You dont have javascript enabled! Please enable it! Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines With Azure Site Recovery In Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt - CHARBEL NEMNOM - MVP | MCT | CCSP | CISM - Cloud & CyberSecurity

Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt

4 Min. Read

In this article, we will show you how to protect on-premises Hyper-V Virtual Machines to the cloud with Azure Site Recovery and Windows Admin Center.

Introduction

Windows Admin Center (WAC) is a flexible, locally deployed, browser-based management platform and solution. It contains core tools for troubleshooting, configuration, management, and maintenance for Windows Server, Windows Client, Software-Defined Storage (SDS), Software-Defined Network (SDN), Microsoft Hyper-V Server, and more.

Windows Admin Center is not only for managing servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows 10 PCs, but it also lets you connect your Windows Server to Azure hybrid services whether they are running on-premises or in a different cloud provider. There are many more hybrid services for Windows Server, which you can leverage with Windows Admin Center.

For the complete list of all Azure hybrid services integration with Windows Admin Center, please check the official documentation from Microsoft here.

Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is Microsoft’s Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy. It keeps workloads safe and recoverable through replication from on-premises servers, such as physical servers, Hyper-V VMs, and VMware VMs. You can also replicate VMs between different Azure data centers. Although ASR is designed for disaster recovery, you can also use Azure Site Recovery to migrate virtual machines to the cloud an approach known as “Lift and Shift“.

So what is the difference between both scenarios?

  • For disaster recovery, you replicate machines regularly to Azure. When an outage occurs on-premises or in one of Azure datacenter, you can fail the machines over from the primary site to the secondary Azure site, and access them from there. When the primary site is available again, you can fail back.
  • For migration, you replicate on-premises (physical/virtual) machines to Azure. Then you fail over from on-premises to Azure and complete the migration process. There’s no failback involved. The key feature of the migration scenario is, that ASR will convert automatically all your (VHDX) on-premises to (VHD) and upload them to Azure Blob Storage.

Prerequisites

The prerequisites are very simple as follows:

1) First, you need to make sure you are running Windows Admin Center (WAC) Version 1809 or later, and that your endpoint machine is running either Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, or Windows Server 2019 Hyper-V. It’s also worth mentioning that Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) versions 1709, 1803, and 1809 are also supported.

2) Second, you need to connect your Windows Admin Center gateway to Azure. Please check the following article to see how to register your Windows Admin Center gateway with Azure.

Once Windows Admin Center is deployed in your environment, you are ready to start.

Prepare your Hyper-V Host for VM Protection

Open the Windows Admin Center portal, and take the following easy steps:

1) Navigate to the server or the Hyper-V cluster hosting the VMs that you want to protect (either with Server Manager or Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager).

2) Go to Virtual Machines > Inventory and then click Set up now.Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 1

3) You will be prompted to sign into your Azure account. If you have already authenticated with Azure, then you can skip this step. Azure authentication is required for other services in the Windows Admin Center as well.

4) Select the target Azure Subscription if you have more than one subscription.Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 2

5) Select the Resource Group that you want to use or you can create a new one, then select the Recovery Services Vault. If you have an existing Recovery Services Vault, then the Azure location will be selected for you automatically. When ready click Set up ASR.Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 3

6) Wait until you see the notification is Completed. Please note that this might take up to 10 minutes to complete. You can watch the progress by going to Notifications (the bell icon at the top right-hand side).Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 4

7) Behind the scene, Windows Admin Center will automatically installs the latest ASR agent onto the Hyper-V host or nodes (in case of a Hyper-Converged Cluster as described in this example), the best part of it is that the agent installation does NOT trigger a reboot of the nodes, this will also register the host on-premises with the Azure Site Recovery service, and finally configure default replication policy named “smepolicy” and a Hyper-V site named “smefabric” as shown in the figure below – SME stands for (Server Management Experience).Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 5

Protect Virtual Machines in Windows Admin Center

Once Windows Admin Center finishes the ASR agent installation and registration, you can start protecting your virtual machines. Open the Windows Admin Center portal, and take the following easy steps:

1) Navigate back to the server or cluster you configured as described above, and go to Virtual Machines > Inventory.

2) Select the VM you want to protect, then select More > Protect VM.

3) Select Use Existing or Create New Storage Account to use for this VM’s replication, and then click Protect VM. This step enables replication for the selected Virtual Machine to Azure.Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 6

4) Azure Site Recovery will start replication/synchronization to Azure. This can take several minutes depending on your network bandwidth. Once the VM is protected, the value in the Disaster Recovery Status column of the Virtual Machine Inventory grid changes to Protected as shown below. Microsoft also added deep links in Windows Admin Center, so if you can click on Protected, it will take you directly into the Replicated items in the Recovery Services Vault so you can do more advanced operations directly from Azure.Protect #HyperV Virtual Machines with Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center @ServerMgmt 7

Conclusion

Azure Site Recovery in Windows Admin Center will automatically set up the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent and the Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Provider without having to RDP into the server. So it is not replacing the MARS agent but instead providing an interactive experience (single pane of glass) that allows for remote management of the MARS Agent from setting it up, and being able to enable protection remotely. This is especially useful for server core which does not have GUI.

Please note that Test Failover including Planned and Unplanned Failover tasks must be performed directly from the Azure Portal, as well as creating Recovery Plans and Monitoring replication health for your VMs. Hopefully, Microsoft will bring additional integration in the future to Windows Admin Center so you can perform all these operations from a single portal.

As you have seen, Microsoft is investing more and more in Windows Admin Center (WAC), which is making it easy for Windows Server admins to easily leverage services in Azure and ensure a seamless and effective management of servers by providing the best of Azure and on-premises through a single management interface. Thus providing first-class management of hybrid infrastructure with the use of an optimal combination of on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.

Windows Admin Center is a freely available management tool for anyone to use and makes managing a set of servers with or without GUI remotely, very easy, especially for “day-to-day activities”. Download the latest copy of Windows Admin Center from here, deploy it in a failover cluster, and enjoy modern server management.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect with 21+ years of IT experience. As a Swiss Certified Information Security Manager (ISM), CCSP, CISM, Microsoft MVP, and MCT, he excels in optimizing mission-critical enterprise systems. His extensive practical knowledge spans complex system design, network architecture, business continuity, and cloud security, establishing him as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in the field. Charbel frequently writes about Cloud, Cybersecurity, and IT Certifications.
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