Cross Region Restore (CRR) for Azure Virtual Machines using Azure Backup

Posted on 30 April, 2020

Program Manager II, Azure Backup

Today we're introducing the preview of Cross Region Restore (CRR) for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) support using Microsoft Azure Backup.

Azure Backup uses Recovery Services vault to hold customers' backup data which offers both local and geographic redundancy. To ensure high availability of backed up data, Azure Backup defaults storage settings to geo-redundancy. By virtue, backed up data in the primary region is geo-replicated to an Azure-paired secondary region. If Azure declares a disaster in the primary region, the data replicated in the secondary region is available to restore in the secondary region only. With the introduction of this new feature, the customer can initiate restores in a secondary region at will to mitigate real downtime disaster in the primary region for their environment. This makes the secondary region restores completely customer-controlled. Azure Backup utilizes the backed-up data replicated to the secondary region for such restores.

For the following scenarios, customers can leverage the secondary region data mentioned above using this feature:

  1. Full outage: Previously, if there was an Azure primary region disaster for the customer, the customer had to wait for Azure to declare disaster to access their secondary region data. With the cross region restore feature, there is no wait time for the customer to recover data in the secondary region. The customer can initiate restores in the secondary region even before Azure declares an outage.
  2. Partial outage: Downtime can occur in specific storage clusters where Azure Backup stores a customer’s backed up data or even in-network, connecting Azure Backup and storage clusters associated with a customer’s backed up data. Customers previously could not perform restores to primary or secondary regions. With Cross Region Restore, customers can perform a restore in the secondary region using a replica of backed up data in the secondary region.
  3. No outage: Previously there was no provision for customers to conduct business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) drills for audit or compliance purposes with the secondary region data. This new capability enables customers to perform a restore of backed up data in the secondary region even if there is not a full or partial outage in the primary region for business continuity and disaster recovery drills.

Azure Backup leverages storage accounts’ read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS) capability to support restores from a secondary region. Note that due to delays in storage replication from primary to secondary, there will be latency in the backed up data being available for a restore in the secondary region.

“The graphic shows that cross region restore has dramatically improved the ability to flexibly restore from secondary regions. Customers now have control on what, where and when they restore their resources, no matter the outage scenario.

Key features available with the preview include:

  • Self-service recoveries of secondary backed up data in a secondary region
  • Enables the ability to conduct disaster recovery (DR) drills for audit and compliance anytime
  • High availability of backup data during partial or full outages of an Azure region

With this preview, Azure Backup will support restoring Azure Virtual Machines as well as disks from a secondary region.

How to onboard to this feature

Cross Region Restore can be enabled on Recovery Services vault by turning on the Cross Region Restore setting for Recovery Services vault with the geo-redundant storage redundancy setting. Note that this feature does not support the restore of classic virtual machines as well as vaults with locally redundant storage (LRS) redundancy settings. Only Recovery Service vault enabled with geo-redundant storage settings will have the option to onboard to this feature. Cross Region Restore is now available in all Azure public regions. The regions where this feature is supported are updated in this Cross Region Restore documentation.

The road ahead

Azure Backup will extend its support to all other workloads apart from Azure Virtual Machines in the coming months. Learn more about Cross Region Restore and sign up for the preview.

Pricing

Currently pricing for enabling Cross Region Restore on Recovery Services vault will remain the same as pricing for geo-redundant storage based Recovery Services vault. Please refer to Azure Backup pricing to learn more about the details of Cross Region Restore pricing. For further queries related to pricing, please contact AskAzureBackupTeam.

Get started with Cross Region Restore