Choosing Hyper-V Replica vs. Azure Site Recovery

For IT professionals, unplanned service disruptions and data center outages are a fact of life. But luckily for those who rely on Microsoft technologies, Microsoft offers two excellent replication options to support disaster recovery and business continuity strategies.

The first, Hyper-V Replica, creates and maintains copies of virtual machines (VMs) in a secondary site. It’s included free with Hyper-V, providing unlimited replication capability right out of the box. The second, Azure Site Recovery, allows VMs to fail over not only into your own secondary data center, but also into the Azure public cloud, offering a “pay-only-for-what-you-use” cloud pricing model.

Because Site Recovery uses the same underlying technology as Hyper-V Replica to replicate ones and zeroes, the failover capabilities are very similar. However, due to the significant difference in each tool’s economic and deployment models, businesses might be much better off choosing one over the other, depending on their needs.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which tool is best suited for your particular requirements: 

Pricing ·      Free, included with Hyper-V

·      Must pay to operate your own secondary data center or use a managed hosting provider

·      Monthly subscription billed in units of the average daily number of instances protected

·      Must pay standard Azure billing for VMs failed over into the Azure cloud

Advantages ·      Free replication tool

·      No need for third-party disaster recovery solution

·      Simple and effective way to ensure uptime

·      No recurring subscription fees

·      Low subscription fee

·      Pay-for-what-you-use model for VMs failed over to cloud

·      Consistent management plane through Azure portal

·      Added geolocational redundancy with failover to Azure cloud

Tradeoffs ·      Large time and capex investments required for secondary on-prem data centers

·      Suboptimal utilization of hardware in secondary on-prem data centers

·      Potentially more expensive over time and with additional use

·      Azure public cloud only supports Gen 1 VMs

Best for: ·      Enterprises that already operate secondary data centers

·      Long-term high availability and business continuity initiatives

·      Workloads that can’t be run in the cloud (e.g., for compliance or legacy technology reasons)

·      Temporary use cases (e.g., testing, migration and disaster recovery)

·      Complex hybrid cloud and/or multi-cloud environments


For a more detailed look at how these two distinct-but-related tools can support your needs, check out our white paper, “Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity with Hyper-V and Azure Site Recovery.” In addition to a more detailed comparison of each tool’s advantages and tradeoffs, the white paper provides:

  • A comparison of Test, Planned and Unplanned failover types with these tools
  • A breakdown of how each tool is priced, configured and operated
  • Hyper-V Replica and Azure Site Recovery best practices from our experts
  • Common mistakes and misconceptions around DR, BC and high availability 

Ultimately, both Hyper-V Replica and Azure Site Recovery provide an effective, cost-efficient means to support a successful DR and BC strategy. Both are easy enough to use in and of themselves. However, choosing the right option to minimize costs and leveraging them optimally to best ensure uptime and mitigate risk is always easier said than done.

Jacob Morrison is the product engineer for Rackspace’s Microsoft Private Cloud team. With MCSE specialization in private cloud and MCSA in Azure, his efforts focus on providing a more fanatical experience for both private and hybrid workloads. He strives towards further enhancing automation capabilities and building a solid DevOps pipeline for Microsoft platforms at Rackspace. In his free time, Jacob sponsors the San Antonio PowerShell User group and blogs on various technology topics at TechThoughts.


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