By Ezra Brook
March 14, 2012

In late February 2012, Microsoft rolled out an online backup service for the Windows Server 8 Beta.

The Beta is not available for everyone, rather for selected, pre-qualified users. In addition, this new Beta Microsoft Online Backup Service is currently offered in the USA only as free trial via the Microsoft Connect portal.

Interested parties must fill out an online survey before they are allowed to proceed. In addition to company information, the form requires that users key in their number of servers, Internet connection details, upload and download network bandwidth, details on server deployment, the amount of data that typically gets backed up on the servers. The form also asks if the user is running programs from any of the competing online backup services, like “Mozy, Carbonite, CrashPlan, JungleDisk, and others” or not.

Below is a post found at Microsoft’s Connect website:

Microsoft Online Backup Service

Thank you for your interest in this exciting new service coming from Microsoft! Before we make this pre-release service available to everyone, we want to ask a small group of you to test it out and let us know what you think. Testing will be open to those people who live and will use the pre-release service in the United States. If you are interested in participating in this test group, please complete the survey below. All questions are required to be answered. Your survey responses will be used to assess your eligibility, and we will contact you if you are eligible to participate in the test group. Thanks again for your interest in this Microsoft cloud service.

[ Click to sign up ]
Microsoft Online Backup Service Beta Participation Questionnaire

It sounds that Microsoft has been working on an online backup solution for a while, even though no official press release announcement has been published. Microsoft had described the new online backup solution in a published whitepaper:

According to the whitepaper, Microsoft is testing this online backup service before it makes it fully available globally. Microsoft has not said when or how the service will be offered. We will keep an eye for any announcement, but we have always wondered why it took so long for Microsoft to come up with an online backup solution, given the user base it has.

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