Aidan Finn is a Microsoft MVP specialising in Virtual Machine and Systems Administration. He works for MicroWarehouse, can be contacted on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joe_elway
The following is a summary of a more detailed blog post http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=12147
Typically when we read about new Microsoft technologies we read figures such as 1TB RAM, supports X million users, and scales out to thousands of machines. For the majority of us operating in the Irish market, these are fantastic but irrelevant numbers. The majority of us work in the small and medium enterprise (SME) and most of these techs or whitepapers appear to be written for the Fortune 1000 companies.
One of the very best features of Windows Server “8” is written for the SME. Hyper-V Replica is a mechanism that allows disaster recovery (DR) of virtual machines between remote sites. Typical of Hyper-V, it is built-in and requires no additional licensing.
Hyper-V Replica is easy to configure. In the DR site, you enable Hyper-V on the hosts or cluster of hosts, and can create different replication policies. In the production site, you configure each virtual machine to replicate to a destination host or cluster, using either HTTP (Kerberos for inside an Active Directory forest) or HTTP (SSL – for secured inter-company replication). And that’s it; replication just works.
The mechanism is designed to work on high latency, commercially available broadband links that SMEs are able to afford. It is log based, and the mechanism only transmits the required changes over the wire. This is normally done every 5 minutes, meaning that you would normally only lose between 1 second and 10 minutes of data during an unplanned failover.
Microsoft considered everything, including that first painfully big synchronization. You can just copy the VMs over the wire, you can schedule that copy, you can do it using offline storage (preferably encrypted using BitLocker-To-Go), or restore the VM from backup in the DR site, before replication starts up.
Working for a Microsoft Value Added Distributor (MicroWarehouse), one of the things I love about Hyper-V Replica is how achievable it is as a solution. A business with two sites could link them and replicate VMs between the two sites. A Microsoft Partner (either a hosting company or a system integrator) could build a multi-tenant Windows Server “8” cluster and sell a service to provide hosted DR with the Internet friendly HTTPS mechanism. Using two machines you can test this great business solution now using the Windows Server 8 beta.
Couple of good links here:
· TechNet: Hyper-V Replica Technical Preview: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831716.aspx Good image on there.
· Understand and Troubleshoot Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server "8" Beta: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=29016