Hurricane Matthew – Start Those Planned Failovers

A hurricane is about to blast it’s way up the east coast of the USA, making landfall in south Florida probably early on Friday morning, and working it’s way up to Norfolk, VA, by Sunday morning. We know how much damage these hurricanes can do, especially if tides rise and seawater starts mixing with electric, servers, and storage – we’re talking not just business down, but business offline, and maybe even business dead. I’m sorry, but even a stretch cluster to a nearby location is subject to the same mess.

This is when a true DR solution is required. “But I cannot afford a DR solution”, you say. You can’t afford to not have one, but I do know what you could have deployed (it’s too late now, by the way, if you are in the target zone for Hurricane Matthew). Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is an OPEX-based way to get a DR site in the cloud. The cost is a monthly drip feed instead of the CAPEX big bang that a traditional DR site is:

  • $25 per replicated machine per month, in Azure South Central US.
  • Replicated disk storage starts at $0.05 per GB in the same Azure region.

The solution works with:

  • Hyper-V
  • vSphere
  • Physical servers

And it’s really simple to use and reliable; thousands (if not more) of businesses are deploying and testing ASR failovers on a regular basis. This out-of-“the box” shared platform is tested constantly, which makes it way more reliable than some home-baked solution.

You get full orchestration – so if I saw the forecast today, I could start my business continuity plan, start the failover and hit the road. My machines would start a planned failover (ordered and no data loss) to Azure and would be waiting for me when I get to my rendezvous point. Note that my orchestration can also kick off PowerShell scripts (Azure Automation) to do some fancy things, such as redirecting internet traffic that I had routed using Azure Traffic Manager.

If you have ASR and are in one of the areas that will be affected, then do a test failover, do any required remediation’s, and then start that failover. Hopefully, your business is not damaged and you can do a failback afterwards (if you want to). If you don’t have a DR solution, I hope you survive, and have the sense to look at ASR soon afterwards – it is hurricane season!

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