Since the introduction of Hyper-V for virtualization as part of Microsoft’s flagship Windows Server operating system, small and medium businesses have enjoyed the benefits of virtualization that were only available to companies with dedicated IT teams. The introduction of Replication of Virtual Machines in Windows Server 2012 further enhanced capabilities of Hyper-V. For those of you uninitiated in the replication, please see this feature overview of Hyper-V Replica by Microsoft.
We started leveraging the Replica feature in our cloud environment as soon as it became available. Recently, we deployed two workloads, a database, and an application server using Hyper-V virtualization for one of our manufacturing sector clients for their business process application. We had set up asynchronous replication of the both VMs to another host with a 30-second interval. In addition to replication, we also had a nightly backup and a weekly off-site backup of the database in place to meet the client’s recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives(RPO).
One weekend, the client decided to deploy an update to the application – without creating a checkpoint or snapshot – and things did not go as planned! The next day morning, when production staff could not be productive due to the application not behaving as intended, and we received an SOS call. Our infrastructure support team quickly huddled to discuss various options and presented pros and cons of approaches to the client. the first option was to restore from the nightly backups; this was a fool-proof option but would take a significant amount of time. Another option was to use the replica server to fail-over and choose a last known good snapshot to revert the system back to a point in time right before the application upgrade was initiated!. Luckily, we had set up the replication to retain 24 hourly snapshots and the issue was identified before the 24-hour window lapsed, allowing us to go back to a good snapshot. We initiated a fail-over process to the replica server, verified and tweaked the network settings, and within a few minutes, the client (and its 50+ production team eagerly waiting on the shop-floor) could get back to its business! In the words of the client “The Replication appears to have worked like a charm. I am so impressed with Microsoft and SAM IT!”
Hyper-V replication has enabled small and medium businesses to leverage built-in features of Windows Server 2012/2012R2 or 2016 and enjoy an enterprise-class backup and disaster recovery capability with impressive RPO and RTO. For any help in setting up your environment or workloads to take advantage of these technologies, feel free to reach out to Microsoft Silver Competency partner team at SAM IT.
-Samudra “Sam” Vijay