How to extend on-premises datacenters into Azure for business continuityOn February 20, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
Many customers want to use Azure in a variety of scenarios, and increasingly, it makes sense for storage, backups, and for defense against on-premises ransomware attacks. Hi, I’m Jeff Woolsey, and this is one in a series of videos that shows you what’s new in Windows Admin Center. Windows Admin Center allows you to streamline everyday tasks and connect to Azure for hybrid scenarios. In this video, Haley Rowland and I show you how to get started from within Windows Admin Center. Gain an overview of Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup to defend against ransomware attacks, and Storage Replica. Let’s get started. Haley: So let’s talk about how you can extend your on-premises into Azure. And one of the main use cases for this that we see customers ready to adopt, is for business continuity and disaster recovery. And so we have three services within Windows Admin Center integrated to help support this so that you can use Azure as your secondary site rather than setting up another set of hardware and paying for that. So we’ll talk about Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, and Storage Replica. So what are the differences between these? Azure Site Recovery is really good if you have workloads running on VMs. So you can actually just replicate those into the cloud and you’re only going to pay for compute when you actually need to fail over and start up those VMs. And then there’s Azure Backup, which is good for backing up system state and files and folders. And this is really good because it gives you recovery points that you can kind of roll back to, if you need to, which is really good for preventing malicious deletion of data such as ransomware. And finally, Storage Replica is really good if you want to do server-to-server asynchronous or synchronous replication using block-based storage. So let’s take a look at what those look like within Windows Admin Center. Jeff: Absolutely. So in Azure Backup, you have the ability to basically say, “Look, I just want to take an OS instance and I just want to start backing up immediately.” And what’s cool is, it’s really easy. You basically come in here, you set: “What’s my backup policy? How often am I going to back up? How often am I going to–what’s the retention like?” But again, one of the biggest things we wanted to do was we wanted to protect your data at the same time, and if you look at the ransomware that’s been out, it’s not only going after the OSes, but it’s looking for your backup and it’s trying to delete those, or encrypt those as well, so you cannot get to those. What we have done is, when you actually create a backup in Azure, in the workflow, we actually say give us a passphrase. What that passphrase means is you put that in here and when it’s time to actually go delete a backup, for example, and it’s time to delete–guess what? It won’t let you delete it unless you put in a passphrase. So when that ransomware goes to delete your backups to try and make sure they get you to pay, you can say, “No, sorry. You can’t get to my backups because they’re protected by a passphrase.” It’s also just nice as having another check to make sure you don’t accidentally delete a backup that you didn’t want in the first place. So that’s simply part of that capability and of course, we have ASR, Azure Site Recovery. The nice thing about this is it’s literally built right into… built right into the VM tool so if you’re running a bunch of VMs and you say “You know what? I’d like to go ahead and I’d like to replicate this.” OK, simply click on the VM. Select Protect VM. It’s going to come up with option that says, choose your subscription, choose your region. Great, we’ll take care of all of that. You basically sign in and boom. In just a couple seconds, you’re instantly replicating. I didn’t need to crack open a manual. I didn’t need to crack open documentation. I didn’t have to have a secondary datacenter. What’s interesting is when I talked to folks that do DR, and I’ve been talking to these folks for the last 10 years, people are in two camps. There is the first camp is the people saying, “I don’t have $100 million to go buy and create a new datacenter, so I’m going to use Azure.” And then there are people that have already spent $100 million on that secondary datacenter and they go “I want to get out of this thing. This is crazy. It’s a money pit, and I’m absolutely going to use Azure for my DR.” Those are the two camps that I run into, and we’ve made it literally this easy. Click on a VM, click on Protect, and you’re ready to go. Then we’ve got Storage Replica, and this is great if you want to just do: “Hey, I need to do volume replication.” This is asynchronous and synchronous replication. This is block-based so this is going to get, you know, all of your storage covered here and in Admin Center, you want to be able to create this. OK come right in here, and you can set up Storage Replica. Now, one brand new feature we just introduced in WAC 19–Admin Center 1910 that we just released is, now it will actually create a new Azure VM for you. So before, you would set up Storage Replica, and if you wanted a replica, you had to switch into Azure, create the VM, and then set up the replica. Now you can do all of this in Admin Center without ever having to leave the Admin Center console. You can say, “Hey, I want to replicate this.” OK, create the new VM. We will handle the rest for you. Awesome how we do that, So that is about extending on premises into Azure.