Microsoft sheds more light on cloud backup service for Windows Server 8

Microsoft is testing a beta of an Azure-based online backup service for Windows Server 8. Here are a few more tidbits about it.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

With Windows 8 client in the spotlight, it's sometimes easy to forget that Windows Server 8 is just as big a release and also packs hundreds of new features ("more than 300," to be precise).

But lately, over on the Windows Server blog, team members have started diving into some of those features in a series of posts that are similar to what the Windows 8 team is doing on "Building Windows 8" (but with a little more word-count control).

In early March, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Aidan Finn blogged that Microsoft was adding an online backup service to Windows Server 8. On March 28, Microsoft officials offered a few more details about the new backup service feature via a post to the Windows Server blog from Gaurav Gupta, a Senior Program Manager on the Cloud Backup team.

The Online Backup Service is a Windows-Azure-based service that will enable Windows Server 8 users to back up and recover files and folders (but not system state). There's a downloadable Online Backup Agent that is meant to transfer this data securely to the cloud, and which uses the Windows Server Backup Interface. The backup can be configured via Computer Management or PowerShell cmdlets, as Finn pointed out earlier this month.

Microsoft is limiting the pool of testers of the service to a select group. "Please note that there are a limited number of customers that we can support during the beta and we will grow our capacity over time. We have available slots right now so if you are willing to give us feedback, sign up now to try this great new service," according to yesterday's post. The beta of the service currently is limited to 10 GB of cloud storage, as well.

There's no word for now as to how Microsoft intends to package/price the Online Backup Service. The beta of Windows Server 8 was released to testers on February 29. A single release candidate is expected in the coming months, following by release to manufacturing and launch, which is expected in late Q3/early Q4 by many Microsoft watchers.

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