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  • Erol Eraybar

Oh, let storage grow, let it grow, let it grow! Christmas with Azure File Sync.

"Oh, business file storage needs are frightful,

but hardware vendors feel your pain is so delightful.

And since your capital budget may be in woes,

let file storage needs grow, let it grow, let it grow!

Data growth doesn’t show signs of stopping,

and you just brought on some storage for file copying.

The lights in your server room are turned way down low,

let file storage needs grow, let it grow, let it grow!

When you finally kiss your disk drives good-night,

how you’ll hate not purchasing hardware as the new norm!

But if you really hold on-premise storage tight,

their heat emitted may keep you warm!

The RAID disk drives are slowly dying,

And, my dear, users at remote offices are still not good-bye-ing.

But as long as you love on-premise hardware so,

let data storage needs grow, let it grow, let it grow!

When you finally kiss your back-up hardware good-night,

how you’ll hate not worrying about business recovery as the new norm.

But if you really hold your hardware tight,

adding layers of backup tape to your clothes may keep you warm!

Old mindsets are slowly dying,

And, my dear, users everywhere are still not good-bye-ing.

But as long as you love data so,

let storage needs grow, let it grow, let it grow!"

Azure File Sync is now available in Public Preview by Microsoft, and might be just the perfect early Christmas present to all businesses exasperated by data management and maintenance of storage hardware, as well as being a fit for folks with quirks to include being a Shared Network Drive "hugger" or a Cloud "laggard." This new solution offer also enables an on-ramp to cloud integrated backup, and rapid restore of data for fast disaster recovery and business continuity.

This is the favorite time of year, go ahead and indulge yourself with a subscription to Azure Files with File Sync! And, if you act now while still in Preview, you may be eligible for the advertised 50% discount off MSRP, good while supplies last… 😊

Azure Files with Azure File Sync enables you to get the best of both the cloud and on-premises worlds. You may centralize your organization's Shared Drives in Azure Files without giving up the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of an on-premises file server.

Azure File Sync does this by transforming Windows Server Shared Drives, and its cloud counterparts, Azure (Files) Shared Drives, into a quick file cache. You can use any protocol available on a Windows machine to access your data locally (including SMB, NFS, and FTPS), and you can have as many caches as you need across the globe. The end result is users have fast access to data near and where it is being used.

Azure Files provides for “Cloud” Shared Drives accessible by your team from anywhere at any time. When Azure Files is coupled with Azure File Sync, on-premise Windows Server Shared Drives become cloud enabled with new functionality to include “bi-directional” syncing with Azure Cloud Shared Drives. Data files are replicated between on-premise Server Mapped Shared Drives and its cloud counterparts - - Azure Shared Files (Drives).

But wait, there’s more! On-premise Window Servers become empowered with many new cloud super powers.

Imagine avoiding another capital expenditure for new storage hardware? Are you getting ready to ask your boss for another $20K and probably a whole lot more for a new NAS, SAN, or some other storage gizmo?

Are folks at branch and remote offices, home offices, and distant places across the globe having challenges accessing data and files through VPN connections to reach Shared Drives on your Windows Server?

Are you concerned about moving mission critical data to the cloud, worrying you may suddenly find yourself with an internet outage, or become exposed to latency and file response issues where some programs like AutoCAD offer little to no forgiveness?

Azure File Sync may be the answer to these questions and worries because it enables you to expand your existing on-premise storage and Shared Drives virtually to the cloud. An ordinary Windows Server becomes enabled with cloud tiering of cold data. No, cold data has no correlation to the weather outside at this time of year!

Simply put, cloud tiering of cold data with Azure File Sync may be configured to keep only the newest (warmest) and most recently accessed files on your Windows Server, while moving old, archive, and infrequently accessed files to Shared Azure Cloud Drives. Tiering automatically moves files from Server Shared Drives to Azure File Shares based on last access and modify dates to achieve the volume free percentage space specified by a given configuration.

With tiered file storage to Azure, all data “appears” to be accessible from an on-premise Shared Network Drives, but the on-site Server does not have a full copy of the data. Files moved to Azure are seamlessly recalled from the Azure Shared Drive when a User opens (clicks on) what “looks like” a normal Folder or File. The User should be unaware the data was migrated to the Azure Shared Drive.

From the perspective of a user’s untrained eye, everything might seem to be as it has always been. From the perspective of a Windows Server, since this colder and older data is no longer on its Shared Drives, new storage space is now available for new data!

Some common cost savings and cost avoidance opportunities, and benefits realized from subscribing to Azure Files and File Sync include:

  • Look Ma, No More Backup Tapes! Yes, we know you cloud naysayers and backup tape lovers still exist out there in secret societies across the globe.

  • Or, if you are ready to or currently backup your data to the cloud, there is No need to keep or introduce a new Onsite File Storage Gizmo, that exists primarily to serve as a conduit and intermediary between Onsite file storage, and cloud back-up storage.

  • No More incremental purchases of Onsite storage hardware like acquiring a new NAS, SAN, and additional Disk Drives.

  • Or, considering kicking some to all of your SAN, NAS, RAID Drives, and other storage hardware to the curb. Be sure to check if you will need to schedule a special trash pickup for their removal.

  • End your worries about being a data packrat! You no longer need to delete data, physically move data offsite for safekeeping, and spend time to balance-and-juggle storage constraints.

  • Reduce time, cost, and human energy in supporting on-premise infrastructure.

  • Leverage data snapshots and backup all of your data.

  • Retain on premises access to data files and ensure for transactional performance at all times.

So, how does a user from any Windows computer map to an Azure Cloud Shared Drive?

Well, remember, I said this new offer is in public preview, so you may find it to be a bit rough around the edges, and you may need a PhD degree in computer programming and preferably rocket science to map your computer to a cloud shared drive… 😊 Just joking!

Users may map to an Azure File shared cloud drive using File Explorer, as the procedure is just like mapping to an everyday, ordinary on-premise Network Shared drive. You can enable Users to map an Azure File Shared Drive in about 3 (three) straightforward steps or less. To learn these steps, be sure to include this as an ask in your letter to Santa, or if your need is urgent, refer to Microsoft’s documentation, or you may contact us!

Azure File storage enables you to be clever and smart about how you store your data. You can leverage its functionality to put your data in the right place, at the right time, to the right users. Remember, this can be a great stocking stuffer! Merry Christmas!

*** References to learn more:

Introducing Azure File Sync:

Azure File Sync Microsoft Ignite 2017 Presentation:

How to Deploy Azure File Sync:

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