storage consumed

Instances greater than 500GB of data                                                      Increments of R 146.30 for each 500GB
+ Storage consumed

  • These are the costs of storing your data in Block Blobs.
  • The prices shown below are the monthly charges per GB of data stored.
  • These prices vary based on the access tier of Block Blob storage (Hot or Cool*) and the redundancy option that you choose, as well as the amount of data you store.
  • Locally Redundant Storage (LRS)
    Makes multiple synchronous copies of your data within a single datacentre
  • Geographically Redundant Storage (GRS)
    Same as LRS, plus multiple asynchronous copies to a second datacentre hundreds of miles away
  • Read-Access Geographically Redundant Storage (RA-GRS)
    Same as GRS, plus read access to the secondary datacentre

Pricing Per Month

Cool Hot Cool Hot Cool Hot
First 100 TB R 0.1463 R 0.3511 R 0.2926 R 0.7022 R 0.3658 R 0.8924
Next 900 TB R 0.1463 R 0.3394 R 0.2926 R 0.6774 R 0.3658 R 0.8617
Next 4,000 TB R 0.1463 R 0.3262 R 0.2926 R 0.6525 R 0.3658 R 0.8295


How does the pricing model work?
The new pricing model for Azure Backup has two components:

  • Protected instances: This is the primary billing unit for Azure Backup. Customers pay for the number of instances that are protected with the Azure backup service
  • Storage: Customers can choose between Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) or Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS) for their backup vault. The net price for Storage depends on the amount of data stored with the service.

These two components appear as separate line items on the monthly Azure bill.

What is a protected instance?
A protected instance refers to the computer, physical or virtual server, or database you use to configure the backup to Azure. An instance is protected once you configure a backup policy for the computer, server, or database, and create a backup copy of the data. Subsequent copies of the backup data change the amount of storage consumed, but additional backup copies don’t add to the number of protected instances. Some common examples of protected instances are virtual machines, application servers, databases, and personal computers running the Windows operating system. For example:

  • A virtual machine running the Hyper-V or Azure IaaS hypervisor fabric. The guest operating systems for these virtual machines can be Windows Server or Linux.
  • An application server with physical or a virtual machine running Windows Server and workloads with data to backup. Common workloads are Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange server, Microsoft SharePoint server, Microsoft Dynamics, and the File Server role on Windows Server. To back-up or protect these workloads, you’ll need Azure Backup Server or System Center Data Protection Manager, DPM.
  • A personal computer running the Windows operating system.
  • SQL Server which includes all databases on the server.

If you choose to backup a virtual machine hypervisor fabric and its guest workload, the hypervisor fabric and the guest workload are treated as separate protected instances and are charged independently.

Are all protected instances priced the same?
No, from a billing perspective, instances are classified into three categories based on the size of the instance. The price per protected instance depends on the categorization of the instance in the pricing table above. Note that the prices in the above table do not include Storage which is a separate charge.

Do I need to pay for restores and network egress?
Customers will not be charged for any restore operations or outbound network bandwidth (egress) that is associated with restore operations.

Which customers will get this new pricing?
The new pricing will be applicable to all Azure Backup customers.

How can I isolate one server’s data from another server when restoring data?

All servers that are registered to the same vault can recover the data backed up by other servers that use the same passphrase. If you have servers whose backup data you want to isolate from other servers in your organization, use a designated passphrase for those servers. For example, human resources servers could use one encryption passphrase, accounting servers another, and storage servers a third.

What’s the minimum size requirement for the cache folder? 
The size of the cache folder determines the amount of data that you are backing up. Your cache folder should be 5% of the space required for data storage.

Can I “migrate” my backup data or vault between subscriptions? 
No. The vault is created at a subscription level and cannot be reassigned to another subscription once it’s created.

Recovery Services vaults are Resource Manager based. Are Backup vaults (classic mode) still supported? 
All existing Backup vaults in the classic portal continue to be supported. However, you can no longer use the classic portal to deploy new Backup vaults. Microsoft recommends using Recovery Services vaults for all deployments because future enhancements apply to Recovery Services vaults, only. If you attempt to create a Backup vault in the classic portal, you will be redirected to the Azure portal.

Can I migrate a Backup vault to a Recovery Services vault? 
Unfortunately no, you can’t migrate the contents of a Backup vault to a Recovery Services vault. We are working on adding this functionality, but it is not currently available.

Do Recovery Services vaults support classic VMs or Resource Manager based VMs?
Recovery Services vaults support both models. You can back up a classic VM (created in the Classic portal), or a Resource Manager VM (created in the Azure portal) to a Recovery Services vault.

I backed up my classic VMs in a Backup vault. Can I migrate my VMs from classic mode to Resource Manager mode and protect them in a Recovery Services vault?
Classic VM recovery points in a backup vault don’t automatically migrate to a Recovery Services vault when you move the VM from classic to Resource Manager mode. Follow these steps to transfer your VM backups:

  1. In the Backup vault, go to theProtected Items tab and select the VM. Click Stop Protection. Leave Delete associated backup data option unchecked.
  2. Migrate the virtual machine from classic mode to Resource Manager mode. Make sure the storage and network information corresponding to the virtual machine is also migrated to Resource Manager mode.
  3. Create a Recovery Services vault and configure backup on the migrated virtual machine usingBackup action on top of vault dashboard. For detailed information on backing up a VM to a Recovery Services vault, see the article, Protect Azure VMs with a Recovery Services vault.
Migration and Backup to Azure Cloud

Data protection is a critical requirement for any business or institution that runs on Microsoft products and services.
Acronis offers the most comprehensive Microsoft backup and recovery solutions for every operating environment, platform and application.

Acronis protects the complete Microsoft technology stack:

  • Windows Server®, Windows®PC, laptop and Surface® data
  • Microsoft business applications, including Office 365®
  • Microsoft Hyper-V®
  • Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)

Acronis offers the world’s first data protection solution for:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2016
  • Microsoft Exchange®2016 and SQL Server® 2016
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016, including Resilient Change Tracking (RCT)

Acronis drives value for the Microsoft Azure Cloud:

  • Accelerates Azure Storage utilization
  • Migrates any server to Microsoft Azure
  • Offers optional service package planning and pre-configured service packages for Windows Azure Pack and Microsoft Azure Stack

Acronis offers a range of solutions that provide rich Microsoft-specific functionality for resellers and end-users of Microsoft products and services.

Complete Business Protection
Protect entire Windows- and Linux-based cloud VMs and instances, as well as applications with proven disk-image backup technology

World’s Fastest Recovery
Improve flexibility of your IT with recovery of your cloud workloads to the same or dissimilar hardware, including to different cloud, or any on-premises physical system or virtual machine

Flexible Storage Options
Assert control over your cloud workloads and data by storing your backups in secure and reliable Acronis Cloud Storage, or on-premises disk storage, NAS, SAN, or tape devices

Intuitive, Scalable Management
Reduce IT workload and overhead by easily adding protection of your cloud workloads into a touch-friendly, web-based management console

Innovative Data Protection
Safeguard your cloud workloads from ransomware attacks with Acronis Active Protection™, the only backup technology that detects and prevents unauthorized encryption of files and backups

ROE = 13.61

Acronis Hosted List Price Discount Tier 1 Discount Tier 2 Discount Tier 3 Discount Tier 4
Partner Tier Emerging Market Authorised Gold Platinum
Developed Market Authorised Gold Platinum
Monthly Commitment or Actual Bill R 3,403 R 13,610 R 27,220 $ 54,440 R 108,880
Price / GB / Month R 1.31 R 1.02 R 0.95 R 0.88 CUSTOM
GB / Month 2,500 13,333 28,571 61,538 CUSTOM
Service Provider Hosted List Price Discount Tier 1 Discount Tier 2 Discount Tier 3 Discount Tier 4
Partner Tier Emerging Market Authorised Gold Platinum
Developed Market Authorised Gold Platinum
Monthly Commitment or Actual Bill R 3,403 R 13,610 R 27,220 $ 54,440 R 108,880
Price / GB / Month R 0.82 R 0.61 R 0.54 R 0.48 CUSTOM
GB / Month 4,167 22,222 50,000 114,286 CUSTOM

Please contact First for Cloud for a full backup solution:


I have a VMware infrastructure and I was considering Acronis as backup solution for my virtual machine.
I would to back up my VM on my on-premise NAS repository and after, in a second shot, send data to the cloud.
Is it possible to send the backup data to an Azure subscription and then (1) recover a single file, or application data, from Azure to my datacentre, without importing all the backup file in advance (in other word, read from my on prem datacentre, the backup file which is on Azure); (2) is it possible to convert the backup (which is stored on Azure) into a virtual machine directly on Azure in order to power it on?


  1. Set up Cloud Storage on Azure using Acronis Storage Gateway with Azure backend and register it in you Acronis Backup Cloud partner group.
  2. Create a new Customer group and associate it with the new Azure Cloud Storage. Create a new account within the new Customer group.
  3. Install an Agent for VMware using account from the new Customer group.
  4. Configure a VM backup with following settings:
    1. Entire machine backup
    2. Application-aware feature enabled > specify application credentials for later application-level recovery
    3. Destination: network storage on NAS
    4. Replication enabled: to Cloud Storage

Once you complete the first backup, data will become available on you local storage and in Azure. Then you can perform following recovery operations by selecting the required recovery point:

  • single file recovery
  • application data recovery
  • recovery to new VM on a local hypervisor / to new physical machine
  • run as VM

In order to recover a backup into a VM on Azure, do the following, as described in the documentation:

  • Create a new VM in Azure with Windows/Linux OS installed in it. Make sure to preserve the disk layout as in the source VM that you previously protected
  • Install an agent for Windows/Linux into the new VM
  • Using the newly installed Agent, select the backup that you would like to recover, and proceed with “Recover to physical machine” procedure

Protecting Hybrid Cloud and Azure with Acronis Backup 12

For more information on Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Partner Program, please contact us on

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