1. Introduction

This guide explains how to set up Backup Gateway on Microsoft Azure to store backups in the Azure cloud.

Typically, you will only need to create a VM with Acronis Cyber Infrastructure on Azure, specifying the required details like VM user name and password, credentials for a partner account in Acronis Backup Cloud, and such. Once the virtual machine is running, you should be able to store backups in the Azure cloud, without having to log in to Acronis Cyber Infrastructure.

Backups are cold data with a specific access pattern: the data is not accessed frequently but is expected to be available immediately when accessed. For this use case, it is cost-efficient to choose storage classes intended for long-term storage with infrequently accessed data. The recommended storage class for Microsoft Azure is Cool Blob Storage. Archive storage classes like Azure Archive Blob cannot be used for backup because they do not provide instant access to data. High access latency (several hours) makes it technically impossible to browse archives, restore data fast, and create incremental backups. Even though the archive storage is usually very cost-efficient, keep in mind that there are a number of different cost factors. In fact, the total cost of public cloud storage consists of payments for storing data, operations, traffic, data retrieval, early deletion and so on. For example, an archive storage service can charge six months’ storage payment for just one data recall operation. If the storage data is expected to be accessed more frequently, the added costs increase significantly the total cost of data storage. In order to avoid the low data retrieval rate and to cut expenses, we recommend using Acronis Cyber Cloud for storing backup data.

1.1. Important Requirements and Restrictions

  • When working with public clouds, Backup Gateway uses the local storage (inside the VM) as the staging area as well as to keep service information. It means that the data to be uploaded to the cloud is first stored locally and only then sent to the destination. Because of this, you must make sure that the local storage is redundant and permanent. Using temporary disks may result in data loss.

  • Choose a correct disk template to ensure desired backup performance (see example in the next paragraph). Make sure to plan ahead, because disk template cannot be changed. In such a case, you will need to add a new disk with the correct template to the VM, add the new disk to the storage cluster, release the old disk from the storage cluster, and delete it from the VM.

    Performance and size of a local VM disk depends on its template. For example, a STANDARD_DS1 virtual machine has the dedicated bandwidth of 32 MB/s for premium storage disk traffic. In turn, a P10 premium storage disk can provide the bandwidth of 100 MB/s. If a P10 premium storage disk is attached to a STANDARD_DS1 virtual machine, its performance will be capped at 32 MB/s instead of the maximum 100 MB/s it can provide. For more details on premium storage, see Azure documentation.

  • Use a separate object container for each Backup Gateway cluster.

  • To increase the local storage space for Backup Gateway, add one or more disks to the virtual machine. Do not resize VM’s existing disks, as it will not be detected by Acronis Cyber Infrastructure.

  • To be able to register Backup Gateway in Acronis Backup Cloud, two-factor authentication (2FA) should be disabled for your partner account.