The Azure team at Microsoft cannot be denied to run at a very high pace, when it comes to introducing new Azure functionality. Not only do public Azure features show up like clockwork every six weeks, this is also true for feature updates related to Hyper-V and System Center in the private cloud which get updated at an incredible pace. Just a few weeks ago we had to tell customers that if they had boot drives larger than 127GB, more than 1 network adapter, fixed IP address or when they had already adopted Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs, Azure Site Recovery would be a no-go (yet). But customers of the Azure cloud never have to wait very long and they get a very large say in what features are most important for them. Just take a look at the User Voice for Azure Site Recovery:
This week I was lucky to get a time slot from the Azure team to actually test the new Hyper-V Generation 2 support in our closest Azure datacenter West Europe, here in Amsterdam. I had already set up ASR as a preparation for several customers who were planning for Disaster Recovery from their onsite datacenters to Azure. I had more or less been ignoring the product as I didn’t have any use cases or the resources to test. But with interested customers, things can change very quickly. So I quickly configured a small research environment with one Hyper-V host, a few Generation 1 and 2 VMs, SQL Server 2014 and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 with Update Rollup 5.
I will not detail the complete setup and configuration as this has already been well documented. Be careful not to read blogs on ASR older than a couple of months as so much has changed. In this blog I will focus on the new support for Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs. Generation 2 VMs arrived with Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and made installing VMs a little faster because none of the ancient devices had to be discovered. Also with the replacement of the VM BIOS by a UEFI, several new features became available:
- Secure boot
- DVD Drive hot add/removal
- PXE boot from synthetic network adapter
So let’s go back to the configuration of ASR for Generation 2 VMs. There are now multiple scenarios for ASR and my configuration is based on “Between an on-premises VMM site and Azure“, but there are several others available, including VMM site to VMM Site (with or without SAN Replication), Hyper-V to Azure (without VMM) or VMware Site to VMware Site (with or without SAN Replication), and we can expect a direct VMware to Azure before long. Because I had configured ASR some time ago, I had to download an update for my registration key. Secondly I had to refresh both the VMM ASR Provider and the Hyper-V ASR Agent for the Hyper-V host. If I had a 7-year old child, I could have delegated this task.
The major steps for protecting VMs with ASR are:
- Author Recovery Plan
- Disaster Recovery Drill