What’s new in Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 R2

What’s new in Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 R2

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18th October 2013 marked the General Availability of Windows Server 2012 R2. The teams have accomplished an amazing set of features in this short release cycle and Brad’s post @ http://blogs.technet.com/b/in_the_cloud/archive/2013/10/18/today-is-the-ga-for-the-cloud-os.aspx captures the investments made across the board. We encourage you to update to the latest version and share your feedback.

This post captures the top 8 improvements done to Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 R2. We will be diving deep into each of these features in the coming weeks through blog posts and TechNet articles.

Seamless Upgrade

You can upgrade from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2 without having to re-IR your protected VMs. With new features such as cross-version live migration, it is easy to maintain your DR story across OS upgrades. You can also choose to upgrade your primary site and replica site at different times as Hyper-V Replica will replicate your virtual machines from a Windows Server 2012 environment to a Windows Server 2012 R2 environment.        

30 second replication frequency

Windows Server 2012 allowed customers to replicate their virtual machines at a preset 5minute replication frequency. Our aspirations to bring down this replication frequency was backed by customer’s asks on providing the flexibility to set different replication frequencies to different virtual machines. With Windows Server 2012 R2, you can now asynchronously replicate your virtual machines at either 30second, 5mins or 15mins frequency.


Additional Recovery Points

Customers can now have a longer retention with 24 recovery points. These 24 (up from 16 in Windows Server 2012) recovery points are spaced at an hour’s interval.        

Linux guest OS support

Hyper-V Replica, since it’s first release has been agnostic to the application and guest OS. However certain capabilities were unavailable on non-Windows guest OS in it’s initial avatar. With Windows Server 2012 R2, we are tightly integrated with non-Windows OS to provide file-system consistent snapshots and inject IP addresses as part of the failover workflow.        

Extended Replication

You can now ‘extend’ your replica copy to a third site using the ‘Extended replication’ feature. The functionality provides an added layer of protection to recover from your disaster. You can now have a replica copy within your site (eg: ClusterA->ClusterB in your primary datacenter) and extend the replication for the protected VMs from ClusterB->ClusterC (in your secondary data center).

To recover from a disaster in ClusterA, you can now quickly failover to the VMs in ClusterB and continue to protect them to ClusterC. More on extended replication capabilities in the coming weeks.        

Performance Improvements

Significant architectural investments were made to lower the IOPS and storage resources required on the Replica server. The most important of these was to move away from snapshot-based recovery points to “undo logs” based recovery points. These changes have a profound impact on the way the system scales up and consumes resources, and will be covered in greater detail in the coming weeks.

Online Resize

In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica was closely integrated with the various Hyper-V features such as VM migration, storage migration etc. Windows Server 2012 R2 allows you to resize a running VM and if your VM is protected – you can continue to replicate the virtual machine without having to re-IR the VM.        

Hyper-V Recovery Manager

We are also excited to announce the paid preview of Hyper-V Recovery Manager (HRM)(http://blogs.technet.com/b/scvmm/archive/2013/10/21/announcing-paid-preview-of-windows-azure-hyper-v-recovery-manager.aspx). This is a Windows Azure Service that allows you to manage and orchestrate various DR workflows between the primary and recovery datacenters. HRM does *not* replicate virtual machines to Windows Azure – your data is replicated directly between the primary and recovery datacenter. HRM is the disaster recovery “management head” which is offered as a service on Azure.

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  • is there any change in the number of supported cpu per virtual machine?

  • Dos R2 incorporate all the current 2012 bug fixes and patches ?

  • Praveen,

    Hows the replication is taking place on different sites or DC..? are these protected through System Center DPM ..? or only through SCVMM..

  • To Rajeev - the underlying VM replication technology is provided by Hyper-V Replica. SC offers a DR service which allows you to orchestrate the protection and recovery workflows.

    To Lord - Yes, applicable bug fixes made in 2012 are ported to R2

    Supported CPUs - technet.microsoft.com/.../jj680093.aspx

  • Praveen, thanks :-) Good news.. keep up the good work.

  • Hi, thanks for the article.

    i want to know if we have planned an easy way to migrate the HR Broker from WS2012 to R2 ?


  • Hi Samirf,

    Not just the broker, we have invested in ensuring that you have a good upgrade experience from 2012 to 2012 R2. I will cover this very soon in another article.



  • what does re-IR mean?

  • re-IR -> re-Initial Replication. In a replicating setup, having to re-IR would imply that you would need to start from scratch. Praveen

  • Dear Praven, I like your posts concerning hyperv. I would like to ask for help. I have workgroup environment through WAN(no vpn, just zyxell gateways usg50, different location, ip etc.). Hyper-v 2012 servers(not r2) I get still one error after configuration and Replication doesnt work . Error: The specified certificate is self signed. Can you advice me how to make primary server to accept self signed certificate from replica server??? I am fighting with it one week. Everything is communicating till the last step of config repl. After submit finish and a few seconds I am getting this error. I use dns suffix as server.domain.com... should I use ... server.domain.local?? I made certificates with makecert on primary and replica servers. THANK you very much for any advice to find a solution.

  • Mike, please use the guidance provided in http://blogs.technet.com/b/virtualization/archive/2013/04/13/hyper-v-replica-certificate-based-authentication-makecert.aspx and if you still face an issue, copy-paste the exact error which is seen on the screen. To your question on which server name to use - use a routable server name, ensure that the server name is same as what you would see under the Full Computer Name in Computer Settings.

  • Praveen,

    Apart from the Hardware sizing, would it be any maximum number of VM for a single Replica Server in 2012 R2? Thanks!