Lower Risk and Cut Costs with Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

In recent months, Cloud providers in Australia have brought online some impressive new Disaster Recovery technologies that could really help your business lower risks and cut costs. Now for the first time customers can have their virtual or physical servers replicated into low cost Public Cloud providers located right here in Australia.

The big benefits to using a Cloud based disaster recovery solution include potentially large cost savings, improved reliability and great scalability.

SkyCrystal has recently tested out the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services which allows on-premise physical or virtual servers (VMware & Hyper-V) to be replicated into Azure datacentres in Australia.  Once the replication between your on-premise servers and the Azure master target server is in place, then failover onto an Azure virtual machine can be initiated with the press of a button.

The Azure Recovery Services also provides a failback function so that once the customer has recovered their on-premise environment, the Azure virtual machine can be failed back to a virtual server on-premise.

The beauty of the Azure Recovery Services is that you only need to maintain a couple of Azure virtual machines to provide a Disaster Recovery solution for potentially dozens of on-premise servers.  This scalability is achieved as the replication process copies the disk images from the customers on-premise servers onto a master target server which can be provisioned to store up to 15TB worth of server disk images.  Additional master target servers can be deployed to match the number and size of on-premise servers to protect.

The other server that needs to be hosted in Microsoft Azure to facilitate Recovery Services is called the configuration server, which as the name suggests stores the configuration of the recovery plans and protected items.

A third server is installed on-premise and this is call the process server which scales according to the daily data change rate.  A single process server is expected to be able to handle up to 1TB of data change per day.  If you need to handle more than 1TB of data changes per day, additional process servers may be added. 

Typically when SkyCrystal designs Disaster Recovery solutions at least two types of replication technologies are used.  The first type is for replication of structured data which is performed using database replication technologies.  The second type of replication is for entire virtual machines that host applications and web servers.

For example a customer may wish to implement a disaster recovery solution for a mission critical application which has a web server, an application server and a SQL database.  The data from the SQL database can be replicated into Azure SQL, while the typically stateless web server and application server can be replicated into Azure via Recovery Services.

When the customer chooses to failover into the Microsoft Azure Cloud, the virtual servers can be optionally accessed via a customer's private dedicated network link (ExpressRoute), a VPN or directly via the Internet.  For Internet connected options, careful consideration must be given to implementing appropriate security and access controls into the customers application.

The beauty of the Azure Recovery Services solution is that for the majority of the time when the on-premise systems are running really well, the customer is not paying to have a one to one ratio of virtual machines running in Azure.  Instead the costs to the customer are derived from the cost of hosting the configuration server and the master target server.  The master target server hosts the images of the on-premise servers so there is an associated storage cost for each stored server image.

With Azure Recovery Services, Microsoft has put together a really well thought out service that provides customers with a very cost effective way to provide a cloud based Disaster Recovery solution for on-premise physical and virtual servers hosted on VMware or Hyper-V.

If you would like to find out how SkyCrystal can deliver a low cost Disaster Recovery solution for your business, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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