For almost a year ago, Microsoft announced the preview of a cloud service that has turned out to be the leading star when it comes to Hybrid Cloud scenarios, out of the box from Microsoft.
Microsoft Azure Site Recovery let customers extend their datacenter solutions to the cloud to ensure business continuity and availability on-demand.
The solution itself is state of the art and covers many different scenarios – and can rather be seen as their “umbrella” when it comes to availability and recovery in the cloud, as it has several different offerings in different flavors under its wings.
Besides supporting DR protection of VMware and Physical computers (newly announced), Azure Site Recovery is considered as mandatory for organizations that need DR for their Hyper-V environments, regardless whether the cloud or a secondary location on-prem is the actual DR target.
Just recently, Microsoft announced support for protecting Generation 2 Virtual Machines to Azure.
This is fantastic good news and shows that the journey towards cloud consistency is established for sure.
Let me add some context before we look into the details.
I’ve been working with the brilliant Azure Site Recovery Product Group at Microsoft for a long time now, and I have to admit that these guys are outstanding. Not only do they ship extremely good quality of code, but they also listen to feedback. And when I say listen, they actually engage with you and really tries to understand your concern. In the end of the day, we are all on the same team, working towards the best experience and solution possible.
During TechEd in Barcelona, I was co-presenting “Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Leveraging Azure as your Disaster Recovery Site” (http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2014/CDP-B314 ) together with Manoj, and this is when our real discussion started.
Using Azure as the secondary site for DR scenarios makes perfect sense and many customers would like to take benefit from this as soon as possible. However, we often saw that these customers had deployed their virtual machines as Generation 2 VMs – which wasn’t suited for the Azure platform. This was a blocker and the amount of Gen2 VMs were increasing every day.
Earlier in January this year, I made a community survey around the topic and the result was very clear:
Yes – people would love to use Azure as their secondary site, if there was support of Generation 2 VMs in the Cloud.
I am glad to say that the Product Group listened and now we can start to protect workloads on Gen2 VMs too.
But, how does this work?
When you enable a VM for protection, the data is sent to an endpoint in Azure, and nothing special has happened so far.
However, the ASR service will perform a conversion in the service at the time of failover to Gen1.
Let me explain further.
In case of a disaster where you need to perform a failover to Azure, the VM(s) is converted and started as Gen1, running in Azure.
The ASR backend services used during failover has the conversion logic. At failover time, backend service reads Gen2 OS disk and convert the disk to Gen1 OS disk (hence the requirements of the OS disk in Azure).
If you need/want/have to failback to your on-prem Hyper-V environment, the VM will of course be converted back to Gen2.
For more details – check out the official blog post by one of the PM’s, Anoob Backer