Microsoft Taps Flash-Based Cloud Storage for Business Continuity

Customers can now use Azure Site Recovery to replicate virtual machines and servers to Microsoft's high-performance cloud storage service.

cloud storage

Microsoft is now offering customers a new cloud-based disaster recovery option that uses solid-state drives (SSDs) instead of disk-based storage.

Enterprises using Azure Site Recovery, the company's business continuity offering, can replicate their demanding workloads to the company's Premium Storage tier of cloud storage. Instead of placing data on traditional spinning disks, Azure Premium Storage plans use SSDs packed with flash chips to speed up cloud applications and associated storage operations.

Now, courtesy of a new upgrade, customers can enlist those SSDs to help businesses avert disruptions to their critical applications.

"If you are running I/O [input/output] intensive enterprise workloads on-premises, we recommend that you replicate these workloads to Premium Storage," wrote Poornima Natarajan, a Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise program manager, in a blog post. "At the time of a failover of your on-premises environment to Azure, workloads replicating to Premium storage will come up on Azure virtual machines running on high speed solid state drives (SSDs) and will continue to achieve high-levels of performance, both in terms of throughout and latency."

According to Natarajan, Premium Storage provides applications with performance ratings of up to 80,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) and 2 gigabytes per second disk throughput.

Setting up Azure Site Recovery with Premium Storage still requires the use of a standard cloud storage account for replication logs, she noted. This helps customers control costs compared with an all-SSD implementation. For example, Premium Storage plans start at $19.71 per month for a 128-gigabyte disk. Standard Azure storage plans start at 5 cents per gigabyte, or $6.40 a month for comparable capacity.

Currently, replicating to Premium Storage supports VMware virtual machines and servers. Support for Microsoft's own Hyper-V virtualization is coming soon, said Natarajan. In scenarios involving a failover of workloads to Azure, the affected applications can only be brought back on the company's DS or GS series virtual machines, which support Premium Storage.

Customers can now also opt to replicate workloads to Locally Redundant Storage accounts, said Natarajan. While Microsoft still recommends that businesses use the Geo-Redundant Storage that copies backup data to another Azure data center region, Locally Redundant Storage is available as an option for organizations whose data governance policies restrict the movement of data across regions.

Also this week, Microsoft announced the general availability of Recovery Services Vault, a service that consolidates Operations Management Suite Backup and Site Recovery management. Operations Management Suite is a Microsoft System Center add-on that provides hybrid cloud monitoring and management capabilities.

"This not only gives you consistency as you work with either solution, but also paves the way for tighter integration of backup and disaster recovery capabilities," stated the company's Server and Cloud Platform group in a May 23 announcement. "For backup scenarios, the Recovery Services Vault brings Azure IaaS VM [infrastructure-as-a-service virtual machine] protection as well as hybrid data protection under a single management entity."

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...