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Business continuity/disaster recovery


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This course covers the knowledge domain for designing a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy in Azure in preparation for the 70-534 certification exam. The course will cover managing resources with systems center, on-premises monitoring, cloud-based virtual machines and applications, patching strategies, business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as a discussion of automation tools.


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 disc 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 a 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 onprem 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, VM ware, and physical servers to either Azure or a backup data center. ASR gives us more flexibility then when we work with Hyper-V Replica because we aren't limited to just Hyper-V and we have the ability execute run books and powershell scripts as part of the disaster recovery 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 a part of a disaster recovery 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 wanna backup, configure the agent, and that's just about it. It's a very simple backup solution for files and folders, SQL server, exchange, share point, among others.

Now before we wrap up this lesson I wanna cover StorSimple. Now this is an on-prem hardware device that's going to apply some machine learning to determine which data you use the most and its 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.

All right, 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 paths15

Ben Lambert is a software engineer 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 software, he’s hiking, camping, or creating video games.