• ZRS for Azure Disk Storage moves a step ahead with general availability for everyone
  • It is reliable for its ability to handle critical workloads by providing replication to block storage across three zones in a region
  • Independent software vendors can take benefit of these highly available and cost-effective solutions

Early in 2021, Microsoft had introduced the preview of the zone-redundant storage (ZRS) option for Azure-managed disks to enhance the reliability of their infrastructure. In a step forward, it has now released ZRS for Azure Disk Storage into General Availability.

Azure Disk Storage is Microsoft’s high-performance, durable block storage for Azure Virtual Machines. It comes with four disk storage options: Ultra Disk Storage, Premium SSD, Standard SSD, and Standard HDD. Along with these disk storage options, customers can opt from two storage redundancy options, Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) and ZRS.

ZRS can help customers increase availability for workloads through synchronous replication of block storage across three availability zones in a region. It allows disks to tolerate zonal failures, which can happen due to natural disasters or hardware problems. Adding to it, ZRS can also be attached to a virtual machine in different zones if any zone goes down. On the other hand, LRS allows customers to replicate customer data three times within a single data center in a selected region – keeping data in a safe zone against drive failures and server rack.

Availability of storage

ZRS is currently available for the Azure Standard SSD Disks and Premium SSD. It also says that customers can refer to the pricing details on the Azure Disk Storage pricing page. ZRS is available across West Europe, North Europe, France Central Regions, West US 2, and more regional areas.

Expert’s view

In a Microsoft Azure blog post, author Aung Oo, general manager, Azure Storage, elaborates about the ZRS option:

“Using Availability Zones for VMs, you can allocate primary and secondary VMs in different zones for higher availability and attach a shared ZRS disk to the VMs in different zones. If a primary VM goes down due to a zonal outage, Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) will quickly failover to the secondary VM providing increased availability to your application. Customers can also use ZRS with shared disks for their Linux-based clustering applications that use IO fencing with SCSI persistent reservations.”

NetApp describes the value that ZRS provides them and their customers:

“Many customers wish to have their data replicated cross-zone to improve business continuity against zonal failures and reduce downtime. ZRS for Azure Disk Storage combined with shared disks is truly a game-changer for us as it enables us to improve the availability of our solution, allows applications to achieve their full performance, and reduces replication costs by offloading the replication to the backend infrastructure. NetApp is excited to extend its CVO High Availability solution using ZRS disks as this helps us provide a comprehensive high availability solution at lower costs for our mutual customers.”—Rajesh Rajaraman, Senior Technical Director at NetApp