Microsoft Previews All-Cloud Azure Disaster Recovery Service

No backup data center? No problem. Microsoft Azure Site Recovery keeps applications and services running on the cloud if disaster strikes.


Microsoft is setting out to erase any lingering doubts about cloud-based disaster recovery with a preview of Azure Site Recovery (ASR) to Azure.

Abhishek Hemrajani, a Microsoft program manager, took to the company's official blog to announce new capabilities that enable disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud. Enterprise and small and midsized businesses (SMBs) "can now protect, replicate, and failover Virtual Machines directly to Microsoft Azure." In short, a cloud-based DR site that can span multiple geographies.

ASR, formerly Hyper-V Recovery Manager, provides a guaranteed safety net, whether customers "enable Disaster Recovery across On-Premise Enterprise Private Clouds or directly to Azure," said Hemrajani. He added that "virtualized workloads will be recovered accurately, consistently, and with minimal downtime."

Businesses no longer need to view cloud-based DR with suspicion, according to Microsoft's Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Windows Server and System Center. "If you're an enterprise that has viewed previous cloud-based DR solutions with skepticism—brace yourselves for the details of this announcement," he said in a statement.

ASR is the latest in a long list of new, business-flavored cloud announcements from Microsoft. Last month, the company announced new SQL Database for Azure service tiers. And in April, Microsoft kicked off a limited preview of Azure Intelligent Systems Service (ISS), a service targeting the Internet of things.

Building on Hyper-V Recovery Manager, an automated data protection service that enables asynchronous replication and recovery, ASR is not only meant to keep applications up and running, but to also considerably lessen the IT overhead and expense associated with running a DR facility.

By protecting, replicating and performing a failover of virtual machines directly to Microsoft Azure, the service increases the resilience of customers' business-critical apps, said Anderson. "Using ASR also removes the need to invest in an on-prem standby datacenter.

"This new capability preview in ASR is a big step towards our promise of No Workload Left Behind," he added.

Self-service features support nondisruptive DR drills, including planned and unplanned failovers, and failbacks. ASR also offers one-click orchestration, said Anderson, enabling the creation of "customizable Recovery Plans to ensure one-click failovers and failbacks that are always accurate, consistent, and help you achieve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals."

Other features include Variable Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which provides near-synchronous data replication with support for "RPOs as low as 30 seconds." ASR safeguards recovery data with customer-managed encryption keys. "This encryption key is known only to the customer and it is needed for the failover of VM's to Azure," stated Anderson. Audit and compliance reporting rounds out ASR's toolset.

The benefits extend beyond DR, asserted Anderson. Added perks include the ability to "quickly and easily migrate on-premise Virtual Machines to Azure or spin-off additional development and testing environments."

The Azure Site Recovery to Azure Preview is available now. Prices start at $27 per month per virtual machine, which includes 100GB of replication and storage.

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 network of...