Disaster recovery with SQL Server AlwaysOn in the cloud
One of our most powerful hybrid scenarios, the low RTO disaster recovery solution for your on-premises SQL Servers, is now even easier to implement with SQL Server 2014. You can simply add SQL Server AlwaysOn replicas directly to Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. As you see in Figure 1, we recommend having your asynchronous replicas residing in Azure Virtual Machines and your synchronous replica hosted in the same location. This helps minimize impact on your primary, and having the synchronous close by is ideal. Data loss is minimal in this low RTO solution, since the asynchronous replication is on its way to the replica in Azure just as soon as the transaction is committed.
The other big gain in this scenario is that AlwaysOn replicas are readable, so you can take advantage of the global Azure datacenter to strategically place the replicas (you can now have up to eight replicas with SQL Server 2014, twice as many as with SQL Server 2012). This means faster global business-intelligence reporting, in addition to a more cost-effective disaster recovery solution.
We have also built a helpful user interface into SQL Server management studio to make the deployment of AlwaysOn replicas even easier, regardless of hosting location.
Data backup and restore with Azure Blob Storage
You can also provide a low-cost backup solution with additional storage through geo-replication. A single cloud backup strategy covers all SQL Server instances with the Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool. You can reduce operational expenditures by shifting to the scalable, security-enhanced, and cost-effective Azure Blob Storage service shown in Figure 4. This lets you protect data through the durable Azure platform with compression and auto-encryption.