Azure Site Recovery: VMware to Azure Replication


Welcome to the Azure Site Recovery series!

In the previous blog we looked at part-1 of the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) series where I covered ASR readiness assessment tools like deployment planner and Azure Migrate to help assess Azure readiness.  If your Azure readiness assessment was successful and if you are planning to extend your on-premises data center into the cloud or planning a cloud migration  read on…

This blog post covers a real world use-case and experience from one of my recent client engagements where we used ASR for Disaster Recovery-as-a-Serice (DRaaS).  Microsoft provides great documentation, so this blog is a deeper dive on a very specific DR use case, and walking through it end-to-end.  It covers tips on how to prevent throughput issues, understand the limitations and closer review of prerequisites. This will prepare you for a successful replication, failover testing and meeting your desired Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) targets.

What Does Azure Site Recovery Provide?

While Azure Site Recovery provides a lot of features, the specific focus for this blog is :

  • Simple Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution
  • On-premises VMware to Azure replication
  • RTO and RPO targets

Azure Site Recovery Support Matrix

Before you start a VMware-to-Azure migration, review the support matrix closely especially the vCenter version and the version of the on-premises virtual machines that need to be replicated. Please see the link below for the full support matrix.

On-Premises Virtualization Servers

Server Requirements Details
VMware vCenter Server 6.5, 6.0, or 5.5 or vSphere 6.5, 6.0, or 5.5 We recommend that you use a vCenter server.We recommend that vSphere hosts and vCenter servers are located in the same network as the process server. By default the process server components runs on the configuration server, so this will be the network in which you set up the configuration server, unless you set up a dedicated process server.
Physical N/A

Replicated Machines

Component Details
Machine settings Machines that replicate to Azure must meet Azure requirements.
Windows operating system 64-bit Windows Server 2016 (Server Core, Server with Desktop Experience), Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 with at least SP1. Windows 2016 Nano Server isn’t supported.
Linux operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux: 5.2 to 5.11, 6.1 to 6.9, 7.0 to 7.4CentOS: 5.2 to 5.11, 6.1 to 6.9, 7.0 to 7.4 Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server (supported kernel versions), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server (supported kernel versions), Debian 7/Debian 8 (supported kernel versions), Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.4, 6.5 running the Red Hat compatible kernel or Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (UEK3), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4. Upgrading replicated machines from SP3 to SP4 isn’t supported. To upgrade, disable replication and enable it again after the upgrade.

On-Premises / VMware Side Configuration

Steps to take:
  1. Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server Prerequisites:

The configuration server is an on-premises machine that runs Azure Site Recovery components, including the configuration server, process server, and master target server. For VMware replication you set the configuration server up with all requirements, using an OVF template to create a VMware VM. For physical server replication, you set the configuration server machine up manually.

Component Requirements
CPU cores 8
Number of disks 3 disks

Disks include the OS disk, process server cache disk, and retention drive for failback.

Disk free space 600 GB of space required for process server cache.
Disk free space 600 GB of space required for retention drive.
Operating system Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016
Operating system locale English (en-us)
PowerCLI PowerCLI 6.0 should be installed.

2. Deploy the Configuration Open Virtualization Format (OVF)

Download the latest version of the configuration server template directly from Microsoft Download Center.

Azure Site Recovery

4. Configure Azure Configuration Server

After you deploy the OVF and start the VM, you’ll notice the icon for ASR configuration manager. It’s best practice to have a static IP ready and assign it to the Configuration Server. Double click the icon and it walks you through the rest of the configuration.

Azure Configuration Server

Azure Configuration Server

Note: Be Sure to have completed Step# 1,2 and 3 on the Azure side.

Recovery Services Vault

If you chose to install the mobility service automatically, please provide the VM credentials.

Follow through the steps and complete the configuration as below:

5. Install Moblity Agent

Mobility agents can be installed automatically as well as manually. In this series we will take the manual approach.  Be sure to review the prerequisites from the link below

On the config server

1.Sign in to your configuration server, and then open a command prompt window as an

2.Change the directory to the bin folder, and then create a passphrase file.
cd %ProgramData%\ASR\home\svsystems\bin
genpassphrase.exe -v > MobSvc.passphrase

3.Store the passphrase file in a secure location. You use the file during Mobility
Service installation.

4.Mobility Service installers for all supported operating systems are in the %Progr
amData%\ASR\home\svsystems\pushinstallsvc\repository folder.

Mobility Service installer-to-operating system mapping Installer file template name

Based on the Operating system, choose the install template.


Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2016 (64-bit)

On the VM:

Mount the Config server (c:\mobilityservice folder to drive onto z:)
Directory: C:\temp\Extracted

PS Z:\mobilityservice> dir

Directory: Z:\mobilityservice

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
—- ————- —— —-
-a— 4/23/2018 4:03 AM 67127560 Microsoft-ASR_UA_9.16.0.0_Windows_GA_2
-a— 6/20/2018 1:07 PM 18 MobSvc.passphrase

PS Z:\mobilityservice> ren .\Microsoft-ASR_UA_9.16.0.0_Windows_GA_23Apr2018_Release .exe mobilityservice.exe
PS Z:\mobilityservice> .\mobilityservice.exe /q /x:C:\Temp\Extracted
PS Z:\mobilityservice> dir

Directory: Z:\mobilityservice

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
—- ————- —— —-
-a— 4/23/2018 4:03 AM 67127560 mobilityservice.exe
-a— 6/20/2018 1:07 PM 18 MobSvc.passphrase

PS C:\> cd .\Temp\Extracted
PS C:\Temp\Extracted> dir *.exe

Directory: C:\temp\Extracted

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
—- ————- —— —-
—– 4/23/2018 3:13 AM 2017464 CSGETFINGERPRINT.EXE
—– 4/23/2018 2:27 AM 2436792 CXCLI.EXE
—– 4/23/2018 3:13 AM 4407992 CXPSCLIENT.EXE
—– 4/23/2018 2:57 AM 21176 UNIFIEDAGENT.EXE
—– 4/23/2018 2:57 AM 84152 UNIFIEDAGENTINSTALLER.EXE

PS C:\Temp\Extracted> ./UnifiedAgent.exe /Role “MS” /InstallLocation “C:\Program F
iles (x86)\Microsoft Azure Site Recovery” /Platform “VmWare” /Silent
.NET Framework is avaialble. Proceeding ahead with unified agent installation.
Starting silent installation.
Starting installation with action as – Install
Starting installation with location as – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Azure Sit
e Recovery\agent
Preparing for installation…
Installing components….
Performing post installation steps…
Installation successful.

Unified agent installation has succeeded.
Please refer installation log for more details – C:\ProgramData\ASRSetupLogs\ASRUni

PS C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Azure Site Recovery\agent>
PS C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Azure Site Recovery\agent> ./UnifiedAgentConfig
urator.exe /CSEndPoint /PassphraseFilePath Z:\mobilityservice\MobS
Starting silent configuration.
Running configuration for VmWare
Starting registration for VmWare platform
CS endpoint for registration –
Passphrase file for registration – Z:\mobilityservice\MobSvc.passphrase
Preparing for registration
Configuring connection settings.
Registering with CS.
Validating configuration.


Azure Side Configuration:

1. Setup Resource Group (nn-rg), Network (nn-vnet) and Storage for diagnostics logs.

2. Create Azure Recovery Services Vault

All Services -> Azure Services Vault -> Recovery Services Vault -> Add

2. Prepare Infrastructure


3. Validate Configuration Server

4. Enable Replication  

This is a five step process


Start Replicating and Putting It All Together

Site-Recovery Vault -> nn-asr-vmware-to-azure-vault -> Replicate -> Add VMs to replicate

Watch Progress:

Notice Ubuntu system is not replicated because of agent installation failure. Install the agent manually.

Wait until the replication health shows healthym and status shows protected. Review the ones with “critical” health status and revisit the prerequisites if needed.


Disaster Recovery is a critical part of any IT strategy. Protect your data and applications effectively and efficiently with an ASR based solution.  Navisite professional services team can help your organization protected quickly with expert services.

Coming soon to this series…

  1. ASR (Part -3): Azure Region-to-Region DR
  2. ASR (Part -4) Best Practices for Special Workload migration (SQL and Active Directory Servers)
  3. ASR (Part-5) Complete BCDR Solution Using Azure Traffic Manager
Note: I’d like to thank my manager John Rudenauer and leaders from our Navisite Product Management – William Toll and Umang Chhibber, Marketing team – Chris Pierdominici and Carole Bailey, and Professional Services team – Mike Gallo for their continued support and direction.


Interested in learning more about how Azure Site Recovery can help you ensure you have a robust disaster recovery program? Call us at 888-298-8222 or contact us today, or check out our recent whitepaper, Why are Organizations Choosing Azure over AWS?

For additional information on ASR and our other replication solutions, go here.

Nehali Neogi

Nehali Neogi

Principal Cloud Architect at Navisite
Nehali Neogi is a Principal Cloud Architect at Navisite, leading many of their global initiatives on building the next generation of hybrid cloud services. She enjoys designing and architecting reliable and highly available solutions for Navisite’s clients. She is a Cisco, VMware NSX and Azure certified Cloud Architect leading Hybrid Cloud offerings. Her interests are cloud technologies, Software Defined Networking, full stack engineering, and realizing the transition to DevOps and system Automation.Nehali holds an Expert Level Certification in VMware NSX(VCIX-NV) and Microsoft Certified Azure Cloud Architect.She holds Masters in Computer Engineering from UMass, Lowell.
Nehali Neogi