Azure File Sync: A new way to tackle hybrid storage

Protection August 08, 2022
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Do you know about the future of file storage?

Every business has file storage troubles at some point. Whether it’s difficulties with file server capacity, file sharing, or a centralized backup for file shares, it seems that no option can ever cover all of your needs.

However, there actually is a method for storing and sharing your files that can do everything you need it to.

If you want an option with transparency and great performance that meets all of your storage needs, you need to try Azure File Sync. Released in December 2021, this is cutting-edge technology, filled with great features, plus ease-of-use.

 

Let’s take a look at what sets Azure File Sync apart. Read on to find out why you need to try this hybrid storage solution.

 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Azure File Sync?
  2. File Synchronization
  3. Sharing Files within the Office
  4. Sharing Files outside the Office
  5. File Backups
  6. File Recovery
  7. Tiered Cloud Storage
  8. Backups and Tiering

 

What is Azure File Sync?

This storage option from Microsoft combines the best of two worlds.

Microsoft’s Azure File Storage offers a cloud-based storage system that many users love for its flexibility and capacity. However, a lot of companies are still using a file server on their premises and may not be ready to make the full transition to the cloud.

The Azure File Sync is a feature Azure File Storage that means you won’t have to make a choice between the server and the cloud. Instead, you can sync up your cloud-based Azure files with the files in the Window Servers you have on-premises.

In short, this option lets you save newer or recently-accessed files in your on-premises server while also using the cloud to access every file you may need.

This means that instead of having to transfer files, you can seamlessly integrate your Windows Servers into Azure File Storage.

This allows you to easily share files with clients or remote employees across the world. It also will automatically move your older, rarely-accessed to the cloud files, freeing up precious storage space in your on-premises servers.

What are the specifics that make this syncing option so essential? Let’s take a closer look.

File Synchronization

First and foremost, Azure File Sync‘s job is to synchronize your file shares. It does so by using Azure Files to synchronize everything to a general storage account.

This means that Azure File Storage shares will be created in the general account, with the Azure copy as the master copy. This does not affect the experience of the end-user in any way.

Sharing Files Within the Office

If you have multiple offices, this file-sharing option is a great choice for your business.

You might need to share files across different offices – Azure lets you do so. If you need, you can synchronize your Azure master shares across the different file servers in each of your offices, ensuring that the copies in all locations are synchronized with each other.

Sharing Files Outside the Office

If you have a larger company or a remote company, you may not just need to share files across different offices, but across different continents as well.

Azure is your ticket to sharing files with anyone, no matter where they are in the world. You can replicate your files in any Azure region, and configure the servers there to connect with the closest version of those file shares in Azure.

This allows you to speed up your file sharing, making files accessible to employees anywhere in the world in less time.

File Backups

One of the biggest challenges many companies face in file sharing is backing up file servers in your different offices.

Luckily, Azure File Sync keeps everything in a central location, making file backups easy. And you can use Azure Backup to save backups of your Azure Files in the cloud.

This method creates backups of your Azure File Storage account, in a recovery services vault. You’ll be able to save these backups for the short-term or the long-term, depending on what your business needs.

File Recovery

This solution makes file recovery in the event of a disaster easier. Even if a file server in an office is lost, you’ll be able to connect your new server to Azure to download the files again.

If you open a new office and need to download files to its server, the same method works. This makes keeping every location’s file servers synchronized very simple.

Tiered Cloud Storage

One of the major issues with file servers is capacity. Old files can clog up space, even though they’re old and aren’t used anymore.

Deleting files may sound like a good option, but it takes too much time to go through each file and figure out what’s being used and what isn’t. And, if something were to be accidentally deleted that shouldn’t have been, the consequences could be major, not to mention any compliance concerns.

This means that storage space can quickly become an issue on those servers, with no simple fix.

Azure File Sync lets you customize how files are saved on each server, but the policy controls are quite limited (i.e., quota-driven tiering). This allows you to free up whatever space you may need. You can select which percentage of data gets synchronized with Azure for each server.

It also automatically removes those unused or under-used files from the server, without deleting them. They will still be available in cloud storage, while your server’s storage space is freed up for the files that really need to be there.

However, an archive-based tiering strategy might make more sense for you if you have more than 15 TB of data, more than five Windows Servers, or a combination of Windows and SMB shares. You might also combine an Azure archive approach with Azure File Sync, as we discuss here.

Backups with Tiering

Once you have enabled cloud tiering, you’ll want to make sure that you only backup using Azure Backups.

Once your files are tiered, you don’t want those online-only versions to be downloaded back onto the server during an on-location backup. Fortunately, Azure Backup will take care of backing up files for you, making this a seamless system for safe file storage.

Ready to Try Azure File Sync?

In today’s business world, all-cloud or all-server storage solutions don’t always meet all your needs.

A hybrid system is the way to make sure files can easily be accessed, saved, and shared by anyone who needs them. Azure File Sync merges many different tried-and-true features into one easy-to-use system.

If you’ve had difficulties with the storage capacity of your file servers, or struggles sharing things across your offices, this system can clear up your troubles and simplify your file storage for the foreseeable future.

Want to learn more? Veritas NetBackup SaaS Protection – in addition to providing protection for SaaS application data – supports backup and archiving of on-premises files servers, providing a fully-automated backup-as-a-service (BaaS) solution for file shares.

To learn more about how NetBackup SaaS Protection can work for you, contact us today to schedule a call or a demonstration.

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Dave Henry
Product Marketing Manager, NetBackup SaaS Protection