Regardless of size or sector, every organisation should have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, seamlessly integrated into its daily activities – make it too hard and things get forgotten.

The aim of any strategy should be to maintain system integrity and availability during maintenance, whilst ensuring all data can be recovered following an outage.

As part of the included toolset, Azure Site Recovery Services allows an organisation to move disaster recovery and business continuity to the cloud, coordinating failover and replication of both physical and virtual machines.

Everything protected

Azure Recovery Services also allows organisations with on-premise, hybrid or cloud-based solutions to use recovery services in the Microsoft Cloud, with a disaster recovery planning configured to work with a backup site or data centre.

Likely configurations include:

  • On-premises VMware virtual servers replicated to Azure or a backup site.
  • Hyper-V machines in VMM clouds replicated to Azure or a backup site (Hype-V VMs not managed by VMM also replicated through Azure Recovery Services).
  • Physical servers running Windows or Linux replicated to Azure or a backup site.
  • Azure Site Recovery can migrate Azure Infrastructure as a Service to different regions.

Continual monitoring

Azure Recovery Services remotely and continually monitors servers in a data centre, with a security key connecting the on-premises and cloud environments – added security is available with an encryption option.

In the event of an outage, the recovery services can be planned to prioritise which services and servers are restored first. Importantly, recovery plans can be tested without disturbing the live network, because without testing you have no plan.

To replicate with Azure, the Site Recovery vault must be configured to allow failover to provision the VMs, which once replicated can be tailored to the appropriate size for the workload.

Understanding whether an organisation has an on-premise, full cloud environment or hybrid combination of the two will help configure recovery services. It’s important that any plan documents critical dependencies and how long the environment can be down without affecting them.

It’s also crucial to the speed and quality of any recovery and quality of any recovery, to establish recovery point and required time periods based on an organisations operational requirements, which can then be compared closely to the published Microsoft recovery services SLA.

Geography matters

Organisations seeking a reliable disaster recovery and business continuity solution will benefit from Azure’s isolation and availability policies for regional pairing of data centres. Any system updates are installed across a paired region at different times, so when an upgrade or patch fails, only one centre will be affected, with errors corrected before it reaches the other centre.

Paired regions should be regarded as backup and recovery sites and when possible there will be approximately 400 miles of separation between the regional pair. This separation ensures only one centre in the region is likely to be affected by a power outage, natural disaster, terrorist incident, etc.

Azure Recovery Services are an important part of Azure’s toolset, making safe, easy and secure for any organisation to develop  robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan. Without a plan that’s tested regularly, any organisation is at risk of a complete meltdown if things go wrong, which is a ridiculous position to be in, when a solution is so readily available.

If you’d  like to understand more about Microsoft Azure and the services it offers to support your organisation, please get in touch before anything goes wrong. And remember, Quiss can help.

Paul Tozer, Head of Cloud Services, Quiss Technology