For virtual machines and servers hosted on Azure, Azure Site Recovery is a native disaster recovery and data protection solution. It allows for the protection and recovery of data from physical servers as well as virtual machines on VMware and Hyper-V. Data is secured both in transit and at rest when it is stored on Azure Site Recovery, which offers an automated and encrypted disaster recovery solution.
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Azure Site Recovery is a DRaaS provided by Azure that can be used for both public cloud and private hybrid cloud architectures. It includes application-consistent snapshots to ensure the safety of your data in the event of a disaster.
ASR provides a nearly continuous data replication to ensure that all of your data is in sync. Businesses can effortlessly back up and recover critical data in the cloud using ASR, giving them peace of mind and also contributing to cost savings.
Azure Site Recovery Benefits
A few benefits of Azure Site Recovery are listed below:
Implementing a Disaster Recovery (DR) solution can sometimes be a headache, as it can be pretty expensive or might need complete manual management. But, when it comes to using Azure Site Recovery, it is a cloud-based solution that greatly simplifies the whole process.
Also, the cost requirements when maintaining on-premises hardware are relatively low, and also the time required to build a DR site, the complete process is a matter of a few hours rather than days.
According to Microsoft, Azure Site Recovery offers a best-in-class Recovery Time Objective (RTO) which can keep your general operations up and running between a few seconds to minutes. Complex applications’ recovery time may go up to 30 minutes.
You can use ASR to install replication, failure, and recovery processes to keep your applications operating in the case of a failure and to reduce recovery concerns by sorting the order of multi-tier apps running on many VMs.
ASR also gives recovery options for both virtual and on-premises workloads.
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According to a survey, it was found that an average hourly downtime can cause damage of $10K to $5 million to an IT firm. Organizations can use ASR to design a more manageable and affordable failover mechanism.
When a company moves its infrastructure to Azure Cloud, it can save lots of money and labor for maintaining DR infrastructure as everything will be handled by ASR.
ASR also saves you from building and maintaining a secondary data center, and you will only have to pay for what you use.
ASR provides excellent accessibility features, i.e, you can replicate, recover, and also conduct failover testing straight from the Azure portal.
This enables a simple means of testing software and services during a DR drill without affecting end users’ or production workloads.
A sequenced workflow runs automatically during any disaster, reducing the DR process’s complexities.
Azure Site Recovery ensures that your data is always accessible, recoverable, and safe during any security threat.
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By supporting Site Recovery between different Azure regions, ASR enables you to quickly comply with industry norms such as ISO and 27001.
You can meet compliance standards by assuring that all metadata required to allow and manage replication and failover is kept within the geographical boundaries of that region.
If your data needs an extra layer of security for compliance reasons, ASR supports encryption-in-transit and encryption-at-rest.
Azure Site Recovery step by step
Let’s discuss the various steps involved while replicating data using ASR. Before migrating any project we need to prepare an agile strategy.
To analyze your source environment for environments like VMware and Hyper-V you can take the help of the ASR deployment planner. You can also plan for capacity and scaling in the target Azure environment.
Another aspect of ASR to keep in mind is Network planning. While there is always an option of retaining the existing IP address, it might require the failover of the entire subnet in addition to the machine. It is suggested to use a new network range from Azure ensuring that it works for the app architecture after the failover.
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Preparation and Configuration
We may now begin preparing the replication environment. The first step is preparing the source.
ASR offers support for a variety of source environments, including physical servers, VMware (with/without vCenter), Hyper-V VMs (with/without SCVMM), and Azure VMs. Depending on the needs of third-party cloud providers such as AWS, ASR can also be used for the DR of their machines.
The next step involves the preparation of the target environment in Azure, firstly creating a Recovery Services vault. It will contain all the replication settings and will also manage the replication. Now you have to create network and storage accounts for replicating on-premises machines.
After you have prepared the target and source, you can frame a replication plan that aligns with your RPO and RTO objectives. Choose the virtual machine that needs to be replicated and then select the replication policy defined previously by you.
Now finally you can enable the initial replica, and after it is completed. ASR will replicate the data in incremental changed data as per your replication policy.
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Failover and Failback
Once you’re done with the replication, now it’s time for validating the setup and determining the changes that you have to make while executing a failover.
Failovers can be further categorized into 3 types namely:
- Test failover
- Planned failover
- Unplanned failover
A test failover can not hinder production, whereas a planned or unplanned failover is involved in shifting the production site to the azure replication site. A test failover can be performed manually or via a recovery plan for every VM through the Azure Console.
Manage, Monitor, and Troubleshoot
In order to make sure that your RPO stays aligned, you are advised to keep track of your replication settings i.e, keep them monitored. For this purpose, you can even tweak them or may even include scaled-out process servers.
ASR also comes with a prebuilt Event Log Source for troubleshooting replication issues.
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Azure Site Recovery Pricing
With ASR you pay for the number of instances you protect. It is free for the first 31 days and posts that you will be charged:
| ||Price for the First 31 days||Price post 31 days|
|Azure Site Recovery for the customer-owned sites||Free||$16/month for each instance|
|Azure Site Recovery to Azure||Free||$25/month per instance|
Azure Site Recovery is priced in terms of the average daily number of instances protected over the course of a month. For example, if you routinely protected 20 instances in the first half of the month and none in the second half, your average daily number of protected instances for a month would be 10.
Azure Site Recovery is a very effective solution for small and medium-sized businesses when it comes to migrating on-premise to Azure. It is very easy to use and test and supports various VMs and 3rd party cloud services like AWS. Also, you only need to pay for the resources that you use.
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