Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure – Part One

I have recently seen an increase in the interest from clients wishing to invest in DR and Backup to the cloud. Azure Site Recovery Services has many offerings for various scenarios, with additional options appearing all the time. I have discussed Azure Backup Vault in previous posts and no doubt will touch on it again in the future, but today I have chosen to look at DR and Azure Site Recovery.

So what is ASR?

‘Azure Site Recovery helps you to protect important applications by coordinating the replication and recovery of physical or virtual machines. You can replicate to your own datacenter, to a hosting service provider, or even to Azure to avoid the expense and complexity of building and managing your own secondary location.’  Microsoft

Essentially, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery offers the ability to simplify and automate DR between two on-premise site or between on-premise and Azure.

As I write this the options are:

ASROptions

Microsoft are developing ASR rapidly and additional functionality is always appearing, with much to come in Q1 and Q2 of 2015.

For this particular post I will be focusing on the Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure option.

Requirements

  • An Azure Subscription
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V – used as VM host
  • Fixed disk .VHD or .VHDX (Generation 1 only VMs)
  • Guest OS Windows Server 2008 or later or Linux: Centos, openSUSE, Ubuntu

More details on requirements and planning are located here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn469074.aspx

Setting Up the Azure Site Recovery Vault:

The first step to configuring DR between an on-premises VMM site and Azure is to create a Site Recovery Vault. To do this, open the Azure Portal and select the Recovery Services tab on the left menu.

ASR001

Next click + NEW  at the bottom of the screen which opens the window required to create a Site Recovery Vault and a Backup Vault. Select Site Recovery Vault, then give the vault a name and select the region where the data should be stored.

A full list of Regions can be found at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/regions/

ASR002

After the job has completed, the new Site Recovery Vault appears as Active.

ASR003

Configuring the Hyper-V and VMM servers:

Now the ASR Vault has been created, the next step is to configure the local Hyper-V and VMM servers. Click on the new ASR Vault to open its Dashboard.

ASR003a

Download the ASR Provider and Registration key. Install the ASR Provider on the VMM server and register against the ASR Vault by using the registration key.

NOTE: If you are running VMM in HA, the first step is to install the ASR provider on the active node, then register the server. Then secondly install the ASR provider on the passive node.

ASR006

Return back to the Dashboard and then select to Add an Azure Storage Account.

ASR010

Give the storage account a name (lowercase case and numbers only). Select the location of the storage account and the chosen level of redundancy.

Option Redundancy Comments
Locally Redundant 3 copies replicated within a single datacentre CheapestProtects against hardware failureDoes not protect against loss of facility or region
Zone-Redundant 3 copies replicated between 2 or 3 datacentres in a single region Protects against hardware failureProtect against loss of facilityDoes not protect against loss of region
Geo-Redundant 6 copies replicated 3 times within the primary region and 3 times in a secondary region Maximum durabilityProtects against hardware, facility and regional lossRecommended as default
Read-Access Geo-Redundant Same as Geo-Redundant, additionally grants Read-Access in the secondary region in the event of primary region loss Maximum durability and availabilityMost expensive

Once the storage account has been successfully created, it will appear under the Storage tab of the Azure Portal.

ASR011

The final step is to download the Azure Recovery Services Agent and install on all hyper-V hosts. When installing the agent, the agent is smart enough to detect if there is a previous version present and attempt to upgrade it.

This is how the Azure Recovery Services Agent looks when its upgrading a previous version.

ASR012

Now the Azure Recovery Services Agent has been installed on all the Hyper-V servers, this seems a natural point to end this first post. In summary, the on-premises Hyper-V and VMM servers have been configured and registered to the created Azure Site Recovery Vault. Everything is now in place to begin configuring the protection of on-premises clouds and resources.

The next part of this post will include:

  • Configuring cloud protection
  • Managing virtual machine protection
  • Changing the hardware sizing of virtual machines
  • Mapping networks
  • Recovery plans
  • Failover options.

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure – Part One

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure – Part Two

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure – Part Three

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