I remember back in the late 1990's researching technology that would allow me to configure the desktops and laptops I managed to perform backups to the company datacenter. We had constant failure of our systems due to end-users that treated the corporate bought technology like little more than discarded tissue paper. And, of course, they couldn't be counted on to perform proper data backups, so when a disaster happened they blamed IT. But, at the time, a bandwidth conscious, automated client backup system simply wasn't possible. It hadn't been invented yet.
Fast forward a few years and the consumer industry got services like Carbonite, Mozy, Zip Cloud, and CrashPlan. But, still, this was a consumer version and required a separately purchase license for each computer that needed backed up. Business versions later became available. Things have progressed and I can finally see that my original intentions are finally being met.
Today, Microsoft is announcing a new client agent for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 that works directly with Azure Backup. A recent client update, released on December 12, 2014, allows support for 64-bit editions of Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) backing up to Azure.
Per a blog post announcement today, once a full backup has been accomplished, the Azure Backup for clients will work similarly to the consumer offerings, where it tracks changes and only transfers changed files. Additionally, the backup client is smart enough to skip a backup if the computer is unplugged and wait until the device is charging again. Per the pricing page, customers get 5GB of backup space for free, but more than that will cost $0.20 per month per each additional GB of storage space.
Read the full announcement here: Azure Backup – Announcing Support for Windows Client Operating System