Azure Site Recovery: The Swiss Army Knife of Cloud Tools

By Shannon Kuehn

Most people think of business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) when Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is mentioned. But did you know that it’s a powerful lift-and-shift tool, too? While it contributes significantly to your BCDR strategy, it also orchestrates replication of on-premises physical servers and virtual machines to the cloud (Azure) for a full migration.

Azure Site Recovery Hyper-V 2008 R2

Last year, I had a client who was looking to migrate Hyper-V 2008 R2 virtual machines to Microsoft Azure. At first glance, ASR can protect Hyper-V, Hyper-V with VMM, VMware and physical workloads. Upon digging deeper into prerequisites for Hyper-V specifically though, the Hyper-V OS version needs to be 2012 R2 and fully patched.

Quite the pickle, no? Well, as consultants, we are sometimes forced to think through scenarios that make sense to customers versus what Microsoft recommends. And many times, a large-scale upgrade (like upgrading from Hyper-V 2008 R2 to Hyper-V 2012 R2) is not in their operational IT budget.

After combing through physical server prerequisites for ASR and bouncing ideas off other 10th Magnitude consultants, I decided to test a growing theory of mine out with using a configuration server for Hyper-V 2008 R2 workloads. After my tests, I noted successes and became able to protect guest VMs living on Hyper-V 2008 R2 hosts with ASR. In addition, my testing prepared me so I could be helpful to our clients.

There are, however, a few caveats I should make note of outright, before digging in too deep: Technically, this configuration is not supported by Microsoft and if you need to fail your workloads back on premises, you will need a Hyper-V 2012 R2 replica target.

If an upgrade to Hyper-V 2012 R2 isn’t in the cards, then this workaround is for you, particularly if:

  • You want to make use of public cloud offerings to strengthen your on-premises infrastructure from a disaster recovery perspective
  • You don’t have a budget to upgrade to Microsoft’s recommended platform of Hyper-V 2012 R2.
  • You would like to lift-and-shift everything in your on-premises world and place it into Azure, but don’t have the time to first upgrade the infrastructure

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start in on how to configure ASR for your Hyper-V 2008 R2 workloads and servers.

Check out the full tutorial below:

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