Boon Tee, SBS MVP from Adelaide Australia, has posted a fantastic series of blog posts on implementing Hyper-V replication on a small business budget. It features the Hewlett Packard Micro Server, which is by far the most affordable fully featured server in the market.
Haven’t heard of Hyper-V replication yet? It’s a new feature of Hyper-V in Server 2012. Replication is a simple concept in which snapshots of your server are sent from where it is running to a second hyper-v residing somewhere else. That somewhere else could be in the same building, in a remote office or in a data center. The snapshots are incremental (small) so replication can occur as frequently as every 5 minutes. Meaning that you have a hot copy ready to take over very quickly in case of disaster.
Boon first writes a post on what you need to get setup. http://blog.powerbiz.net.au/hyperv/how-to-set-up-hyper-v-replica-for-small-businesses/ It’s not complicated. You need a server capable of running Hyper-V at the replica site. It doesn’t have to be as powerful as the primary site since it will only be used in case of emergency. The point here is for it to be affordable and functional. You will also need an SSL certificate for each site.
There are a few scenarios available to you when you set up your hyper-v replica environment. The hyper-v servers can be in a workgroup or a domain. Each of these has different setup requirements. You can use the free Microsoft hyper-v server or you can use fully licensed product. This is both a cost and comfort decision.
If you really want to keep cost to the minimum, Boon writes another article where the replica site uses the free option and an HP Micro Server. In the USA this means you can get a full hyper-v replica site running for under $1000 including, hardware, software and SSL certificate! http://blog.powerbiz.net.au/hyperv/disaster-recovery-with-hyper-v-replica-for-small-business-on-a-budget/ You just can beat that price for full server redundancy to a hot replica disaster recovery site.