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Microsoft enables replication of Azure VMs to other regions with new disaster recovery feature

Microsoft has announced a new feature called Azure Site Recovery (ASR) to its Azure Availability Zones. It will allow customers to replicate zone-pinned virtual machines to other regions within a geographic cluster.

The tech giant had introduced Azure AZs last year to provide unique fault-tolerated physical locations within an Azure region with an independent power, network and cooling. An AZ consists of a number of datacenters and houses infrastructure to support highly available and mission critical applications.

Customers can choose to deploy multiple virtual machines across multiple zones within a region for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) applications. These VMs are then physically separated across zones,and a virtual network is created using load balancers at each site.

“On rare occasions, an entire region could become unavailable due to major incidens such as natural disasters. Non-transient, large scale failures may exceed the ability of high availability (HA) features and require full-fledged disaster recovery (DR),” wrote Sujay Talasila, Senior Program Manager,Cloud + Enterprise, in a blog post.

Azure Site Recovery is aimed to complete the resiliency continuum for applications running on Azure VMs. It is a built-in disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) in Azure that will help enterprises to keep doing their business even in the cases of major IT outages.

By deploying replication, failover, and recovery processing using Azure Site Recovery, enterprises can keep their applications running during planned and unplanned outages.

ASR is a native DRaaS, and Gartner has recognized Microsoft a leader in 2018 Magic Quadrant for DRaaS on the basis of completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Also read: Azure Machine Learning service now generally available

Azure Site Recovery is now generally available in all regions that support Availability Zones.

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Cloud Cloud News

Microsoft adds new monitoring and troubleshooting services to Azure Site Recovery 

Microsoft has announced a new monitoring service within its Azure Site Recovery, which will enable enterprises to have a deeper visibility into their business continuity plans.

The new comprehensive monitoring capabilities are aimed to integrate disaster recovery (DR) with Azure so that the businesses can have a DR plan ready for all their IT applications.

Azure Site Recovery helps customers to protect their mission critical IT systems, maintain compliance, and be confident about protection of business data during any disaster. However, running a business continuity plan is a little complex, and the only way to check whether the plan is working or not is by performing periodic tests.

But these periodic tests need to be performed on a regular basis because of variables like configuration drift and resource availability. The comprehensive monitoring addresses this issue, and allows deep visibility into business continuity objectives through a vault overview page.  

The vault overview page includes a dashboard which allows in-depth visibility into specific components to detect error symptoms, and provides a guide for remediation. It offers a simplified troubleshooting experience, letting users know the current health of business continuity plan, as well as the current preparation status to react to any disaster, by assessing a broad range of replication parameters.

Users can switch between the dashboard pages for Site Recovery and Backup using the toggle switch on overview page. The readiness model in the dashboard helps in monitoring the resource availability and suggest configurations on the basis of best practices.

Microsoft has also updated Azure Site Recovery service for VMware to Azure replication, with a new OVF (Open Virtualization Template). The OVF simplifies the getting-started experience, and enables the replication of virtual machines in less than half an hour. The configuration server now consists of a new web portal which acts as a single point for all the actions taken on configurations server.

The new update of Azure Site Recovery will use VMware tools to install or update mobility services on all the protected VMware VMs. The users won’t need to open firewall rules for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and File and Printer Sharing services, before the replication of VMs from VMware environments into Azure. This will make the deployment of Azure Site Recovery mobility service easier.

Also read: Microsoft’s Accelerated Networking for virtual machines now generally available

The comprehensive monitoring for Azure Site Recovery is generally available now. The VMware tools based mobility service installation will be available to all the customers who update their configuration servers to version 9.13 and above.

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Microsoft’s new services to simplify migration of VMware workload to cloud

Microsoft recently announced new services to help enterprises move existing on-premise VMware workloads to Azure – Azure Migrate and VMware virtualization on Azure.

The new services have been designed to help developers at every stage of VMware migration to Azure.

Microsoft’s intelligent cloud gives enterprises access to supercomputing powers on pay-as-you-go basis, which makes it popular amongst both small and large enterprises. VMware, on the other hand, is a leader when it comes to virtualization.

Azure Migrate is touted as an appropriate means of moving VMware workloads to the Azure cloud. The free service will be launched on November 27th, and will be available to all the customers of Azure.

Azure migrate will support multi-server application migration unlike other cloud vendors with single server migration capabilities. It does so through discovery and assessment, migration and resource, and cost optimization. The new service will thus, discover and analyze all VMware workloads running on the private datacenters and then provide a way to migrate it to the public cloud using Azure Site Recovery service.

Microsoft also allows integration of VMware workloads with Azure services, which means customers can use their Azure services with VMware workloads without requiring any migration or deployment, enabling data management and security across cloud and on-premises. This consists of Azure Backup, Update/Configuration management, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Security Center.

While Azure Migrate will support migration of on-premises VMware workloads to cloud, VMware virtualization on Azure is a bare metal solution that will have the capacity to run the full VMware stack on Azure hardware. Microsoft is offering this service in collaboration with VMware-certified partners and expects to make it available in the coming year.

The new services came a week before AWS’s annual conference – re: Invent, in Las Vegas. Microsoft has given another edge to its cloud service portfolio by adding these services. It is a strategic move as it will also boost Microsoft hybrid cloud services, as Azure Migrate will give customers the choice to move some, but not necessarily all their data to the cloud.