• 4 min read

Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Site Recovery make migrating applications to Azure even more cost-effective

Benefit through lower licensing costs with Azure Hybrid Use Benefit while easily migrating your applications using Azure Site Recovery.

Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB) lets Microsoft Software Assurance customers carry their on-premises Windows Server licenses to applications they move to Azure and easily extend their datacenter to the cloud. The AHB program, in addition to dramatic cost savings and asset productivity achieved by moving your applications to the industry’s leading hybrid enterprise public cloud,  allows you to realize significant savings on licensing costs.

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is the tool of choice for our customers to migrate applications to Azure. ASR provides minimum downtime, hassle free migration to Azure across virtualization platforms and physical servers. By letting you test your applications in Azure before you migrate, and offering one click application migration through recovery plans, ASR simplifies the process of migrating to Azure. ASR supports migration of a wide range of operating systems including Windows Server and various Linux distributions, no matter what platform your applications are running on. What’s more – migration using ASR is free!  Yes, you read that right the first time, migration using ASR is free.  For the first 31 days from the time you start replicating your server, you only pay for the storage you consume on Azure and for the compute you use to test migration.

Azure Site Recovery, now lets you leverage your Hybrid Use Benefit while migrating your Windows servers to Azure. In this blog post, I’ll show you how you can use ASR and AHB to migrate your Windows Server environments to Azure.

Getting setup with Azure Site Recovery

The first thing you want to do is to get setup with Azure Site Recovery and start replicating your applications to Azure. All of this can be done in a few simple steps, as outlined in the following articles

If you are virtualized on Hyper-V, follow this article to get your servers replicating to Azure.

If you are virtualized on VMware or running on Physical servers, follow this article to get started with replication.

AHB is only available on servers migrated to Azure Resource Model (ARM) virtual machines. Ensure that the storage account you select for replication is an ARM Storage account and not a Classic Storage Account.

Once initial replication completes, your servers reach the protected state in ASR, at which point you are ready to test and migrate your applications to Azure.

Migrate applications using ASR and Hybrid Use Benefit

Use the Compute and Network configuration on the replicated item settings blade on the Azure portal to select the Azure virtual network and virtual machine size to migrate to.

Configure migration to use AHB

Once your servers are protected and you’ve validated your application in Azure by performing a test failover, all that’s left to do before you complete the migration is to configure ASR to use AHB while migrating your server. You can set this up in a few simple steps using Azure PowerShell. Get the latest version of Azure PowerShell from here. Ensure that you have the latest version of the AzureRM.SiteRecovery module (version 3.1.0 or later.)

PS C:Usersbsiva> Get-Module -ListAvailable AzureRm.SiteRecovery

    Directory: C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsAzurePowerShellResourceManagerAzureResourceManager

ModuleType Version    Name                                ExportedCommands
---------- -------    ----                                ----------------
Manifest   3.1.0      AzureRM.SiteRecovery                {Get-AzureRmSiteRecoveryFabric, New-AzureRmSiteRecoveryFabric, Remove-AzureRmSiteRecoveryFabric, Stop-AzureRmSiteRecoveryJob...}


Login to your Azure account and select your Azure subscription:

PS C:Usersbsiva> Login-AzureRmAccount

Environment           : AzureCloud
Account               : bsiva@microsoft.com
TenantId              : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
SubscriptionId        : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
SubscriptionName      : ASR PM team subscription 5
CurrentStorageAccount : 

PS C:Usersbsiva> 
PS C:Usersbsiva> 
PS C:Usersbsiva> Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionName "DR Hybrid Application Scenarios"

Environment           : AzureCloud
Account               : bsiva@microsoft.com
TenantId              : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
SubscriptionId        : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
SubscriptionName      : DR Hybrid Application Scenarios
CurrentStorageAccount : 


Set the Recovery Services vault context:

PS C:Usersbsiva> $vault = Get-AzureRmRecoveryServicesVault -Name "Contoso-RecoveryVault"
PS C:Usersbsiva> Set-AzureRmSiteRecoveryVaultSettings -ARSVault $vault

ResourceName          ResourceGroupName ResourceNamespace          ResouceType
------------          ----------------- -----------------          -----------
Contoso-RecoveryVault Contoso-Recovery  Microsoft.RecoveryServices vaults

PS C:Usersbsiva>


Get the list of replicating machines in the vault:

PS C:Usersbsiva> $ReplicatedItems = Get-AzureRmSiteRecoveryFabric | Get-AzureRmSiteRecoveryProtectionContainer | Get-AzureRmSiteRecoveryReplicationProtectedItem
PS C:Usersbsiva> $ReplicatedItems | Select-Object -Property FriendlyName




Set the AHB License Type for the machines that are being migrated:

PS C:Usersbsiva> $Job1 = Set-AzureRmSiteRecoveryReplicationProtectedItem -ReplicationProtectedItem $ReplicatedItems[0] -LicenseType WindowsServer


Validate that the ASR Job completed successfully:

PS C:Usersbsiva> Get-AzureRmSiteRecoveryJob -Job $Job1

Name             : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
ID               : /Subscriptions/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx/resourceGroups/Contoso-Recovery/providers/Microsoft.RecoveryServices/vaults/Contoso-RecoveryVault/repl
Type             :
JobType          : UpdateVmProperties
DisplayName      : Update the virtual machine
ClientRequestId  : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx-2016-10-19 18:50:18Z-P ActivityId: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
State            : Succeeded
StateDescription : Completed
StartTime        : 10/20/2016 12:20:18 AM
EndTime          : 10/20/2016 12:20:22 AM
TargetObjectId   : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
TargetObjectType : ProtectionEntity
TargetObjectName : Contoso-EngWikiDB
AllowedActions   :
Tasks            : {Update the virtual machine properties}
Errors           : {}


And that’s it! You are now all set to migrate your application to Azure.

Migrate to Azure

With ASR now setup to let you migrate to Azure and benefit from AHB, all that’s left to do is the final step of migrating your application to Azure. You can do this from the Portal or using ASR PowerShell cmdlets. To do this from the portal, go to your Recovery Services vault, select the replicated machine or recovery plan if you’ve set one up, and select the Failover action.

ASR: Failover Protected Servers


Once the failover job completes successfully, you’ll find your migrated VM among the virtual machines in your subscription. Verify that your VM is utilizing the licensing benefit.

At this point you can clean up the replications you had setup in your Recovery services vault by selecting Complete Migration and retire the on-premises infrastructure that you were previously using to host your application.


Migrating to the cloud was never easier. With a few simple steps you can easily migrate your existing applications and benefit from the superior cloud economics and power of the hyper-scale platform that Azure is.

This is awesome, where do I learn more about leveraging ASR to provide business continuity for my IT infrastructure, or to migrate my applications to Azure?

You can  check out additional product information, and start replicating your workloads to Microsoft Azure using Azure Site Recovery today. You can use the powerful replication capabilities of Site Recovery for 31 days at no charge for every new physical server or virtual machine that you replicate. Visit the Azure Site Recovery forum on MSDN for additional information and to engage with other customers, or use the ASR UserVoice to let us know what features you want us to enable next.