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Top 5 Microsoft Azure Backup Solutions

Acronis Cyber Protect, Cobalt Iron Compass, HYCU Protege, Metallic/Commvault, Veritas NetBackup

WendtThis report was written on April 27, 2023 by Jerome M. Wendt, president and founder, DCIG, LLC.



2023-24 DCIG TOP 5 Microsoft Azure Backup Solutions Report Now Available

This report provides organizations guidance on the best backup solutions for backing up and recovering applications and data hosted in Microsoft Azure.

Azure keeping pace with AWS
Since the release of the first DCIG TOP 5 Microsoft Azure Backup Solutions report in September 2020, the global market size of the public cloud services sector has grown from around $314 billion to a projected $591 billion in 2023. Obtaining definitive numbers on each cloud provider’s contribution to this overall revenue number remains difficult.

However, some estimates show Azure continuing to slowly gain on Amazon AWS in both its IaaS and Platform as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. In 2020, AWS held a 52.7% to 30.6% market share lead over Azure. That percentage shrunk by about 3% to a projected 49.2% to 33.1% in 2022. If one adds in SaaS offerings such as Microsoft 365 to the mix, Azure may potentially lead AWS in cloud revenue.

As the public cloud matures, different vendors now specialize in different cloud features. Azure continues to specialize in giving organizations that rely heavily upon Microsoft soft≠ware an easy on-ramp to the cloud.

However, this easy on-ramp to the cloud backfired on some organizations. An easy move to the cloud did not mean they were ready to embrace and manage the cloud. More organizations recognize they may need hybrid and multi-cloud solutions to meet their various IT needs.

This combination of events has not slowed cloud adoption. Rather, companies tend to take a more thoughtful approach about moving infrastructure, applications, and services to the cloud in general and Azure specifically. As they do, they must move their backup strategies with them. Otherwise, they risk data loss and downtime due to human error, disaster, or even malicious attack.

Backup still a requiement in Azure
Azure offers many features organizations want from a public cloud platform to include high availability, redundancy, security, and many more. Despite the benefits Azure offers, organizations must keep one principle in mind: they retain responsibility for their data.

This puts the onus on organizations to back up and recover their data. Should their data get corrupted, deleted, lost, or compromised, they need a solution in place to protect it.

Microsoft does offer its own Azure backup service which DCIG did evaluate as part of this research. However, it is a separate offering designed to back up virtual machines in Azure to which organizations must subscribe. Many organizations will have applications and data requiring specific backup and recovery features beyond what the Azure backup service offers. This will necessitate they acquire a 3rd-party solution that meets their broader Azure backup and recovery needs.

Azure backup solutions
Despite Microsoft’s establishment as a global leader in IaaS, there remains a limited number of available Azure backup solutions. Even among those that support Azure, a number still bear more resemblance to on-premises backup software than those optimized for cloud backup.

In preparing this report, DCIG evaluated 12 cloud backup solutions based on multiple different features and capabilities.

The general categories under which these features fell included:

  • Backup administration
  • Backup capabilities
  • Configuration, licensing, and pricing
  • Cyber resilience
  • Recovery and restores
  • Snapshot administration
  • Support

Based on these criteria, DCIG awarded the following cloud backup solutions a Top 5 ranking:

  • Acronis Cyber Protect
  • Cobalt Iron Compass
  • HYCU Protege
  • Metallic, a Commvault Venture
  • Veritas NetBackup

Key similarities between all Azure backup solutions
In reviewing all the Azure backup solutions, DCIG observed they all generally shared the following characteristics to include:

  • Integrate with and protect Microsoft 365. The ability to backup and restore email, calendar items and contact information in Microsoft 365 has become a standard.
  • Single-sign-on (SSO). One of the more important aspects of security is providing authentication and authorization using third-party software. Modern appli≠cations often achieve this using OAUTH2 or SAML, often referred to as single-sign-on (SSO). All the evaluated solutions integrate with SSO.
  • Back up all Windows Server versions from 2012 forward. Organizations may choose from multiple Microsoft Windows OSs to host their VMs in Azure. Any of these backup solutions will protect applications hosted on any Microsoft Windows OS released since 2012.
  • Back up several Linux distributions. Organizations may also select from among seven Linux releases available in Azure. Solutions that protect Linux support all the major Linux distributions, including CentOS/RHEL, Debian/Ubuntu, and SUSE Linux.
  • Perform incremental and full backups. Every backup solution gives organizations the option to perform full and incremental backups. Most create a first full backup and then do incremental backups thereafter.