Design a disaster recovery strategy

Microsoft and Azure services which can be used as part of a DR strategy include:

  • Azure Backup – scalable, off-site, encrypted backup service
    • Create a recovery vault, specify the Azure region
    • Download vault credentials
    • Download agent
    • Install agent
    • Upload vault credentials
    • Launch backup
    • Configure backup properties
    • Schedule backup
  • StorSimple – hybrid storage appliance with tiered disk storage (SSD, SATA) and Azure storage.
    • Uses de-duplication and compression techniques
    • Use for backup and DR in addition to production storage
    • Data encrypted in flight and at rest, store encryption keys on-premise
    • Storage presented using iSCSI
    • 2 physical appliances available and a virtual appliance
  • Data Protection Manager – Microsoft’s enterprise backup and recovery solution which supports Bare Metal Restore (BMR) and file level recovery.
    • Integrates with Azure by registering with the associated Azure Backup Vault
    • Use tape, local disk storage or Azure
    • Supports workloads including server, client, SQL Server, SharePoint, Hyper-V, VM, Exchange

StorSimple is the optimal solution for high performance storage and support of low RTO and RPO requirements. Azure Backup is a cost-effective, simple solution for providing block level backup and and file level restore with a supported agent. Data Protection Manager can be integrated with Azure Backup and provides additional capabilities for protecting and recovering Microsoft workloads.

Design Azure BC and DR capabilities

When planning a BC / DR strategy it is important to understand:

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective) i.e. the maximum time in minutes for which data loss is acceptable when recovering from a disaster
  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective) i.e. the maximum time in minutes it takes to recover service in the event of a disaster
  • Synchronous vs. Asynchronous replication i.e. whether operations are carried out at the same time or queued
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement) for the underlying services

When designing high availability into Azure services consider:

  • Use of Availability Sets and load balancing for Virtual Machines
  • SQL Server AlwaysOn (=> 3 node WSFC – Primary Replica, Secondary Replica, FSW)
  • SQL Mirroring

Hyper-V Replica provides asynchronous replication of VMs without a shared storage requirement however shared storage can be leveraged with supported SANs for additional functionality. Azure Site Recovery also works wtih Hyper-V Replica.

System Center can provide orchestration for Site Recovery failovers.