In a post to Microsoft’s Windows Server blog, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Gaurav Gupta revealed that the company will offer an integrated cloud backup service for Windows Server “8”(the current designation of Microsoft’s next release of its server operating system). Microsoft Online Backup Service is now available as a free preview, but is limited to 10 gigabytes of cloud storage, works only with Windows Server “8” beta, and will only be offered to a limited number of customers. While it’s not an enterprise data protection solution, it does provide an option that may be attractive for small and medium businesses, as well as for servers that are hosted in the cloud.
Microsoft Online Backup is designed to provide incremental backups of server data, tracking changes at both the file and storage block level and only copying changes to backup storage. It also encrypts and compresses files before transferring them to Microsoft’s cloud, and can throttle the network usage of backup during business hours.
The Online Backup client integrates into the backup functionality of Windows Server “8,” and can be managed both through the existing Windows Server Backup utility and Windows PowerShell command line. In addition to backing up to the cloud, it can also manage backups to local storage.
Gupta said in his post that the service also provided data integrity checks on the cloud side, to ensure no data was corrupted in transit. And administrators can also put a retention policy in effect that sets how long to retain backups in the cloud—based on how much cloud storage they’re willing to pay for, as well as company policy. The service can also be customized to work with other providers through Microsoft’s Cloud Backup Provider API.