For those of you that may have been looking for a blog post last week that didn’t arrive my apologies; I’m sure you all have day jobs that can sometimes prevent you from doing the things you want to do as was the case for me last week. Moving on…there are a variety of new features in Hyper-V 2012 that I want to talk about and today I’ve selected virtual machine replication. There are a number of solutions available today that offer Hyper-V VM replication and I’m sorry to say that currently Backup Exec is not one of them. Truly, all data protection solutions are going to have to transition to thinking virtual first and physical second otherwise there’s going to be no market for them to survive; virtualization is the platform of the here and now even though there will always be some physical asset presence. The Hyper-V sessions at Tech Ed NA covered the Hyper-V Replica topic quite well from a presentation of the feature to a demo. In its basic form you will be able to replicate your Hyper-V virtual machines across the IP network to different storage systems and sites with the obvious benefit being greater availability.
But Hyper-V Replicas have a much broader role in Windows 2012 than just offering a secondary copy of your server. There are integration points with supporting features that will give a real pause to admins as they evaluate their virtualization platform. For example Hyper-V Replicas will integrate with Windows failover clustering so that not only can you achieve high availability within a site but you will have options to deliver global disaster recovery across sites including the ability to re-IP the replica VM to conform to the destination network settings. You will be able to choose from options such as encrypted replication, choosing to not replicate VHD’s that have data that’s not needed post failover, a configurable number of recovery points, VSS snapshots for application consistent replicas, and pre-seeding with the target from a backup of the virtual machine. The combination of just these features will provide a benefit most admins will find hard to resist at least for a serious evaluation. Microsoft has made other options just as easy, such as configuring a target server to receive a replica and a simple wizard to configure replication itself and there is even an option to test the failover to the target Hyper-V host. In the event of a true failure the ability to failover is as simple as right click the VM, select Replication and Failover and if all of that isn’t enough to get you thinking this is something to look into consider this – it’s all done from Hyper-V Manager or SCVMM as well as being powershell ready with cmdlets for everything. There are other integration points that cross into Live Migration and Storage Migration as well the use of Windows 2012 QoS for bandwidth throttling but those are topics that I want to cover at a later time.
As I sit here authoring this week’s blog entry I continue to envision the many ways virtual admins will deploy and exploit Hyper-V Replicas and I see so many opportunities for data protection solutions to integrate. For those point solutions that depend so dearly on replication and instant virtual machine recovery for their life’s blood there may be little choice but to retool and redesign their archaic and sluggish granular data recovery options in order to continue to be relevant. Solutions like Backup Exec will look to capitalize on these new integration points to refine and enhance current application data recovery options, known as AppGRT, and expand with the enriched Hyper-V 2012 infrastructure. I look forward with anticipation to discovering the unique “tricks” Virtual Admins will employ as they push Hyper-V 2012 to places that Microsoft has yet to consider. My next blog post will take a look at Live Migration and Storage Migration with Hyper-V 2012.