Azure Site Recovery: 4 Things You Need to Know

Disaster recovery has traditionally been a complex and expensive proposition for many organizations. Many have chosen to rely on backups of data as the method of disaster recovery. This approach is cost effective, however, it can result in extended downtime during a disaster while new servers are provisioned (referred to as Recovery Time Objective or RTO) and potentially large data loss of information created from the time of the backup the time of the failure (referred to as Recovery Point Objective). In the worst case scenario, these backups are not viable at all and there is a total loss. For those who have looked into more advanced disaster recovery models, the complexity and costs of such a system quickly add up. Azure Site Recovery helps bring disaster recovery to all companies in four key ways.


Azure Site Recovery makes disaster recovery easy by delivering it as a cloud hosted service

The Azure Site Recovery lives within the Microsoft cloud and is controlled and configured through the Azure Management Portal. There is no requirement to patch or maintain servers; it’s disaster recovery orchestration as a service. Using Site Recovery does not require that you use Azure as the destination of replication. It can protect your workloads between 2 company-owned sites. For example, if you have a branch office and a home office that both run VMware or Hyper-V, you can use Azure Site Recovery to replicate, protect and fail over workloads between your existing sites. It also has the optional function of being able to replicate data directly to Azure which can be used to avoid the expense and complexity of building and maintaining a disaster recovery site. 


Azure Site Recovery is capable of handling almost any source workload and platform

Azure Site Recovery offers an impressive list of platforms and applications it can protect. Azure site recovery can protect any workload running on VMware Virtual Machines on vSphere or ESXi, Hyper-V VMs with or without System Center Virtual Machine Manager and, yes; even physical workloads can be replicated and failed over to Azure. Microsoft has worked internally with its application teams to make sure Azure Site Recovery works with many of the most popular Microsoft solutions including Active Directory, DNS, Web apps (IIS, SQL), SCOM, SharePoint, Exchange (non-DAG), Remote Desktop/VDI, Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, and Windows File Server. They have also independently tested protecting SAP, Linux (OS and Apps) and Oracle workloads.


Azure Site Recovery has predictable and affordable pricing

Unlike traditional disaster recovery products that require building and maintaining a warm or hot DR site, Site Recovery allows you to replicate VMs to Azure. Azure Site Recovery offers a simple pricing model that makes it easy to estimate costs. For virtual machines protected between company-owned sites, it is a flat $16/month per protected virtual machines. If you are protecting your workloads to Azure then it is $54/month per protected server. In addition, the first 31 days of protection for any server is free. This allows you to try out and test Azure site recovery before you have to pay for it. It is also a way for you to use Azure Site Recovery to migrate your workloads to Azure for free.


Azure Site Recovery is secure and reliable

Azure Site Recovery continuously monitors the replication and health of the protected workloads from Azure. In the event of an inability to replicate data, you can configure alerts to email you a notification. Protecting the privacy of your data is a top priority in Site Recovery. All communication between your on premises environment and Azure is sent over SSL encrypted channels. All of your data is encrypted both when in transit and at rest in Azure. Performing failover testing with Azure Site Recovery allows you to do a test failover without impacting your production workloads.


For these reasons, companies should be considering adding Azure Site Recovery to their business continuity and disaster recovery toolbox.


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By Justin Gallagher, Enterprise Consultant