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  5. 70-534 - Design a Management, Monitoring, and Business Continuity Strategy

Business continuity and disaster recovery

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Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions (retired)
course-steps 7 certification 1 quiz-steps 7
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This course covers the Design a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy part of the 70-534 exam, which is worth 20–25% of the exam. The intent of the course is to help fill in an knowledge gaps that you might have, and help to prepare you for the exam. 


Welcome back. In this lesson, we'll be talking about business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities of Azure.

Now, disaster recovery is a common way for companies evaluating cloud technologies to get started using cloud platforms, the reason being, cloud providers make it easy to store and retrieve massive amounts of data.

We all dread the idea of actually having to implement our disaster recovery plans, which is why I always recommend practicing the plan regularly to continuously refine it.

However, we're not gonna be talking about disaster recovery at that level today. We're gonna be covering some of the different technologies that are available to help us once we have our DR plan.

So, let's start with on-prem. We're gonna talk about Hyper-V Replica, which provides asynchronous replication of Hyper-V-based VMs between two servers. Now, the word asynchronous means that, in some cases, for unplanned failovers, that we could see some data loss.

In my experience, that usually isn't too big of a problem because any important shared data should be stored off disk, in a central location. Now, this is a cool technology because we get a reasonably up-to-date copy of our VMs for unplanned failovers and an up-to-date copy for planned failovers.

And that means, in the case of a failover, we can have a replica remain up and running. Now, I've talked about failovers a few times.
However, it's worth noting that there isn't any automatic failover, only manual.

We can perform a planned failover, and in that case, we can even reverse the replication so that changes to the new, active server are sent back to the new, passive server. Planned failover is useful for things such as updates, where we need to have a server running and responding to requests.

However, we still need to patch it. Hyper-V Replica is a great tool for on-prem, BCDR requirements, that's Business Continuity Disaster Recovery. However, if you're looking for something a bit more robust, Azure Site Recovery is probably the thing you're looking for.

Azure Site Recovery, or ASR, is basically disaster recovery as a service. It gives us the ability to replicate Hyper-V, VMware, and physical servers to either Azure or a backup data center.

ASR gives us more flexibility than when we work with Hyper-V Replica because we aren't limited to just Hyper-V. And we have the ability to execute runbooks and PowerShell scripts as part of the disaster recover plan, which is really cool. So, if you're running on-prem servers, I'm not sure there's a better tool for managing their backups as part of a disaster recover plan.

Okay, we've talked about Hyper-V Replica, and we've talked about ASR, which are going to allow you to backup virtual machines. However, Azure also offers Azure Backup, which gives us the ability to basically make tape drives obsolete.

Azure Backup is an easy-to-setup and easy-to-use backup solution in Azure. We install the agent on the server we want to backup, configure the agent, and that's just about it. It's a very simple backup solution for files and folders, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, among others.

Now, before we wrap up this lesson, I want to cover StorSimple. This is an on-prem hardware device that's going to apply some machine learning to determine which data you use the most, and it's gonna keep that data locally. And everything else gets sent up to the cloud.

Once in the cloud, if you need to access that data, then it's just gonna download it, and then it's gonna keep it for some period of time. So, this is a pretty cool hardware device that allows us to offload some of our storage into the cloud.

Alright, disaster recovery is crucial to businesses, and Microsoft recognizes that. They offer disaster recovery tools for backing up everything from an individual file to an entire VM.

In our next lesson, we're gonna talk about Azure Automation and PowerShell. So, let's get started.

About the Author

Learning paths18

Ben Lambert is the Director of Engineering and was previously the lead author for DevOps and Microsoft Azure training content at Cloud Academy. His courses and learning paths covered Cloud Ecosystem technologies such as DC/OS, configuration management tools, and containers. As a software engineer, Ben’s experience includes building highly available web and mobile apps.

When he’s not building the first platform to run and measure enterprise transformation initiatives at Cloud Academy, he’s hiking, camping, or creating video games.