Microsoft Improves Azure Cloud Disaster Recovery Visibility

Microsoft adds new monitoring capabilities to Azure Site Recovery, allowing users to gauge how well their configurations can handle IT mishaps.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery now gives users more visibility into the service and how it can help businesses bounce back if trouble befalls their servers, courtesy of the general availability release of a new monitoring and troubleshooting user experience for the cloud-based disaster recovery service.

The product now includes a new vault overview page, offering users clarity on how well their configurations will stand up to a mishap, along with expert guidance if they fall short. Bharath Sivaraman, senior program manager of Azure Site Recovery at Microsoft, stated that the new dashboard delivers "everything you need to know to understand if your business continuity objectives are being met," in a blog post.

"In addition to the information needed to understand the current health of your business continuity plan, the dashboard features recommendations based on best practices, and in-built tooling for troubleshooting issues that you may be facing," continued the Microsoft executive.

The tool also provides real-time replication health monitoring along with a failover readiness model that helps users determine the status of their disaster preparedness. Plus, it promises a simplified troubleshooting experience, added Sivaraman, along with advanced anomaly-detection capabilities that can sniff out errors and help users solve them.

On the virtual server front, Microsoft has updated its Azure Site Recovery service for VMware to Azure replication with a new Open Virtualization Format template. The template reduces the time it takes to make a virtual machine replication-ready to under half an hour. Also new is a new web portal for the configuration server and the elimination of an open firewall rules requirement for Windows virtual machines, involving the operating system's Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and File and Printer Sharing components.

In another move that can help businesses quickly recover from unexpected issues, Microsoft announced the availability of a public preview of its new Azure Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) service option in Virginia, Iowa and Paris, France. The service stores data replicas in three different Availability Zones, or data center facilities within a single Azure region, each with independent power, cooling and networking systems.

Once it is generally available, Microsoft plans to rename the existing Zone Redundant Storage service, which can span one or two regions, to ZRS Classic, announced Dinesh Murthy, principal program manager of Azure Storage at Microsoft. The company also rolled out a preview of Zone Redundant Virtual Machine Scale Sets, which automatically distributes virtual machines across Availability Zones for added workload reliability.

Finally, some customers that have signed up for the Azure support program can expect to see bills get smaller.

The Azure Standard support tier now costs a fixed $100 per month, announced Microsoft on Jan. 25. This represents a savings of $200 for eligible customers who purchased their support plan directly from Azure.com, with the exception of customers in Germany. Customers will also see initial response times for critical, or "severity A," cases drop from two hours to one, according to the company.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...