Microsoft Azure: Your Fail-Safe for Disaster Recovery

June 3, 2016
Editorial Staff

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Editorial Staff

Most companies don’t realize it, but many have multiple datacenters focused strictly on Disaster Recovery (DR) purposes. As Azure continues to mature, more and more companies are deciding that it’s time to focus their time, talent, and resources on their actual Line of Business rather than being tied up with having DR datacenters, especially considering the associated costs and effort it takes to maintain them.

Industry standards tell us that as many as three-quarters of companies have failed to adequately prepare for a disaster. Half of all downtime can be attributed to hardware and software failure, let alone human error. The inability to test is the most cited reason for not having adequate DR practices and procedures in place.

Microsoft has created a product that allows you to replicate your on-prem servers to Microsoft Azure, called Azure Site Recovery (ASR). ASR is a server replication engine as much as it is a disaster recovery solution, so in the event you’re faced with a datacenter disaster, Microsoft Azure’s 99.99% uptime takes over to run your enterprise applications.

Azure Site recovery works with VMWare, Hyper-V, and even physical servers to replicate your Servers into Azure’s Datacenter(s). Depending on your source machine, the way it’s accomplished varies depending on the platform, but each is straightforward in its setup and implementation.

Azure Site Recovery’s (ASR) automation capabilities

There are two key features that make ASR a standout solution:

  1. Recovery Plans for a step by step automated process for that time when you’re unlucky enough to have to implement your DR plan.
  2. The ability to easily test your failover scenario, and retest in a “sandbox” environment where your test machine(s) can all talk with each other, but don’t impact your running production servers or their continued replication with Azure.

Recovery Plans are the automation engine behind ASR that give you the ability to quickly and easily implement your DR plan so your IT can continue to focus on your Line of Business. A Recovery Plan gives you the ability to do basic tasks, such as:

  • Putting servers into groups to control the order in which they start up.
  • Give you access to run more automated tasks like Powershell scripts or even Azure Automation runbooks to customize your recovery process.

Testing Failover of your environment is as simple as clicking the “Test Failover” button in the Site Recovery console. In testing your failover, you can choose to failover individual servers, or your entire environment. Additionally, you can choose to failover to an isolated virtual network so that what you’re testing will have no way of interacting with your production environment.

Need time to migrate your workloads?

Yet another great feature of ASR…it’s free for 31 days. This feature allows you to lift-and-shift your on-premises workloads and move them to Azure if you just want to cease running those workloads on premises (and yes test as much as you like within those 31 days). ASR is built to fit into the DR as a service space, but in doing so, Microsoft has given us a great free tool to move and test your Windows and Linux servers in Azure.

For Disaster Recovery and workload migration, Azure Site Recovery is a great option. Get out of the datacenter and back to your Line of Business by adding ASR to your Disaster Recovery or cloud migration strategy.

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