Windows Azure Backup exited its free trial period ahead of its official launch at MMS 2013. Right now, the server backup system is only operating in three of Azure's locations, but that's set to change in the future.
Windows Azure Backup allows Windows Server 2012 systems to be backed up directly into Azure, providing a straightforward approach to data recovery. Users can automate the process using the Data Protection Manager system for larger sites, while Windows Server 2012 Essentials also has links into Windows Azure Backup built in.
The product remains officially in preview, and while that's the case it is operating in just three of Azure's eight global locations: East Asia (Hong Kong), West Europe (Amsterdam) and West US (California). However, in the long term, that's expected to encompass other Azure sites. "We plan to expand to all eight data centres," said senior program manager Gaurav Gupta.
As we noted yesterday, it's unlikely that Australia will ever see its own Azure data centre. Our nearest location is Singapore, and that option does offer better bandwidth than the Hong Kong centre. For now, however, Australians who want to test the service will have to go with the Hong Kong option.
By the time Singapore goes live with Windows Azure Backup, the service is likely to be more expensive. During the preview phase (which doesn't yet have a publically-announced cut-off date), Windows Azure Backup costs $US0.25 per GB stored per month (based on a daily average), with the first 5GB free. When it officially launches, that price will double to $US0.50.
Lifehacker's World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I'm in Las Vegas for the Microsoft Management Summit 2013, looking for practical guidance on deploying and managing Windows servers.