Tag: Disaster Recovery

What is Azure File Sync (AFS) and how to set it up?

Earlier this month, Microsoft introduced Azure File Sync (AFS). So, what is Azure File Sync (AFS)?

Azure File Sync is a cloud based backup solution for backing up and providing disaster recovery options for a single, or multiple file shares within a server, or multiple servers. Some of the benefits are:

  • Eliminates network and storage complexity and capacity planning, as it is done for you in Azure.
  • Changes to on-premises data are synchronized in real time to Azure, and file/folder backup is completely seamless to the end-user(s).
  • At the current time, AFS offers 120 days of data retention.
    • I suspect this will increase over time, and will allow administrators to have options with higher or lesser days of retention.

Setting up and configuring Azure File Sync is pretty quick. Below is how I setup Azure File Sync to sync a folder/files from my local server to Azure. AFS is pretty cool stuff, and I have been wanting to chat about it for some time (NDA). At any rate, getting AFS setup is pretty easy. Microsoft provides pretty good documentation on how to do this as well, but in my opinion, they have elected to omit some steps. Here is my take:

First you will need to create a new Azure File Sync Storage Sync. Within the Azure marketplace, search, “Azure File Sync“. Note, Azure File Sync is currently only available to a limited set of regions:

  • South East Asia
  • Australia East
  • West Europe
  • West US

Once created, under Sync, and getting started, download the Storage Sync Agent.

Note, Azure File Sync currently only works with Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2 (servers must be installed with a GUI — no core).

Download and install the agent on your local server, and configure it to the Storage Sync Service you just created in Azure.

Whoops, since this a brand new server install, there is no AzureRM PowerShell modules installed. Go ahead and launch PowerShell as an Administrator, and execute the cmdlet, “Install-Module AzureRM -force

Okay, back to the install. Remember to select the Storage Sync Service you just created in Azure

Once the install is complete, go back to Azure, and under Sync, Registered Servers, your local server should now be present.

Great, now we need to create a Storage account. We can either chose an existing storage account, or create a new one – I chose the ladder.

Regardless with route you take with the Storage account, go into the Storage account properties, and scroll down to File Service, and select Files.

Create a File Share, give it some name, and some quota. I gave it 1GB, as this is simply for testing and PoC. The file path is the same file path you want to backup to AFS. This file path should already exist on your local server(s).

Now go back to your Azure File Sync, and under Sync, and Sync Groups, create a new Sync Group. Within the Azure File Share, select the File Share we just created within our Storage account.

Finally, now we can create an server endpoint. Go back to your Sync Groups, and create a new server endpoint. Here you will need to specify the file/folder you will want to share/copy/backup to your Azure File Sync (AFS).

And that is it! Next I will show you how you can actually restore from your Azure File Sync.

How to enable Azure Backup to Canada (Central)

Earlier in 2016, Microsoft increased the number of  Canadian Data Centers to two: Canada East and Canada Central. With most of my customers being within Canada, naturally they want their Azure Backup data stored within the Canada Data Centers/Regions — makes sense for many (legal) reasons. Only problem is, Azure backup is still very limited to specific locations (see chart below).

Fellow Canadian and MVP — Stéphane Lapointe, was able to get this working with some PowerShell magic — Please visit his blog to get the more details of his workaround. The PowerShell code below is workaround to get Azure Backup services bound to the Canadian Regions/Data Centers, specifically the Canada Central region (note, this is still in Preview state), until Microsoft officially allows all Monitoring/ASR services (along with others) to be generally available. This will allow you to create new Azure Backup services and bound them to Canada Central. For more information on this announcement and code details, please visit Microsoft’s announcement.

Also, worth noting, this will only allow you to use Canada Central region for new setup/configurations. It will not change current setups to Canada Central.

Execute the following code on your machine (Run As Administrator…)

Import-Module AzureRM -Force 

#azure account login stuff
$username = ""
$cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $username, $password
Login-AzureRmAccount -Credential $cred
$SubscriptionName = 'Visual Studio Enterprise'

#update recovery services to Canada Central from whatever region it may be (US East, US Central, etc.)
$ErrorActionPreference = 'Stop'
Get-AzureRmSubscription –SubscriptionName $SubscriptionName | Select-AzureRmSubscription
Register-AzureRmResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.RecoveryServices
Register-AzureRmProviderFeature -FeatureName RecoveryServicesCanada -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.RecoveryServices

powershell-result

After about 5 minutes, I re-ran the query, and the Recovery Services were registered to Canada! Sweet..eh? 🙂

powershell-result-2

Now you can create new Azure Backup services bound to the Canada Central region:

arm

(more…)

Step-by-Step: Setup and Configure Azure Site Recovery (ASR) with Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V using ARM

Not too long ago, Microsoft announced the support of Windows 2016 and Azure Site Recovery (ASR). Microsoft’s announcement can be found HERE.

With that said, I decided to setup ASR with my Hyper-V 2016 environment. Rather than the typical blog posts (screenshots etc.,) I decided to create a step-by-step video that demonstrates how to setup ASR with Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V. That video can be found HERE at Channel 9.

In addition this post is a series of blog posts for Azure Site Recovery (ASR).