Microsoft is extending its Azure Site Recovery service to enable customers with VMware-based infrastructure to back up and protect these as well as Microsoft systems, building on capabilities gained from the acquisition of InMage last year.
Announced as a technology preview, the new support in Azure Site Recovery (ASR) enables customers to extend cloud-based protection and disaster recovery to VMware virtual machines and physical servers.
Gaurav Daga, Microsoft's principal programme manager for Azure Site Recovery, said on the Azure blog that this capability was among the top four requests from ASR users, and had driven the decision to implement the feature.
"ASR, with its ability to protect Hyper-V or VMware virtual machines and physical servers, is a unified solution for workload-aware disaster recovery for your heterogeneous IT environments," he said.
Azure Site Recovery was announced last summer and made generally available in October. The service is designed to protect critical applications by automating the replication and recovery of physical or virtual machines using Azure as a backup target.
However, it also has the collateral effect of providing a mechanism for migrating virtual machines and their workloads onto Azure, which possibly explains Microsoft's enthusiasm for extending support to VMware's platform.
According to Microsoft, the preview support includes automated discovery of virtual machines being managed by VMware vCenter Server instances, including those running various different versions of Windows and Linux.
A key capability is Multi-VM Consistency, which ensures that all of the tiers representing an entire application stack replicate consistently and failover at the same time. It also offers automatic failback to the VMware infrastructure from Azure when the on-premise data centre comes back online.
Other features include on-the-fly conversion of VMware Virtual Machine Disk image files to bootable Windows Virtual Hard Disk images, and health monitoring for replication, failover and failback with events and email notifications.
"With its ability to protect and coordinate the replication and recovery of any customer IT environment - Windows or Linux, physical or virtualised on Hyper-V, VMware or others - Azure Site Recovery plays an important role in the disaster recovery plans of many organisations," Daga said.
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