Many organizations are moving mission critical applications to Azure. A lot of organizations are starting to explore Microsoft Azure as a Disaster Recovery (DR) site to their existing datacenters.
If you haven’t started to consider this, Microsoft provides several tools to assess your “Cloud Readiness”, and help you estimate the costs, and ROI, in moving to the cloud.
But what if you’re one of the many organizations that are using Microsoft Azure as their primary datacenter? You’ve used Azure Site Recovery (ASR) to lift-and-shift your workloads off your ageing on-premises hardware to the cloud, but now you’re in need of a DR solution completely native to the cloud?
This is where the newly released public preview of Azure-to-Azure (A2A) Site Recovery comes in for disaster recovery of Azure IaaS virtual machines.
Azure Site Recovery (ASR)
First, a quick overview of Azure Site Recovery (ASR). This DR-as-a-Service has been in the market for more than 3 years, with one of the main features being the ability to utilize Azure as your secondary datacenter for disaster recovery needs.
This means that you no longer need to build and maintain a secondary physical datacenter, and the added cost of electricity, cooling, and multiple redundancies to ensure it is ready and able to support your entire enterprise, in the event of a disaster.
Azure Site Recovery (ASR) supports protecting not only Hyper-V virtual machines, but also VMware, and Physical hosts.
Here’s the link to Microsoft’s Site Recovery overview to get you started: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-overview
Azure-to-Azure (A2A) Site Recovery
Let’s go back to the scenario where you have successfully migrated your on-premises workloads into Azure, to take advantage of the scalability, flexibility, and other Azure services.
Even though Azure is highly available, and has redundancy built-in at every level, some industries and organziations still require a provable Disaster Recovery (DR) element to their environment (whether it is hosted in the cloud or otherwise), to meet compliance and regulatory requirements.
Azure-to-Azure (A2A) Site Recovery provides the technology and mechanisms to enable cloud-to-cloud replication and failover, empowering you to utilize Azure as your primary datacenter, and your disaster recovery environment.
Benefits of Azure-to-Azure (A2A) Disaster Recovery
Aside from compliance and regulatory requirements, your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) strategy may have other needs.
For example, how often does your organization perform DR drills? I’m not talking about confirming that backups are operational but actual, real failover and restore exercises for the entire application set running in the primary region? Many organizations either don’t perform these tests or have a limited environment that hinders their ability to do so. With Azure Site Recovery, you can perform non-intrusive DR drills and testing, so that you can have confidence that you can recover from major (or even minor) outages quickly and efficiently. This has been available for Azure Site Recovery in the past for on-premises to Azure but is now available for native workloads running in the cloud.
Azure-to-Azure Site Recovery stands out as a differentiator in the public cloud world. Other public cloud providers do not provide DR technologies like this, and if they do, it does not include cloud-to-cloud protection. Microsoft has engineered this protection technology as a native first-class experience for virtual machines running in Azure.
The Azure Site Recovery provides the mechanism to achieve very low Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs), and frequent Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs). This is not just focused on being able to recover the virtual machines that are running your business-critical applications, but rather, with a focus on the application consistent recovery itself.
With Azure-to-Azure Site Recovery, we also don’t have the complicated process of setting up DR sites, networking, storage, etc. All of that is simplified in an easy to use experience. with a one-click experience, you can easily and seamlessly enable replication and even failover to your secondary site.
In a traditional DR site configuration, many organizations will configure and enable a “hot” or “warm” standby system. This is another virtual machine that is running 24×7 with a continuous copy of the replicated data/systems. While this may seem ideal at first, there is additional cost involved to not only keep that secondary system up and running but also to monitor, manage, patch, secure, etc.
With Azure Site Recovery, we gain significant cost benefits, as there is no additional compute infrastructure required. This means that we can achieve the replication cycle desired, while not running a secondary virtual machine until needed. And with the orchestrated recovery plans, we can automate and expedite our recovery DR playbooks, to ensure we are operational even when a disaster hits.
With all the advances and enhancements to the Site Recovery technology, and now with the native ability to protect and replicate your Azure IaaS virtual machines to a secondary Azure site, you can have confidence in migrating, moving, and running you mission-critical workloads in Azure.
Try it out today, and Replicate Azure VMs between regions with Azure Site Recovery.