Q: My company wants to create a disaster recovery (DR) site for our core SQL Server system, but we don’t really want to incur the expenses of setting a dedicated site. Is it possible to use Microsoft Azure as DR site for SQL Server?

A: Using Azure as an offsite DR location can be a cost effective alternative to setting up your own private DR site. There are a couple of different ways that you can use Azure as a DR location for SQL Server.

SQL Server 2014 Option

With the release of SQL Server 2014, Microsoft has integrated SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Microsoft Azure. A built-in wizard in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), can help you to setup an AlwaysOn Availability Group from your on-premise SQL Server to an Azure virtual machine (VM).

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One limitation with this is that the replication must be asynchronous and it requires a manual failover. Even so, this can be an affordable DR solution.  You can see the specific steps in how to setup a SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group in Azure at Tutorial: AlwaysOn Availability Groups in Azure (GUI) .

Site Recovery Service in Preview

Alternatively, Microsoft’s Site Recovery is a service that’s currently in preview that lets you use replicate your on-premise Hyper-V VMs to Azure.

Related: The Azure Experience