If you’re an enterprise that has viewed previous cloud-based DR solutions with skepticism – brace yourselves for the details of this announcement. This is awesome.
When we sat down to plan how to build a cloud-based DR solution focused on mission-critical workloads, we had one primary priority: Make DR available to everyone, available everywhere, and easy to use. Arguably, that’s three primary priorities – but the results are undeniable.
We began with the current version of Hyper-V Recovery Manager that’s been available since January 2014 (as noted in this post). This version of HRM enabled automated protection, asynchronous ongoing replication, and orchestrated/accurate/consistent recovery of virtualized workloads between private clouds across enterprise sites with minimal downtime. Starting today, HRM has a new name: Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.
But this is a lot more than just a name change announcement. After an intense and carefully focused development, I am really excited to announce the preview of a new Disaster Recovery to Azure functionality that’s now available as part of Azure Site Recovery (ASR).
ASR will also now enable you to protect, replicate, and failover Virtual Machines directly to Microsoft Azure, thereby increasing the resilience of their business-critical apps. The efficiency and availability that come from this resiliency has a direct impact on the bottom line – but that isn’t the only cost savings ASR provides. Using ASR also removes the need to invest in an on-prem standby datacenter.
This new capability preview in ASR is a big step towards our promise of “No Workload Left Behind.” It’s a lot like the similarly named government program, minus the acerbic partisan animosity (but still a lot of standardized testing).
Here’s what ASR looks like in action:
Both the existing DR solution for on-prem private clouds and the new DR to Azure capabilities are built atop a pretty amazing foundation: Windows Server Hyper-V Replica, System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and Microsoft Azure – and both are delivered via the Microsoft Azure Management Portal.
In addition to enabling Microsoft Azure as a DR site in multiple geographies, this preview also includes an impressive list of features for enabling virtual machine replication to Azure:
- At-Scale Configuration
You can configure the protection and replication of VM settings in a private cloud and configure and connect on-prem networks with Azure Networks. Those VM’s are then only replicated to customer-owned and managed geo-redundant Azure Storage.
- Variable Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
This feature provides support for near-synchronous data replication with RPOs as low as 30 seconds. You can also retain consistent snapshots at desired frequency for a 24-hour window.
- Data Encryption
VM Virtual Hard Disks can be encrypted at rest using a secure, customer-managed encryption key that ensures best-in-class security and privacy for your application data when it is replicating to Azure. This encryption key is known only to the customer and it is needed for the failover of VM’s to Azure. Simply put: All of this service’s traffic within Azure is encrypted.
- Self-Service Disaster Recovery
With ASR you get full support for DR drills via test failover, planned failover with a zero-data loss, unplanned failover, and failback.
- One-Click Orchestration
ASR also provides easy-to-create, customizable Recovery Plans to ensure one-click failovers and failbacks that are always accurate, consistent, and help you achieve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals.
- Audit and Compliance Reporting with Reliable Recovery
DR testing and drills can be performed without any impact to production workloads. This means you get risk-free, high-confidence testing that meets your compliance objectives. You can run these non-disruptive test failovers whenever you like, as often as you like. Also, with the ability to generate reports for every activity performed using the service, you can meet all your audit requirements.
ASR can also help you quickly and easily migrate on-premise Virtual Machines to Azure or spin-off additional development and testing environments. Whether you are protecting a few dozen virtual machines, or hundreds, ASR offers some huge benefits.
In particular, ASR is really simple (it’s easy to configure and automate your DR across private clouds or directly to Azure), it’s cost effective (protecting workloads in Azure means big savings in CAPEX and OPEX spent building secondary datacenters), it’s intuitive for your team to use (the self-service model builds on top of existing products, e.g. System Center, Windows Server, Azure), it’s extensible (the cloud-based service architecture allows for faster development and easy access to new features), and it offers a consistent user experience (no matter if you’re working in a private cloud, a service provider, or a public cloud – the UX and the functionality is the same).
For more information on ASR, check out the recording of the ASR session at TechEd 2014 where we discussed the preview. You can also visit the Azure Site Recovery forum on MSDN for additional information and to engage with other customers.