Azure customers want their services to be continuously available to their users, despite component failures, platform degradations and data center outages. In other words, they want business continuity. To achieve it, the services must be highly available, and must recover from outages quickly and with minimal data loss, while complying with policies and regulations, and conforming to accepted industry practices.

Windows Azure and SQL Azure currently provide high availability within a data center, but they don’t provide any protection when data centers go down or offline. Customers can deploy services to multiple data centers to work around this limitation, but the platform doesn’t help them integrate the separate deployments to form highly available, geographically distributed services. This is the first of several blog posts on this topic taken from a paper that I recently wrote with Dima Sonkin and Erik Wahlstrom.

The posts will provide an introduction to business continuity, describe Azure platform features enabling business continuity, and describe how to achieve business continuity with the existing features.