Traditional data backup technologies, such as tape, are slow, expensive, risky, and complex. Lost or damaged tapes, long restore times, and painfully slow management are driving organizations to look for better data protection solutions. Moving select workloads to the cloud to lower cost and increase agility has become a priority for organizations of all sizes, but what are the specific benefits of cloud backup? In this blog we try to provide an overview of cloud-integrated data protection utilizing the Microsoft Cloud, which addresses many of today’s backup challenges by transforming the cloud into a low-cost, instantly accessible data storage tier.

Many customers are confused about all the options in the cloud, especially when it comes to hosting relational data. After all, the Microsoft relational database story is big and comprehensive. In this month’s column, we want to demystify your options when it comes to SQL Server and data storage with the Windows Azure platform.

Most IT decisions are based on cost and value. A good rule of thumb to remember is as you increase the abstraction from the hardware and start to virtualize your technologies, efficiencies are gained, resulting in lower provisioning and maintenance costs. However, there’s a trade-off when you virtualize hardware—you might lower costs but at the same time decrease the level of compatibility with existing on-premises databases, because you have less control over the configuration of the database with respect to its underlying hardware. One of our goals here is to describe those trade-offs so that you can make better decisions.