Generation 2 VM support ASR


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Rob Waggoner

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While Azure doesn’t natively support Generation 2 VMs, Azure Site Recovery (ASR) on Azure does!  I’ve spoken to a number of partners that have leveraged the performance improvements in Hyper-V Generation 2 Virtual Machines on-premises and they would like to be able to protect and/or move, these Virtual Machines to Azure.  Our Azure teams have listened and have now incorporated the ability to protect these Generation 2 VMs in Azure with ASR.

Here is a screenshot of my on-premises Generation 2 VM (named Gen2VM-VHDX):

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and here is a screen shot of that same virtual machine protected in Azure with ASR. 

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The great thing is that once Gen 2 support is enabled for your subscription, protecting a Gen 2 VM is just like protecting any other VM.  As of this writing (4/20/15), ASR protection for Gen 2 VMs is in exclusive trial, and will be fully released soon. 

Now you are asking yourself, how does this work?  No Azure does not support Gen 2 VMs yet.  ASR is actually converting your VM (in flight) from a Gen 2 VM to a Gen 1 VM.  ASR is doing the Virtual to Virtual conversion for you.  If you fail over to Azure, your VM will be run as a Gen 1 VM, but if you fail back to your on-premises server, ASR will convert your VM back to a Gen 2 VM to run on your Hyper-V host.

As you can imagine, available upload bandwidth is something that must be considered when leveraging a capability like ASR, where your Virtual Machines are being replicated into Azure.  You have to plan for not only the initial upload capacity, but also the capacity to upload the changes (churn) to your Virtual Machine.  For the initial upload, we will be offering the ability to ship your initial replica on a hard drive to our Azure datacenter.  The churn discussion comes up often since we have to ensure we have enough capacity to upload all of the changes happening to your VM.  ASR only uploads the changes, but changes can still be significant and need to be considered. 

If you were with us in Atlanta last week for our SMB Live event, you were able to see the Gen 2 protection first hand.  Last week was the first time we demonstrated this capability, but don’t worry, this is something that will become mainstream very soon.

You asked, and we listened.  I’m very proud of the Azure team, especially the ASR team for quick responses to needs like this. We have an Azure ASR forum here, and this is where they take feedback on new capabilities needed with ASR. You can also visit the Azure Site Recovery forum on MSDN for additional information.

Until next time,

Rob

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