The first shoe to drop during the current COVID 19 crisis was remote work. Services like Zoom and Teams saw exponential increases in daily active users overnight. The next shoe, dropping now, is increased urgency in augmenting on-premise applications. This has meant backing up files to the cloud as well as implementing cloud-based disaster recovery. Let’s talk about why you might want to build resilience with Azure Site Recovery, Microsoft’s DR-as-a-service.
Azure Site Recovery creates an on-demand replica of your onsite server instance. This is different from file backup and restore. The applications on the servers are also replicated. Should you have a problem with your onsite server (such as a localized power outage) you can fail over to your server instance in Azure. And this way, you can build resilience with Azure Site Recovery and enhance the availability of your onsite server applications.
Setting up Azure Site Recovery is more involved than pointing and clicking at a few items. You have to
- Set up a VPN between your site and Azure
- Create a recovery services target. This is the virtual machine that will be spun up to run the applications currently running on your onsite server.
- Create a replica appliance. This is the virtual machine that will periodically connect to your onsite server and take a “snapshot” of the applications and data.
- Create a Domain Controller that can connect into your current Active Directory system. This will manage identity and access management.
- Set the replication frequency. How often do you want the environment to be replicated?
- Test the failover. Don’t conduct your first test in the middle of an emergency!
The Price of Resilience
You want to build resilience with Azure Site Recovery. But you don’t want a pay an arm and a leg for it. The Azure Site Recovery pricing should please you in that case. The service is free for the first 30 days. After that, you pay $16 per month for each instance that you’re replicating (onsite to Azure). This seems like a small price to pay in order to build resilience.
Build Resilience with Azure Site Recovery Now. Expand Resilience by Moving Your Workloads to the Cloud Later.
Baby steps are OK here. I’m guessing that a lot of IT managers have focused their cloud planning around how to move their onsite applications into the cloud vs. creating a failover. This is certainly a sound strategy. However, the current COVID 19 crisis has shown us that we need some contingency planning as well. It’s unlikely that many of us anticipated not being able to physically access our servers due to shelter-in-place orders. And yet, that’s where we are. So by all means, continue to plan for the eventual move of your workloads to the cloud. But in the short term, ask yourself if it would help to build resilience with Azure Site Recovery and enhance the availability of your current application environment.