Migrate your Environment to Azure using Azure Site Recovery

By Aaron Saposnik| March 15, 2016

In a previous blog post, we discussed using System Center to migrate an on-premises environment to Microsoft Azure.  However, many organizations either do not have System Center or they cannot afford the downtime needed to migrate using this method.  There is now an alternative solution for migration to Azure and that is Azure Site Recovery (ASR).

What is Azure Site Recovery?

Azure Site Recovery is Microsoft’s solution for disaster recovery.  ASR allows you to replicate your on-premises systems into Azure and keep them synchronized at all times.  ASR is cross compatible with all types of on-premises environments including Hyper-V, VMware, and physical servers, so no matter the source, you will be able to replicate it into Azure, and ASR will take care of any conversion that is required.  Once your systems are replicated to Azure, you can schedule how often they synchronize with your on-premises environment so that the copy of your VM in Azure is always up to date.

How can I use Azure Site Recovery to migrate to Azure?

Since the Azure Site Recovery replica is always up to date, you have a complete, ready-to-go copy of your environment sitting in Azure.  Instead of having to do a lengthy migration with long downtime windows, or having to rebuild your server from scratch, Azure allows you to perform a migration where you can use your ASR replica and perform a failover.

Just as you would want in a DR scenario, initiating a failover ASR means you can turn off the on-premises server and bring the cloud server online to replace it within a short period of time.  The cloud replica will have all of the same settings and configurations so, with a quick DNS change, your system will now be running completely from the cloud.  If you want to test the migration ahead of time, the test failover option allows you to perform the full failover process without disabling the production system.  There is, of course, some configuration that is required ahead of time to ensure the networking, storage, and performance is all configured properly. However, all of this can be staged in advance for an easy transition.

How much does Azure Site Recovery cost for migrations?

As an added incentive to use ASR for migrations, Microsoft is providing Azure Site Recovery for free for the first 31 days.  If you can complete the migration within that time, you will not pay anything for the replication software. You will only be charged for any compute and storage used during replication and after cutover.

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