Using VMware Site Recovery Manager for disaster recovery

Read our tips on implementing VMware Site Recovery Manager for disaster recovery purposes in the next part of our guide on virtualization and disaster recovery.

By Eric Siebert

VMware Inc. developed its vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) product to help automate and simplify the recovery process to a disaster recovery (DR) site. SRM by itself isn't a complete solution for disaster recovery and relies on a supported third-party array replication application to handle the replication of virtual machine (VM) data to a DR site.

To certify that storage arrays are supported and integrated with vCenter Site Recovery Manager, VMware works with many storage vendors, including 3PAR, Compellent Technologies, Dell Inc., EMC Corp., FalconStor Software, Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Data Systems, IBM Corp., NetApp Inc., Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle Corp.) and Xiotech Corp. vCenter SRM allows you to create recovery plans using vCenter Server, extend recovery plans with custom scripts, perform nondisruptive testing, automate execution of recovery plans with a single command and reconfigure VM networking at the DR site. vCenter SRM provides a nice front-end application that both integrates storage replication with virtualization and automates DR failover in VMware environments.

Site Recovery Manager consists of an application server that runs on a Windows server and has its own database and a client plug-in for the vSphere client. An SRM server and a vCenter server must be deployed at each site. Physical servers can be used for these sites, but in many cases they are deployed on virtual machines instead. The new linked mode feature in vCenter Server allows you to have a single pane of glass that allows for easier management of the environment. SRM has some additional requirements that include the following:

  • A reliable high-speed network connection between sites, preferably a dedicated connection, because the use of VPN connections over the internet is not recommended.
  • Both the recovery site and protected site must have array-based replication between them using a storage array replication adapter that is supported by SRM.
  • The recovery site must have sufficient hardware, storage and network resources to support the VM workloads at the protected site.
  • The recovery site should have access to the same IP networks (public & private) as the protected site.

For additional operating system and database requirements you should consult the Site Recovery Manager compatibility matrix. SRM will not work with just any storage array that supports data replication as a specific storage replication adapter (SRA) must be developed by each vendor for use with SRM. For a list of SRM storage arrays, you can consult the Storage Partner Compatibility Matrix; you can also download the specific vendor SRA's from VMware's website. Once you download the appropriate SRA, you can then install it on each SRM server. Keep in mind that you must use the same SRA at both the protected and recovery sites and you cannot use different SRA's or versions of SRA's at each site. For example, if you are using an EMC Celerra storage area network (SAN) at your protected site, you must also have an EMC Celerra SAN at your recovery site.

  Editor's Tip: Click here to go to the next part of our virtualization and disaster recovery guide and learn about virtual disaster recovery options.

Part of this guide was originally published in Storage magazine.

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