Crash Resistance: DR for Small Businesses, Enthusiasts, and Other Geeks with Microsoft Azure

Good day to all!

On the nose New Year's, finally, high-quality snow began to fall in white-stone ...
But this is all the lyrics, and from the interesting in the cloud-technogenic sphere today I would like to tell you about the new capabilities of our public cloud Microsoft Azure in the field of disaster tolerance and backup loads . For a more detailed and detailed story, you are welcome to cat!

Reliability, security, remoteness ...

Azure Site Recovery Service (ASR) is a set of services provided by Microsoft Azure in the field of holistic backup and switching of the executable load environment - from the main area to the backup - in case something unexpected happens from the first, resulting in disruption of performance. And if earlier such functionality was present in the platform only for the platform level (PaaS) and application (IaaS) - now the stack has become full - it was supplemented by the infrastructure (IaaS).
Simply put, ASR now enables holistic replication, protection and recovery (as a final step) at the virtual machine level ...
What does this give in practice? Well, earlier, to provide such functionality, we needed a System Center Virtual Machine Manager on the main site. Now this is an optional condition. Now VM replication between Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure can be configured directly on the server itself, without third-party products (which cost money).

Replication Service Configuration Process

The process of setting up a service and installing its components is extremely simple and does not contain pitfalls.
Looks easy enough and simple, a step-by-step wizard to help you:

Figure 1. Steps for configuring VM replication for dedicated Windows Server 2012 R2.

And so:
1) We create a site in Microsoft Azure - the area where the Hyper-V servers of our task will be located.
2) Then we download the registration key (we need it a little later).
3) Install the replication service provider (they will ask the key file there).

Figure 2. Installing ASR components on a Hyper-V server.

4) We create a storage account in Microsoft Azure - it will be used to replicate the VHD ishniks of our virtual machines.
5) Create an Azure virtual network (for replica communication).
6) We create a protection group (it is in it that we will include the VMs of interest to us).

It remains only to add that the replica tool is Hyper-V Replica - an integrated component of Windows Server 2012 R2. The only caveat is that the replication process is initiated by the agent installed on the Hyper-V server, with the required registration of the server we need on the Microsoft Azure portal.

Figure 3. Installing the replication provider and registering servers.

Now we need to choose a virtual machine for the replica - and this is done directly from the Microsoft Azure portal .
In my example, I chose a VM - “CLUST02-WS2012-R2-U1” (Guess which OS is inside, hehe?).

Figure 4. Adding a VM to the replication area.

But only if you look carefully at the figure, orange triangles can be wary - the fact is that replications lend themselves to 1st generation virtual machines (1st Generation VM) - no older. This is due to the fact that the 2nd generation VMs work only with virtual hard disks of the VHDX format, and Azure does not understand them today. But I think it is a matter of time and soon this point will be fixed. In other words, you can replicate only good old VHD disks, but not VHDX.
After this, the primary replication process will begin, and during the VM registration process, you will specify the intervals and frequency of replication of the VM.
The result will be such a picture:

Figure 5. VM replication process in action.

Well, this process is so easy and simple. If you have configured local networks and VPNs as a single network space, then you can even set up instant switching routing for processing requests from the main site to the backup one in Microsoft Azure.
If you replicate and reserve a service from multiple VMs, then the One-Click Orchestration using Recovery Plans tool will come to your aid.
Well, lastly, let's check how our VM and its replica are doing there ...

Figure 6. Status of the replica of the virtual machine on the Microsoft Azure portal.

This wonderful and very useful process looks something like this ...
So I recommend that you try it out and tune it to critical VMs for the New Year holidays, hehe ... So, just in case!

Thank you very much for your attention, Happy New Year to you - and all the best for the New Year! May the replica come with us!

PS> Oh, I forgot to say completely: not Hyper-V alone, we can replicate VMware like that, and SAN-storage, and even entire private clouds based on VMM ... I mean, to see, climb, there are a lot of interesting things ...


George A. Gadzhiev.

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