How to Use Azure File Sync to Sync Your On-Premises Servers to the Cloud

azure file sync, cloud services, managed cloud, hybrid cloud
6 min read

If you want to reduce your dependency on physical servers and hardware, avoid costly maintenance and upgrades, and improve performance, you can use Azure File Sync to sync your on-premises servers to the Cloud. Azure File Sync allows you to centralize your on-premises file shares in the Azure Files while keeping your Windows file server’s compatibility, flexibility, and performance.

Using the service to sync your on-premises servers to the cloud comprises three basic steps. These steps include configuring the service in Microsoft Azure, installing the agents, and configuring the replication. This article will outline a step-by-step guide on using Azure Sync to sync your on-premises servers to the cloud and the benefits that the offering brings to the table.

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How to Setup Azure File Sync

  1. Create the Storage Account

Before you can create the Azure File, prepare the storage account to receive all the data from the on-premises file servers. You must use Geo-Redundant Storage to ensure that all the synchronized data doesn’t have a point of failure. After creating the account, replicate your on-premises share structure in the storage files.

  1. Create the Azure File Sync

To create the Azure File, log onto the Azure portal and click on the new resource button at the top of the page. In turn, type in the tab “file sync” and then select the Azure File on the list that pops up. Define the resource group, the location, and the name of the Azure File Sync and hit the create button.

  1. Configure the Server Endpoints

To configure the server endpoints, you should install the storage sync agent on your on-premises server. Before doing so, install the AzureRM module, and if you already have the module on your servers, run the Update-Module AzureRM. You then have to download and install the storage sync agent as per your operating system.

The Azure Sync automatically opens after the installation process, after which it checks for the agent update. You need to register and sign in to access Microsoft Azure by providing your credentials. After signing in, select the resource group, storage account, and subscription you already created. The successful registration page will be displayed if all is well, and you have to click the OK button.

  1. Create the Sync Group

The sync group is the glue that glues together the server and cloud endpoints to replicate and synchronize. To create the sync group, sign in on the Microsoft Azure portal, open the Azure File resource, click the “sync groups” button, and click the “+ sync group” button. A new blade will pop up asking you to define the sync group names and the cloud endpoint, which comprises storage account, file share, and subscription.

After creation, you will have configured a sync group with the cloud endpoint only. Thus, you will have to add the server endpoints by clicking the add server endpoint button, selecting the registered path you want to synchronize data, and clicking the create button. You can check the storage account under the file share to validate whether the on-premises data is being synchronized to the cloud or not.

Advantages of Azure File Sync

  • Cloud Tiering

Azure File is cloud tiering enabled. This means that your least frequently accessed records are tiered to your cloud while the frequently accessed ones are cached on the local server. Thus, it is easy to quickly recall your tiered files on-demand, which makes the experience flawless and enables you to cut down on expenses as your data on-premises storage needs are curtailed.

  • Cloud-Side Backup

Azure File uses Azure Backup to back up your on-premises server data in the cloud. Thus, the Azure Backup enables you to automatically manage your retention and schedule your backups as it has native snapshot capabilities. This allows you to minimize your on-premises backup costs using the cloud’s centralized backups.

  • Prompt Disaster Recovery

Azure File Sync uses Azure Files to offer your available storage various redundancy options. Since Microsoft Azure stores your resilient copies of data, your on-premises local server is an expendable caching device. Thus, if your local server fails, you can recover your files by simply adding another server to the Azure File deployment.

Final Thoughts

If you intend to migrate your on-premises file server data to Microsoft Azure, Azure File Sync is an ideal pick. Azure File creates a smooth and seamless transition from your on-premises to the cloud without affecting your applications and users.

Craig Wester
Craig Wester
Being early in his career has made Craig hungry for knowledge in the growing technology that is Microsoft Azure. With a Systems Administrator background and continuous learning of Microsoft Azure he happily takes on new challenges and find joys in assisting customers in their move to the cloud.
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