VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a disaster recovery and business continuity solution from the VMware,which automates the transfer of virtual machines to a local or remote recovery site. SRM works perfectly with the existing vSphere software and it operates as an extension of vCenter server. SRM automates the recovery or migration of virtual machines between protected site and a recovery site.
Protected site is nothing but your primary site where active production workloads are running and recovery site is the datacenter location where you want to move your production workloads in case of Disaster like natural calamities in your primary datacenter. Virtual machines are moved to recover from a disaster or as a planned migration. vCenter Site Recovery Manager facilitates the clean shutdown of virtual machines at the protected site for a planned migration.
VMware SRM is used with array-based replication software. You can also use VMware’s native replication, called VMware vSphere Replication. vSphere Replication copies virtual machines from one host to another, using the power of the hosts involved rather than the storage system. Below are the high level recommendation to setup SRM:
- vSphere environment including vCenter should be deployed on both Protected site and recovery site.
- Array based replication is established between protected and recovery site using third party storage vendors. Optionally you can utilize vSphere Replication as a native solution, if you don’t have array based replication.
- VMware Site recovery manager software needs to be installed on both Protected and recovery site.
- VMware Administrators use SRM to create disaster recovery plans.
- VMware Administrator can use recovery plans to initiate Recovery tests or actual recovery.
Architecture of VMware Site Recovery Manager:
As we already discussed, VMware SRM can be used along with array based replication or vSphere Replication or combination of both. Below architecture diagram is the combination of both array based replication and vSphere replication.
You need to have same version of vCenter and SRM installed on both protected and recovery site. SRM plug-in must be added to vSphere web client. Since SRM 5.8, SRM plugin integrated only with Web Client and no plug-ins available for vSphere client.
Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) is the Code written by our storage partners to allow SRM to communicate with storage arrays. You need to install Storage replication adapter (SRA) from the respective vendor in the SRM server to use array based replication. In case of using array-based replication, the same replication technology must be available at both sites, and the arrays must be paired. If you are using vSphere Replication, it’s required a vSphere Replication appliance on both sites. The vSphere Replication appliances must be connected to each other and be the same version.
VR Appliance (vSphere Replication Appliance) – this used to be called the “VRMS”, and provided management capabilities for the VR framework. This function persists in the VR Appliance, and “VRS” functionality has been integrated with the appliance.
VR Server (VRS) is vSphere Replication Server – an optional scaling component.This provides a replication target. This functionality is included in the VR Appliance, but to scale to higher than 100 replications, additional VR Server instances can be deployed.
vSphere Replication Agent (VRA) Present on every vSphere 5.x host, it only becomes active when a protected VM is writing data.
Network file copy (NFC) protocol is used to commit network based disk writes by vSphere. The VRS receives replicated blocks and distributes them via NFC to the vSphere hosts for writing to storage.
In this entire series of article, we will show you step by step procedure on how to configure VMware SRM 6.0 using array based replication
VMware SRM 6.0 installation
VMware Site Recovery Manager is a software component and it can be installed separately on dedicated server or installed with the same server in vCenter server is installed. I would recommend to install SRM on dedicated server for production scenarios.
- Install the same version of Platform Services Controller,vCenter Server and Site Recovery Manager on both sites(Protected and Recovery site)
- Site Recovery Manager can be installed on Dedicated server or on the same system as vCenter server is installed. SRM requires supported version of Windows operating system. In case vCenter Server appliance, You need to install SRM on dedicated windows server.
- Make use of fully qualified domain names (FQDN) rather than IP addresses when you install and configure Platform Services Controller , vCenter Server , vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager.
- You should have Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server ready before installing SRM 6.0. Obtain the address of the Platform Services Controller instance for both sites. The Platform Services Controller must be running and accessible during Site Recovery Manager installation.
- Obtain the vCenter Single Sign-On administrator user name and password for both of the local and remote sites
- Make use of centralized NTP servers to synchronize the clock settings of the systems on which Platform Services Controller, vCenter Server,vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager Server. Maintain the consistence time between all systems.
- Obtain a Windows user account with the appropriate privileges to install and run SRM service. You can configure the Site Recovery Manager service to run under a specified user account. The account can be a local user or a domain user.
- Site Recovery Manager requires a database. SRM can be installed either with embedded Embedded vPostgres Database or an external database sources like Microsoft SQL or Oracle. If you are using external database for SRM installation, Site Recovery Manager requires a database source name (DSN) for 64-bit open database connectivity (ODBC). You can create the ODBC system DSN before you run the Site Recovery Manager installer, or you can create the DSN during the installation process
- To use Site Recovery Manager with vSphere Replication, deploy the appropriate version of vSphere Replication on both of the protected and recovery sites before you install Site Recovery Manager Server.
- Download the Site Recovery Manager 6.0 installation file to a folder on the machine on which to install Site Recovery Manager on both primary site and recovery site.
Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 6.0 Installation:
I have 2 vCenter servers (one in Production and other one as recovery site (DR site)). We need to run the SRM setup in both protected and recovery site. I will be running the SRM installation on my Protected vCenter first (protection site).
To run the setup, double click SRM installation file to start the installation.
In the SRM installation wizard, Click on Next to start the installation and followed by standard license agreement.
Select the destination folder for the Site Recovery Manager installation and click on Next.
For SRM 6.0 installation, We need to specify the Platform Services Controller address to register SRM with PSC. You can specify hostname or IP address of PSC during the installation. As a best practice, It is recommend to use FQDN names throughout the installation of all components like vCenter, SRM, vSphere Replication etc. Specify the Single sign-on (SSO) administrative credentials to perform administrative actions on the Platform services controller.
Select the vCenter Server instance from the drop-down to register Site Recovery Manager and click Next. My Production vCenter server is “win-vc-01”.
Specify the Local Site name for the SRM site. This specified name will appear in SRM interface. By default, vCenter Server address will be used, if you didn’t specify any name during the installation. Enter administrator email address for this site and Select the IP address of the local host from the drop-down to be used by SRM. If you have dual IP address in the server, Select the appropriate IP address for the SRM installation.
Select the default Site Recovery Manager plug-in identifier (if you are installing SRM with standard configuration with one protected site and one recovery site) or select create a Custom Site Recovery Manager Plug-in identifier (when you install Site Recovery Manager in a shared recovery site configuration, with multiple protected sites and one recovery site). In my Lab , I am going to install with standard configuration i.e one Protected and one recovery So selected the option of default SRM Plug-id and Proceed with Next step.
You can either use the option to automatically generate a certificate or Use Custom certificate file, if you have any and click on Next.
Specify the Organization and Organization Unit. Click on Next.
You can use either the embedded database (vPostgres database) or a custom external database for the SRM installation. To use an external database, Select an existing 64-bit DSN from the drop-down menu or Click on DSN setup to create a new 64-bit DSN for SRM database. I am going to use embedded database option for my SRM installation.
Proceed with the next step
Provide the data source name, DB username and password. Leave the remaining settings to default and click on next.
Select the user account under which to run the Site Recovery Manager Server service and click Next. It can be a Local system account or an Active directory domain account. Click on Next.
Click on Install to start the SRM installation.It will take few minutes to complete the Site Recovery Manager installation.
Click on Finish to complete the Site recovery manager installation.
Once installation is completed, you can notice the 2 windows related services “VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Server” & VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Embedded database” running on the server , where SRM is installed. Ensure both the services are started.
Once installation completed and SRM related services are started, Login to your Protected site vCenter Server using vSphere Web Client. You can notice the Site Recovery Icon will start appearing in the Web Client. NOTE: From SRM 5.8, there are no plug-in available with vSphere c# client.
Once SRM installation is Completed on your production site (Protected site), initiate the SRM installation on your recovery site using the same procedure. My recover site vCenter server is “win-dr-vc.md.local”.
Once SRM installation completed on the both protected and recovery site. Login to vSphere Web Client of both vCenter server using web client. Click on “Site Recovery” plug-in. You will be able to see your SRM site names which you specified during the installation under sites in each vCenter server.
We have completed with installation of Site Recovery Manager on both Protected and recovery site and we verified that SRM plugin and site name is appearing under sites in both vCenter. Next step is to Pair the both protected and recovery site.
If you don't know How to Setup VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.0 Array Based Replication, please go through the step by step guide.