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Microsoft Readies Cross Region DR Service for Azure VMs

Microsoft is building on its Azure Site Recovery (ASR) service with a new disaster r ecovery option intended to ensure customers can restore Azure virtual machines running in its public cloud IaaS offering. The new service, released today as a technical preview, will let customers replicate IaaS-based applications in Azure to any different region of a customer's choice without having to deploy additional software or appliances to existing ASR subscriptions.

While Microsoft emphasizes Azure's high availability, compliance requirements stipulate the need to have a disaster recovery solution that can provide business continuity. To ensure data is adequately protected requires implementing a simplified approach to replication data to an alternate region, according to Microsoft Principal Program Manager Rochak Mittal.

"This new capability, along with Azure Backup for IaaS virtual machines, allows you to create a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategy for all your IaaS based applications running on Azure," Mittal noted in today's announcement.

Microsoft is adding new features to its disaster recovery service on the heels of forging tighter ties with key suppliers of data protection software. Among them is Commvault, which claims it was the first to offer a Windows-based data protection offering 17 years ago, and has built its own DR as a service based on Microsoft Azure.

Randy De Meno, chief technologist for Commvault's partnership, says he's not concerned about Microsoft's ASR, noting his company offers a broad set of archiving, Office 365 protection, e-discovery and migration capabilities that go beyond core data replication. "We are going to drive more Azure consumption and give customers an enterprise-wide solution," he said during a meeting yesterday at the company's Tinton Falls, N.J . offices.

Key Microsoft execs have given a nod to some of these key partnerships. In a promotional video released today, Microsoft Corporate VP Steve Guggenheimer said: "We're partnering together to help those customers move to the cloud, in a way that helps take advantage [of what] Microsoft has built in Azure."

Earlier this month, a number of key Microsoft executives gave talks at Veaam's annual gathering of customers and partners in New Orleans. In addition to a keynote by Microsoft's Azure CTO Mark Russinovich, and Principal Program Manager Jeff Woolsey  gave a talk at the VeeamON conference. "Azure Site Recovery is just replicating virtual machines out to Azure," said Clint Wycoff, a technical marketing evangelist at Veeam, during an interview at VeeamON. "It is it's somewhat complex to set up and a lot of customers and partners have had challenges around its complexity and consistency."

Scott Woodgate, director of Microsoft Azure Management and Security,  begged to differ. "This is the simplest disaster recovery or business continuity configuration ever, in particular because it's all within Azure, there's no need to worry about configuring the interface to your organization's firewalls," Woodgate said during a brief interview. "It's virtually a simple wizard. it's virtually a simple wizard. "Many of the other vendors are offering applications running in virtual machines, where I as the end user still needs to manage and patch and update and secure that application. Azure Site Recovery is actually a SaaS service, so Microsoft does all that work for you, which reduces the overall cost of ownership versus the VM based solutions.

The new DR features added to Microsoft's Azure Site Recovery offer redundancy without requiring additional infrastructure on-premises, allowing administrators to choose cross-region DR by selecting the VMs and selecting a target location, according to Mittal. By offering the DR function as-a-service offering, customers can avoid the need to deploy, monitor, patch and maintain on-premises DR infrastructure, he added.

Administrators can enable cross-region DR by selecting a VM, choosing the Azure region and creating replication settings. Customers can choose how to orchestrate failovers and determine the required recovery-time and point objectives. The cross-region preview is available in all regions that Microsoft offers ASR.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/31/2017 at 7:56 AM


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