Fault tolerance and business continuity are two of the most important factors organizations have to consider for retaining their competitive edge while navigating through catastrophes. Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is a leading Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution that several organizations have deployed as a part of their Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) strategy to quickly recover from outages caused by operational failures and natural events. ASR ensures the availability of sites by simplifying deployment and management while reducing infrastructure costs.
ASR automates the replication of virtual machines, servers, and on-premises machines to datacentres in a different region. It can be used to protect workloads on supported VM and servers. This includes Azure VMs, Hyper-V virtual machines, VMware virtual machines, and physical servers. With application-aware replication, ASR recovers applications to an intelligent state. Not only is it compatible with Microsoft workloads supporting applications like SharePoint, Exchange, and Dynamics, it also works with solutions from vendors like Oracle, SAP, and IBM.
How to Replicate Different Environments in Azure
In this section, we will run through the overview of the steps involved in replicating workloads running on Azure VMs, Hyper-V virtual machines, physical servers, and VMware virtual machines. Before you begin the replication, ensure that you have set up ASR correctly. Here’s what is needed to be done as a prerequisite for setting up ASR.
Prerequisites For ASR Setup
Setting up the configuration server on the on-premises environment is the most important step to be taken for replicating physical servers based on Windows or Linux to Azure. Here’s how it is done.
- Ensure that you have Recovery Vaults services on the Azure portal.
- Ensure that the physical computer on which the configuration server is to be installed meets the minimum hardware, software, and network requirements.
- Prepare the infrastructure by configuring the Protection Goals and set up the source environment.
- Run the Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup for the installation of the configuration server.
- You will find the newly installed server on the Settings > Servers blade in the vault.
Replicating Workloads On Supported Azure VMs
There may be multiple reasons for moving Azure VMs to different regions. One of the reasons could be that a new region might be available closer to your end-users who can enjoy reduced latency for their applications and services. Alternatively, you might want to increase your availability SLAs by introducing your VMs to a new zone. The transition to a new region for Azure VMs is relatively simple.
- Ensure that you have an Azure subscription and at least 1 GB RAM in the VM as a part of the prerequisite verification.
- Prepare the source VM and the target region.
- Use ASR replication to copy data from source VM to the target region.
- Perform tests to ensure that the system is configured correctly and then follow it up with a failover test in a non-production network after the replication.
- The resources in the source region can be discarded.
On-Premises VMWare And Physical Server Disaster Recovery Using Azure Site Recovery
Before you can enable VMWare VM for disaster recovery on Azure, you need to ensure that you are running the correct versions of the VMware virtualization servers. The machines must be running supported operating systems and must comply with Azure requirements like appropriate network and storage requirements. Once you have ensured that you are complying with the pre-requisites, familiarizer yourself with VMWare to Azure architecture.
- Set up the source environment and the configuration server for coordinating communications between the on-premises infrastructure and Azure.
- Specify the Azure subscription and network settings as a part of setting up the target environment.
- Configure the settings for the replication policy by specifying the frequency of the creation of recovery points and other relevant details.
- Enable replication for the on-premises VMWare VMs as the final step.
The difference between setting up ASR for VMware VMs and physical servers is that, while the configuration server for VMware VMs can be set up by downloading an Open Virtualization Format (OVF) template, it has to be done manually for physical servers by downloading the VFD file. Both these files have to be downloaded from Azure.
On-Premises Hyper-V VMs Replication To Azure Using Azure Site Recovery
The steps involved in orchestrating replication from Hyper-V to Azure vary with the deployment model. Not only can Hyper-V VMs be replicated with or without Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) to Azure but also a secondary datacentre using ASR.
Here’s how you can setup ASR for disaster recovery from Hyper-V VMs to Azure.
- Review Hyper-V and Azure prerequisites such as networking, storage, and computing requirements.
- Prepare the VMM server and ensure that it has at least one cloud, with one or more host groups. Additionally, prepare VMM for network mapping if it is used.
- Ensure that Hyper-V hosts and VMM server (if used) have direct internet access without a proxy.
- Use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to the Azure VMs after failover.
On-premises Hyper-V VMs managed in VMM clouds can also be recovered to a secondary site using ASR.
- Configure on-premises VMM server and the Hyper-V hosts.
- Create Recovery Services vault from the Azure portal.
- Identify what to replicate and where and prepare the source and target environments accordingly.
- Configure the replication policy.
- Replicate the source application to the targets.
Replicating Azure Stack VMs To Azure
Azure Stack VMs can also be replicated to Azure storage using ASR. The stored VM data is used to create and run Azure VMs.
- Prepare Azure Stack VMs by verifying their operating system and installing Mobility service.
- Note the IP address of the Azure Stack VM.
- Create a vault in the Azure portal and choose a replication goal.
- Register the configuration server machine in the vault and scan for the machines that have to be replicated.
- Set up ASR.
- Prepare the target infrastructure which, in this case, is Azure.
- Enable replication by specifying the details for Recovery point retention, RPO threshold, App-consistent snapshot frequency, and other details.
Failover And Failback
Failover is a process that creates an Azure VM using the last set recovery point in the event of an outage. The on-premises VM is replicated to Azure continuously. Once the recovery point is committed, it cannot be changed. After verifying the VM in Azure, you reprotect it for replicating it to the on-premises site. Once the high-availability site is up and running, you failback the Azure VMs to the functional site. Finally, you re-enable the replication of the source site to Azure.
Implementing Azure DRaaS For Organizations
Azure Site Recovery is arguably one of the strongest DRaaS solutions available for backups and recovery. It is affordable, reliable, and relatively easy to implement. It covers a broad range of workloads and ensures that your business is always protected against data loss. As a Tier 1 Microsoft Partner, Apps4Rent retails and implements Azure and allied Microsoft products at promotional prices. Contact our experts 24/7 via phone, chat, or email for assistance.