Move your long-term storage from tape to the Azure cloud

Azure Backup and System Center Data Protection Manager customers can:

  • Back up data in schedules which best suit the organizational needs.
  • Retain the backup data for longer periods
  • Make Azure a part of their long-term retention needs (instead of tape).

This article explains how customers can enable backup and retention policies. Customers who use tapes to address their long-term-retention needs now have a powerful and viable alternative with the availability of this feature. The feature is enabled in the latest release of the Azure Backup (which is available here). System Center DPM customers must update to, at least, DPM 2012 R2 UR5 before using DPM with the Azure Backup service.

What is the Backup Schedule?

The backup schedule indicates the frequency of the backup operation. For example, the settings in the following screen indicate that backups are taken daily at 6pm and at midnight.

Daily Schedule

Customers can also schedule a weekly backup. For example, the settings in the following screen indicate that backups are taken every alternate Sunday & Wednesday at 9:30AM and 1:00AM.

Weekly Schedule

What is the Retention Policy?

The retention policy specifies the duration for which the backup must be stored. Rather than just specifying a “flat policy” for all backup points, customers can specify different retention policies based on when the backup is taken. For example, the backup point taken daily, which serves as an operational recovery point, is preserved for 90 days. The backup point taken at the end of each quarter for audit purposes is preserved for a longer duration.

Retention Policy

The total number of “retention points” specified in this policy is 90 (daily points) + 40 (one each quarter for 10 years) = 130.

Example – Putting both together

Sample Screen

  1. Daily retention policy: Backups taken daily are stored for seven days.
  2. Weekly retention policy: Backups taken every day at midnight and 6PM Saturday are preserved for four weeks
  3. Monthly retention policy: Backups taken at midnight and 6pm on the last Saturday of each month are preserved for 12 months
  4. Yearly retention policy: Backups taken at midnight on the last Saturday of every March are preserved for 10 years

The total number of “retention points” (points from which a customer can restore data) in the preceding diagram is computed as follows:

  • two points per day for seven days = 14 recovery points
  • two points per week for four weeks = 8 recovery points
  • two points per month for 12 months = 24 recovery points
  • one point per year per 10 years = 10 recovery points

The total number of recovery points is 56.


Using Azure Backup you can create up to 9999 recovery points per protected instance. A protected instance is a computer, server (physical or virtual), or workload that backs up to Azure.

Advanced configuration

By clicking Modify in the preceding screen, customers have further flexibility in specifying retention schedules.


Next Steps

For more information about Azure Backup, see: