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N2WS introduces Azure backup in 4.0 update

N2WS expands its backup and recovery capabilities beyond AWS with new automated protection for Azure VMs. The vendor plans to build this feature out more fully in future updates.

  • AWS backup provider N2WS has expanded its public cloud reach through a new integration with Microsoft Azure, although the offering carries some limitations for now.

N2WS Backup & Recovery 4.0 introduced the ability to protect VMs and virtual disks running on Microsoft Azure. This allows N2WS customers using both Azure and AWS to shield data in both, using the same product and the same interface.

N2WS is a backup and recovery orchestration engine deployed in customers' AWS environments, where it uses APIs to take snapshots and gathers metadata. The software uses these to restore an AWS environment back to an earlier state and has additional features for recommending retention rates and moving data to other AWS storage tiers, such as Infrequent Access and Glacier.

However, none of those extra capabilities will be available on the Azure side in this release. N2WS is currently not available for Azure-only customers, as it is sold on only the AWS Marketplace.

There wasn't enough for a standalone Azure release in 4.0, so the Azure support is aimed at only multi-cloud customers who use both AWS and Azure, said Ezra Charm, N2WS's vice president of marketing. As this is N2WS's first expansion into another public cloud, it made sense to start small, he added.

N2WS is working with Microsoft to bring its capabilities on Azure to the same level as on AWS, Charm said. Version 4.1 will add more Azure features, including support for more Azure storage tiers and availability in Azure Marketplace.

We're at Azure now where we were at with AWS in 2013. This current support is very simple and only addresses multi-cloud customers.
Ezra CharmVice president of marketing, N2WS

"We're at Azure now where we were at with AWS in 2013. This current support is very simple and only addresses multi-cloud customers," Charm said.

N2WS's 4.0 update also introduced an RDS-to-S3 snapshot recovery capability. This allows customers with large Amazon RDS MySQL data sets to recover in an orchestrated, automated way using metadata. Normally, copying from S3 back into RDS production is a manual process that cannot be done at scale, Charm said.

Amazon RDS is a fast-growing area where N2WS customers have been asking for support, Charm said. 4.1 will add support for more database instance types within Amazon RDS, he added.

Other support tools introduced in N2WS 4.0 include Amazon Aurora Serverless and AWS Systems Manager Agent. The vendor is working on SAP HANA on AWS and container support for future releases.

A multi-cloud reality

The vast majority of organizations have applications running in multiple public clouds now, said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC. They didn't arrive there by choice, though, and were instead driven there by SaaS applications that don't support multiple clouds. A second reason some organizations go multi-cloud is to hedge risk, but the odds of a hyperscaler suffering a catastrophic, cross-region failure are very unlikely, Goodwin said.

The importance of N2WS's first step into Azure is that it allows customers to consolidate their cloud backup on one vendor, Goodwin said. N2WS's initial foray into Azure is a necessary expansion not only because of the prevalence of multi-cloud customers, but also because times have changed since Veeam acquired N2WS for its native integration with AWS back in January 2018 (Veeam then sold N2WS back to its original owners in November 2019.) Now, thanks to APIs, many of N2WS's competitors including Rubrik and Cohesity can do native backup and recovery for AWS.

"From a competitive standpoint, it's not enough to just be 'best in class' for one hyperscaler anymore," Goodwin said.

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