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Hyper-V Replica Broker Explained

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica is a built-in replication mechanism for Virtual Machines (VMs). It can in real-time or asynchronously replicate selected VMs from a primary site to a designated replica site across LAN/WAN. Here both a replica site and a primary site are either a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V host or a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster. The former hosts replicated VMs, while the latter is where source VMs run.

Hyper-V Replica is an attractive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution since not only conceptually easy to understand, but technically straightforward to implement, as demonstrated by the following schematic and the lab introduced later in this article. Further, with many newly added capabilities and flexibilities in Windows Server 2012 such as Storage Space, continuously available file share, Hyper-V over SMB 3.0, etc. a BCDR is no longer an academic exercise, but with Hyper-V Replica a feasible solution within reach. It is an ideal and affordable BCDR solution for small and medium businesses.

imageHyper-V Replica is also applicable to a failover cluster setting. And this lab, http://aka.ms/ReplicaBroker, details the processes, steps, and operations in implementing Hyper-V Replica Broker in a failover cluster. For those who are new to Hyper-V Replica, a walk-through of Hyper-V Replica essentials is available at http://aka.ms/Replica.

Hyper-V Replica Broker

qrcodeWith a failover cluster of Hyper-V hosts in place, one needs to first configure a Hyper-V Replica Broker role using Failover Cluster Manager. Then enable Hyper-V Replica on the Hyper-V Replica Broker. The schematic below depicts that a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V failover cluster employed as a replica site is logically presented by and as a Replica Broker. Instead of operating directly onto a Hyper-V host as in a non-cluster environment, the process in a failover cluster setting will replicate a VM to a Replica Broker which will place the VM on the associated failover cluster accordingly.

Ordinarily, Hyper-V Replica can be enabled in the Hyper-V Settings of a Hyper-V Host. In a failover cluster, the Hyper-V Replica is however grayed out in an individual Hyper-V host’s Hyper-V Settings. Instead, all Hyper-V Replica settings are to be managed through the Hyper-V Replica Broker.

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Windows Active Directory domain is not a requirement for Hyper-V Replica which can be implemented between workgroups or domains with a certificate-based authentication without the need to establish a domain trust relationship. Active Directory is nevertheless a requirement if involving a Hyper-v host which is part of a failover cluster, and in such case all Hyper-V hosts of a failover cluster must be in the same Active Directory domain.

Step-by-Step, Screen-by-Screen Hands-On Lab

With a failover cluster of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts, we now will enable VM replication in Hyper-V Replica Broker which is a cluster role to be configured with Failover Cluster Manager. This lab assumes a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V failover cluster is in place, and presents the processes, steps, and operations to:

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Get this Lab Guide for a TweetHere I am making this lab guide available as a download in pdf and available with a tweet to help sharing the information. I believe the content in http://aka.ms/Replica and this lab together form a solid foundation of Hyper-V Replica for IT professionals. Enjoy it and happy replicating.

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More Stories By Yung Chou

Yung Chou is a Technology Evangelist in Microsoft. Within the company, he has had opportunities serving customers in the areas of support account management, technical support, technical sales, and evangelism. Prior to Microsoft, he had established capacities in system programming, application development, consulting services, and IT management. His recent technical focuses have been in virtualization and cloud computing with strong interests in hybrid cloud and emerging enterprise computing architecture. He is a frequent speaker in Microsoft conferences, roadshow, and TechNet events.

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