Microsoft has announced a public preview of a disaster recovery options Azure IaaS virtual Machines. The new ability is an extension of the company’s Azure Site Recovery (ASR) service. With this feature, customers can restore Azure virtual machines running in the public cloud platform.

At the moment, the service is available as a technical preview. Microsoft says customers can replicate IaaS-based applications in Azure. This can be achieved across regions without the need for additional software or devices.

Microsoft Principal Program Manager Rochak Mittal says the disaster recovery works with Azure Backup for IaaS VMs to create business continuity:

“As you move production applications to the cloud, Azure natively provides you the high availability and reliability that your mission critical workloads need. However, compliance requirements such as ISO 27001 still require that you have a provable disaster recovery solution in place as part of a business continuity plan (BCP). The set of features that we are announcing today for Azure IaaS fill this important need.”

The new disaster recovery features for Azure bring several significant benefits to customers. Mittal explains how the features simplify ASR further:

  • “Offered “as-a-Service” – You do not need any additional software infrastructure (VMs or appliances) in your Azure subscription to enable this functionality. You avoid all the complexity and cost associated with deploying, monitoring, patching and maintaining any DR infrastructure.
  • Simplified experience – Enabling cross-region DR for an application is so simple that all you need to do is select the VMs you want to protect, choose a target Azure region, select replication settings and you are good to go.
  • Application-aware recovery – Whether you are an application owner, disaster recovery admin or a managed service provider, ASR lets you stay in control at all times – you can decide when and how to orchestrate a failover. With support for best-in-class recovery point objective (RPO), recovery time objective (RTO) and ASR’s powerful Recovery Plans, your applications can meet the recovery requirements that your business demands.
  • Non-disruptive DR drills – With ASR’s test failover capability, you can easily perform a DR drill anytime without any impact to the primary production workload or to ongoing replication, giving you the confidence that your DR solution will work when you need it.”

Enhancing Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft has been building partnerships with companies that supply data protection software. These collaborations are focused on improving recovery options for Azure Site Recovery abilities. Just yesterday, the company released a promotional video that discusses its connection with Commvault.

Commvault is a company that built its own DR as a service based on Microsoft Azure. In the video, Microsoft Corporate VP Steve Guggenheimer says the partnership improves paths for customers to move to the cloud.

Speaking during an interview, Scott Woodgate, director of Microsoft Azure management and security, talked about the benefits of Azure Site Recovery:

“This is the simplest disaster recovery or business continuity configuration ever, in particular because it’s all within Azure, there’s no need to worry about configuring the interface to your organization’s firewalls,” Woodgate said. “It’s virtually a simple wizard. Many of the other vendors are offering applications running in virtual machines, where I as the end user still needs to manage and patch and update and secure that application. Azure Site Recovery is actually a SaaS service, so Microsoft does all that work for you, which reduces the overall cost of ownership versus the VM-based solutions.”