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Disaster Recovery to Azure enhanced, and we’re listening!

Posted on April 28, 2015

Senior Program Manager, Cloud + Enterprise
This year is off to a tremendous start with positive remarks after we announced General Availability of Disaster Recovery to Azure & Protecting Branch offices or Small-to medium-sized business (SMB) to Azure with cloud based disaster recovery there-after announcing the Preview of Disaster Recovery for VMware Virtual Machines and Physical Servers to Azure. Building Microsoft Azure as a DR Site posed some stumbling blocks – like supported operating systems, disk layouts and configurations to name a few. In order for us to deliver a superior experience for leveraging Azure as your Disaster Recovery site, we brought together a broad range of expertise from multiple teams. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see Azure Site Recovery (ASR) has an exciting new beginning.

Support for Protecting Generation 2 Virtual Machine

Protection for Generation 2 virtual machine was one among the top feature request. While Azure is working on adding this support natively, the ASR team delivered a feature that converts Generation 2 to Generation 1 during failover then converts back to Generation 2 when you failback to on-premises.  We’re extremely pleased to announce the removal of limitation on Generation 2 virtual machines based workloads protection into Azure. It has the following functionality:
  • OS disk type to be Basic Disk which includes 1 or 2 Data volumes with disk format as VHDX which is less than 300GB
  • Post failover when running in Azure there will be limitations on generation 2 features like not supporting PXE boot by using standard network adapter, not supporting Secure Boot, not supporting UEFI firmware support which shouldn’t impact the application
  • Failover Recovery Time Objective (RTO) impact of additional 1 hour per 100GB of the OS disk.
  • Windows Guest OS will be supported, Linux support will be added later.
  You need to download and install the latest on-premises components to get the functionality. If you have a disk more than 300GB, we recommend reducing the disk size. We will be rolling out this support broadly in the coming weeks.

Support for more than 127GB Operating System Drive Size in Azure

With Azure VM OS drive limit octupled, you can now protect virtual machines with an OS disk as big as 1TB. Removing a 1TB disk size limit is on the roadmap but in the meantime. For large File Servers, the recommendation is to use StorSimple.

Improved Connectivity - Post Failover to Azure

While extending datacenters into Azure some of the key network topology queries were –Multiple NIC support, Subnet selection, Retaining IP address etc. We are delighted to have ASR add support to address those key concerns you have today.
  1. Support for connecting to multiple network in Azure
With Azure removing the single NIC limit, you can now failover a virtual machine to Azure and be connected using multiple NICs.
  1. Support for configuring post failover subnet & IP address in Azure
You can configure each virtual machine such that post failover virtual machine gets connected to a pre-configured subnet and an IP address.
See the section on “Enable protection for virtual machines” in the Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Deployment Guide for more information.

Failback from Azure to a newly built site

Have the peace of mind that you’re open for business - even if disaster strikes. Post an unforeseen event or a planned outage, on-premises can get rebuilt or replaced with new hardware. We understood that it’s crucial for business to reconcile on-premises infrastructure faster for better productivity. We are enabling our customers to failback to a newly built Hyper-V host post failover.

Improve RTO by Automating Every DR Step Possible

ASR is designed grounds up to ensure that customers can build a total integrated solution using various Azure services. Now you can automate all the frequent, time-consuming, and error-prone complex post or pre failover management tasks using Azure automation Runbook in Recovery Plan. We are constantly working towards contributing to the gallery ensuring that you have DR Runbooks at your fingertips. For example: OpenPort80.ps1 is a sample script which can be leveraged to open port number 80. OpenRemoteDesktopPort.ps1 is a sample script which can used to open RDP endpoint for a virtual machine. OpenLoadBalancedPort80.ps1 is a sample script which can be used to add a load balanced endpoint for a front end web tier application. Thank you for your help in making sure that Azure Site Recovery continues to thrive, we read all feedback carefully. Send us your feedbacks through Azure Site Recovery Feedback Forum. Visit the Azure Site Recovery forum on MSDN for additional information and to engage with other customers. For more information, check out the Azure Site Recovery documentation. Getting started with Azure Site Recovery is easy – all you need is to simply sign up for a free Microsoft Azure trial.