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VMware Site Recovery Manager is a disaster recovery tool that uses either vSphere or storage-level replication to replicate virtual machines to a recovery site. In the event that a failure should occur, Site Recovery Manager is able to automate the failover of virtual machines to the secondary site. This enables critical workloads to continue to function in spite of the failure.
Although VMware SRM's primary purpose is disaster recovery, it can also aid in the DR planning process. It is not marketed as a planning tool, but SRM disaster recovery capabilities can be useful during DR planning.
When it comes to the disaster recovery planning process, the most useful of SRM's capabilities is its ability to enable administrators to perform frequent, nondisruptive recovery testing to sandboxed environments.
This means that an organization does not have to purchase a DR tool and then wonder how it is going to perform in the event of a disaster. Once an organization has deployed SRM disaster recovery and replicated its data to a recovery site, the organization is able to not only test, but also fine-tune the DR process.
For example, an organization discovers during initial testing that the DR process is not happening quickly enough to comply with the organization's existing service-level agreements. Armed with this information, an organization might procure additional bandwidth, deploy better-performing hardware or perhaps make some logistical changes to its recovery plan.
Because SRM disaster recovery capabilities enable an organization to test its plan as often as it likes -- without affecting business operations -- the IT department can immediately quantify the effect of any changes that it makes.
Frequent testing also lets an organization verify that it is able to consistently perform a recovery operation within a specific amount of time. This lets the IT department set expectations and gives the organization a realistic idea of how much or how little downtime should be expected in the event of a critical failure.
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