Azure Site Recovery & Azure Backup for Local Servers and Workstations

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) and Azure Backup are two powerful services that work together to ensure that you have a complete business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solution for your local servers and workstations. With ASR replicating your applications, and Azure Backup securely copying and restoring your data, your concerns over on-premises outages and data loss can give way to peace of mind.

As a single straightforward solution for handling all of your organization’s failover, failback and replication needs, ASR provides six key benefits to consider: flexible, automated protection for your local servers and workstations; seamless integration with Azure Backup; the recovery speed required to meet or exceed your organization’s RTOs and RPOs; the flexibility to run custom PowerShell scripts and accommodate other customizations; and the capacity to move beyond site recovery to include a host of additional benefits, such as performance analytics.

As a cost-effective, cloud-integrated, highly secure solution, Azure Backup meets all of your on-premises backup requirements while providing three key benefits: exceptional security and reliability, including a 99.9% SLA; highly efficient incremental backups with a minimal data footprint; and granular controls over key backup parameters, such as bandwidth throttling and encryption.

Below we explore these two exceptional Azure services in greater detail.

Azure Site Recovery

ASR is a leading disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) solution. With ASR in place, you have an automated 24/7 failover, failback and application replication service to handle any outage or disruption in one or more of the workstations and servers that make up your primary on-premises datacenter. ASR executes recovery plans that you create, customize and test directly from the Azure portal without impacting your live servers or workstations. Let’s explore six highlights of the service:

1. Automated protection and recovery

ASR provides flexible, automated protection and recovery for your local servers and workstations. Azure can serve as your recovery site in the cloud, or you can choose to use another on-premises datacenter. Either way, ASR will coordinate data replication and recovery in conjunction with any additional compatible services you choose to employ, such as Always On Availability Groups (SQL Server) and System Center.

2. Replication of on-premises servers, workstations and workloads

Rather that keeping a costly second backup datacenter at a separate on-premises location, you can safely, securely and affordably replicate all of your on-premises servers, VMs and workstations in the cloud with ASR. Replication covers on-premises Hyper-V virtual machines as well as local Windows and Linux servers.

3. Improved data resiliency and security

ASR works seamlessly with Azure Backup to ensure that your BCDR solution is resilient and secure. To retain the maximum degree of security, ASR replicates only your on-premises applications themselves, not your application data, which is kept securely in Azure Backup. In the event of an outage and failover, ASR automatically creates Azure VMs to replicate your applications while populating them with the corresponding secure data retrieved from Azure Backup.

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4. Meeting or exceeding recovery objectives

Azure Site Recovery’s highly efficient data replication model is designed to keep recovery times and recovery points for your local servers and workstations to well-within your organization’s RTOs and RPOs. Under a standard ASR setup, you can increase Hyper-V replication frequency to 30-second intervals. However, with Azure Traffic Manager, you can further increase frequency as you optimize the replication process.

5. Customization

If your enterprise requires a high level of customization in your recovery plan, rest assured that ASR is designed with the flexibility to meet your requirements. Whether you need to make use of Azure Automation Runbooks, execute Windows PowerShell scripts, engage in manual intervention, or create custom mappings between your on-premise primary datacenter and your cloud-recovery site, ASR has the tools and settings in place to accommodate your customization.

6. Moving beyond mere recovery

Due to the sophistication of Azure Site Recovery and its seamless integration with your on-premises datacenter, ASR is capable of far more that application and data recovery. After migrating applications and workloads to the cloud, you can use ASR to perform testing, analytics, staging, and to handle traffic spikes, all without disrupting or affecting performance on your local servers and workstations. ASR also provides continuous remote health monitoring of your protected assets.

Azure Backup

The sheer quantity of data generated and stored in local servers and workstations in the digital age continues to grow at a formidable pace. Nonetheless, both organizational policy and government regulations typically require businesses to retain several years worth of data. However, in 2017, the traditional tape-based backup solutions many organizations still rely on are becoming less practical, less cost-effective and less competitive every day. Furthermore, tape-based backups are time-consuming and prone to data loss over long periods.

By contrast, Azure Backup is a cost-effective, cloud-integrated, enterprise-class, backup-as-a-service (BaaS) platform for securely backing up all of your local servers and workstations’ files and folders as well as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and other application data. With quick recovery times and “up to 99 years of retention,” Azure Backup is truly the preferred alternative to tape-backup in the digital age.

Here we explore three key benefits of the Azure Backup service:

1. Enterprise-class security and reliability

With six copies of your backup data automatically distributed over two Azure datacenters, Azure Backup minimizes the risk of data loss. Moreover, both in transit and at-rest, ASR encrypts your data to maximize security while maintaining a 99.9% service availability SLA. This approach translates to the peace of mind that comes with enterprise-class security and reliability.

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2. Superior efficiency

Azure Backup is designed to maximize backup efficiency while minimizing storage consumption. In order to accomplish this dual task, the service begins with an initial snapshot or “seeding” of your local server and workstation data. Then it proceeds to add incremental backups at a selected frequency reflecting each change to the initial data.

3. Flexibility

Several adjustable parameters give you the ability to boost Azure Backup efficiency as needed, including settings for incremental-backup frequency, compression, bandwidth throttling, encryption and retention duration.

Protecting your on-premises data and operations

As a complete cloud-based BCDR solution for your local servers and workstations, Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup work seamlessly together 24/7 to automatically recover from on-premises outages while preventing data loss.

Azure Site Recovery: six key takeaways

As a single straightforward solution for handling all of your failover, failback and replication requirements, ASR provides six key benefits summarized above:

  1. Flexible, automated protection and recovery for your local servers and workstations.
  2. Replication of on-premises servers, workstations and workloads in the cloud.
  3. Seamless integration with Azure Backup to ensure that the data-component of your complete BCDR solution is resilient and secure.
  4. A highly efficient recovery model designed to keep recovery times and points to well within your organization’s RTOs and RPOs.
  5. The capacity to accommodate custom PowerShell scripts and other custom requirements.
  6. The power to move beyond application and data recovery to handle testing, analytics, application health monitoring, and traffic spikes.

Azure Backup: three key takeaways

As a highly cost-effective, cloud-integrated, enterprise-class, backup-as-a-service (BaaS) solution, Azure Backup addresses all of your on-premises backup requirements across not only your files and folders, but your business-critical applications, such as Exchange. A powerful alternative to tape-backups in the digital age, Azure Backup offers the following three key benefits outlined above:

  1. Exceptional security and reliability, with six copies of encrypted data distributed over two Azure datacenters with a 99.9% service availability SLA.
  2. A model designed for high backup efficiency with low storage consumption that begins with an initial “seed” snapshot of your data that accumulates incremental changes at a given frequency.
  3. The flexibility to customize with controls for adjusting incremental-backup frequency, compression, bandwidth throttling, encryption and retention duration.

For more information on Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup and other Azure services that can help your enterprise thrive, contact us.

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About Ed

Ed is an 18 year veteran of the hosting industry and was part of the team at Verio that helped drive the early adoption of the Internet as we know it today. At Applied Innovations, Ed consults with prospective clients and partners to help them identify the best path forward with their own digital transformation as they look to embrace and adopt the cloud. Ed combines his strong technical understanding of the Internet, Security and Cloud scale with his ability to communicate and simplify complex solutions into a strategic plan that makes sense for the customer and aligns with their business strategy