On June 19th 2014, Microsoft launched the preview of the new disaster recovery (DR) service, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery. Microsoft Recovery Manager replaces the older Hyper-V Recovery Manager that was originally launched last January.

Hyper-V Recovery Manager was a cloud-based service that orchestrated disaster recovery between two physical sites, and it could not use Azure as a DR target. The new Azure Site Recovery replaces the older Hyper-V Recovery Manager and it does allow you to use Microsoft Azure as a low cost DR site—replacing the need to build an expensive and potentially complex physical DR site.

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery could be a huge plus for smaller- and medium-sized businesses that can't afford a dedicated DR site. Azure Site Recovery enables you to protect your VMs to your own physical DR site, to a third party hosted site, or to Microsoft Azure.

The new DR service is integrated with other Microsoft technologies such as Hyper-V Replica, System Center, and SQL Server AlwaysOn. It provides continuous monitoring and replication of System Center Virtual Machine Manager clouds and all communications with Azure are encrypted. If Azure is the DR target, you also have the option of encrypting the data at rest. Azure Site Recovery also lets you create orchestrated recovery plans for your protected VMs. These recovery plans allow you to define VM dependencies and create complex recovery scenarios. Azure Site Recovery recovery plans can even be tested at any point in time without disrupting the services at your primary site.

The preview of Microsoft Azure Site Recovery is currently being run by a number of high profile companies, including: United Airlines, Marquette University, Paul Smith, and Sunbelt Rentals. You can get a free trial at the Microsoft Azure Site Recovery page.