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VMware SRM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

VMware SRM is #8 ranked solution in top Disaster Recovery Software. IT Central Station users give VMware SRM an average rating of 8 out of 10. VMware SRM is most commonly compared to Veeam Backup & Replication:VMware SRM vs Veeam Backup & Replication. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is VMware SRM?
VMware Site Recovery Manager is the industry-leading solution to enable application availability and mobility across sites in private cloud environments. Site Recovery Manager allows: Fast and reliable IT disaster recovery, simple and policy-based management, zero-downtime application mobility, and up to 50% lower TCO.

VMware SRM was previously known as VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager.

VMware SRM Buyer's Guide

Download the VMware SRM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

VMware SRM Customers
Acorda Therapeutics, Columbia Sportswear, Mainfreight, Nippon Express, Sin Chew Media, Fisher & Paykel, Siam City Bank
VMware SRM Video

Archived VMware SRM Reviews (more than two years old)

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MuathAlhwetat
SAN and UNIX Administrator at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Excellent replication feature, extremely stable and has a straightforward initial setup

Pros and Cons

  • "The replication is the solution's most valuable feature. If we have some issues on the VM in the main site we can migrate it to another site automatically."
  • "If you have a failover case, you need to work on it manually. It would be helpful if this could be automated. It would simplify things."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for disaster recovery.

What is most valuable?

The replication is the solution's most valuable feature. If we have some issues on the VM in the main site we can migrate it to another site automatically. 

The configuration assembly for the VMware is good.

What needs improvement?

If you have a failover case, you need to work on it manually. It would be helpful if this could be automated. It would simplify things.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is great. We've tested the system and haven't discovered any bugs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is amazing. They have a great background in VMware issues and engineering.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It's quite simple. However, those that implement it must have some experience in virtualization. In terms of deployment, you can have a demo regarding SRM and need to apply the scenario on it. Afterward, you can apply it to your environment. It's very easy.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You need a license for SRM. We have a permanent license. There aren't additional fees if you need access to support. However, you can upgrade to another support tier. If you like, you can pay extra for premium support.

What other advice do I have?

We're using the on-premises deployment model.

I'd recommend the solution. I'd rate it ten out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Project Manager at Shriram Value Services
Real User
Its array-based integration is the most valuable feature

What is our primary use case?

VMware failover is our primary use case of DC DR automation. We are integrated with array-based replication.

How has it helped my organization?

We had not achieved our RTO before the SRM implementation. But now, we have achieved our RTO for DR drill.

What is most valuable?

Array-based integration is the most valuable feature. It has a user-friendly dashboard and will use the same vCenter console.

What needs improvement?

DR drill report is good but needs to be improved, and the replication monitoring feature is not available.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

VMware failover is our primary use case of DC DR automation. We are integrated with array-based replication.

How has it helped my organization?

We had not achieved our RTO before the SRM implementation. But now, we have achieved our RTO for DR drill.

What is most valuable?

  • Array-based integration is the most valuable feature.
  • It has a user-friendly dashboard and will use the same vCenter console.

What needs improvement?

DR drill report is good but needs to be improved, and the replication monitoring feature is not available.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about VMware SRM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user812175
Solutions Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Vendor
Combined with RecoverPoint, it offers zero RPO and zero RTO

Pros and Cons

  • "Combined with RecoverPoint, it offers zero RPO and zero RTO."
  • "I would like to see better integration with other storage solutions. I would hope to see that within the next two or three years."

What is our primary use case?

We use it, I and several of my colleagues, as a data recovery solution between VMware environments. It is a complementary solution to EMC solutions, for storage. 

How has it helped my organization?

it is a complementary solution to EMC's data recovery solutions, or RecoverPoint. Combined with VMware SRM it offers zero RPO and zero RTO, so it's a good solution for both EMC's Toolkit, and for the customer.

What is most valuable?

There is zero RPO and zero RTO when combined with the EMC solution called RecoverPoint.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better integration with other storage solutions. I would hope to see that within the next two or three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never had any problem with downtime or the solution not working. The only issues were human errors in configuring it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is bigger and better than the competitors.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have always used VMware solutions because VMware is owned by EMC. So we've only used VMware SRM.

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor are stability, scalability, things that Microsoft had issues with.

How was the initial setup?

It's not entirely straightforward. You have to know what you're doing in order to make it work properly.

What other advice do I have?

Before choosing a cheaper solution, I would advise checking the limitations or boundaries of each solution. Compare VMware to Microsoft Hyper-V and other solutions - maybe open-source - and then see which fits your needs best.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JY
User at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
User
Makes the DR process a lot faster and easier for recovery, but SRM reporting is lacking

Pros and Cons

  • "It made the DR process a lot faster and easier for recovery after we were familiar with the product operation."
  • "One thing which is lacking from the SRM is reporting."
  • "SRM may hit some OS issues related to IP changes, but they are usually OS related, especially in the 2008 realm."

What is our primary use case?

Trying to analyze the feature and functionality of this combined product. SRM is current been used in the production. However, with new DR requirement, we are look for other solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

It made the DR process a lot faster and easier for recovery after we were familiar with the product operation.

What is most valuable?

  • vSphere Replication does not take snapshots, although it will keep your snapshots. Site Recovery Manager with SAN Replication does not take snapshots of the VMs, but will take snapshots on the LUNs via the SRA to the storage provider.
  • When you perform a failover, the LUNs can be chosen to sync or not, so you do have that option. With vSphere replication, it is the same concept, while it is live. The standalone VR will allow you to choose either.

What needs improvement?

  • SRM may hit some OS issues related to IP changes, but they are usually OS related, especially in the 2008 realm. SRM runs a batch file on the OS through tools that will change the IP stack. If something fails with that, or it hits duplicates or hidden devices, it can cause issues.
  • Veeam had some weird issues redoing the Server 2008 VM IPs and this requires a MS hotfix. Apparently, that is an MS issue. Though, SRM does not require any hotfixes.
  • One thing which is lacking from the SRM is reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are evaluating to determine if there are other products which can provide cheaper solutions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MikeWilson
Senior Systems Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Testing Failover Capabilities Is Valuable, Though ​Flexibility To Choose Different PITs Would Help

What is most valuable?

Ease of management. Testing failover capabilities.

How has it helped my organization?

Gives us the ability for true DR testing, readiness.

What needs improvement?

Flexibility to choose different PITs would be nice. Also, ability to give VMs different priority per Recovery Plan would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Seven out of 10. I give them a seven because they don’t always get back within the SLA, and have had a few issues they took a long time to resolve.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

How was the

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of management.
  • Testing failover capabilities.

How has it helped my organization?

Gives us the ability for true DR testing, readiness.

What needs improvement?

Flexibility to choose different PITs would be nice. Also, ability to give VMs different priority per Recovery Plan would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Seven out of 10. I give them a seven because they don’t always get back within the SLA, and have had a few issues they took a long time to resolve.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

How was the initial setup?

Fairly straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing costs explode after 75 VMs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Zerto. We felt SRM/RecoverPoint gave us more flexibility in our solution. That was five years ago though.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MZ
Senior Manager IT - Infrastructure at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
We Were Able To Cut Outage To A Maximum Of One Hour

Pros and Cons

  • "Virtual Machine Recovery during DR situation, with automation and easy to use menus and options."
  • "In my view, if VMware comes up with an appliance-based solution like vCenter Server (which was also Windows-based), it will be much easier for deployment. I"

What is most valuable?

Virtual Machine Recovery during DR situation, with automation and easy to use menus and options.

How has it helped my organization?

Earlier, in case of disaster or server failure we had to rebuild the whole server/virtual machine from scratch. This rebuilding process used to take anywhere from close to a day or more, affecting production time.

With VMware vSphere Replication and SRM combined, we were able to cut down outage windows to a maximum of one hour.

We are making good use of replicated VMs for testing of OS/application update, before applying same to the production environment.

What needs improvement?

In my view, if VMware comes up with an appliance-based solution like vCenter Server (which was also Windows-based), it will be much easier for deployment. It will also save Windows Server Operating System licensing costs, which for most of the organization recur annually.

For how long have I used the solution?

Around five years (maybe more, I can't recollect exactly).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not really for use and operation, but a version upgrade is a real problem. When upgrading to the latest version, there are always problems with the upgrade, normal functioning etc. Doing an upgrade is lot of hard work. Always had to rely on next minor upgrade.

VMware needs to do better software testing before release.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Very good. They are very eager to support the customer and, more than just wanting to close the ticket, they strive for customer satisfaction.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously we were not using any DR solution, but we are using Veeam along with SRM.

SRM is being used for far-end recovery whereby the DR site is in another city.

Veeam is being used for near-end recovery, whereby the DR server is located in the same datacenter. This is useful for VM level recovery, where only a VM or handful VMs or vDisks are affected.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. We kept the DC and DR servers together in the same datacentre during initial setup and VM syncing. After setup and syncing completion, we moved the DR server to the DR site.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Compare to hardware-based replication, I think software based replication is best and cheap. For a start, one can use vSphere Replication, which is available free of cost if vCenter is purchased for deploying a DR solution. It is very easy to deploy, though the recovery process will be manual. With SRM, the whole replication and recovery process can be automated for fast VM recovery.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

It’s a good product from VMware. Just ensure that for each version upgrade, be patient and look for reviews or, if possible, have a test (virtualized) environment for test deployment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user335949
Principal Analyst at a pharma/biotech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Video Review
Vendor
It helps execute a playbook to bring up your DR site after failing over a group of VMs to it, although I'd like more tools to help with editing the embedded databases.

What is most valuable?

Site Recovery Manager is valuable because it helps with the difficult problem of failing a group of virtual machines over to your DR site and bringing them up. Because there's things that must be changed in a machine in order to bring it up somewhere else like maybe its IP address or, you know, any slew of other things, the port groups or whatever it needs to be connected in, and you can either manually do all that by hand or you can program your recovery plan in Site Recovery Manager and it's pretty much, you know, menu driven because it's common things that you would have to do to a server in order to bring it up somewhere else, and you can go in there and you can actually have it prompt you to say oh, by the way, you need to turn on the database server before you turn on the next server. And it pauses and waits there so you can go over here and turn on your database server and then you click dismiss and it goes to the next step. Which you wrote all these steps into the Site Recovery Manager so that's what it does. Really helps execute a playbook for you to be able to help bring up your disaster recovery site.

How has it helped my organization?

You know, I've gone to a lot of Site Recovery Manager training here and stuff. One of the things that I think that they minimize is that normally you'll never use your DR site. But what you have to do every year is test your DR site.

What needs improvement?

Yeah, I would like more tools to help with editing the embedded databases. I have run into some issues where human error, not something that VMware themselves would have ever planned for, but human error, has caused the system to get out of sync. And the only way to correct that would be to actually manually edit the database, which you could do if Site Recovery Manager were on a Window server but now that everything's gone to this, Linux appliance, this sealed up appliance, it's very difficult to actually edit the database. Or maybe just have a reset button for them to be able to put everything back to a normal state. Maybe that's all they would need to do.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable product. It is as scalable as VMware is itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's really just an add on to the virtual center. It used to be responsible for replicating. It is no longer responsible for replicating. The replication portion of Site Recovery Manager has been moved to vSphere itself. A lot of people may not know this. So you do not need to buy Site Recovery Manager in order to replicate VMs around. You can do that for free. But the automation piece that I'm telling you about and the playbook and stuff is what you buy Site Recovery Manager for now.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was responsible for designing and implementing a DR solution for my company and being that we're on a VMware environment it seemed only logical to go to VMware first because all the machines that I need to put at my, disaster recovery site are virtual servers I was like well I'm sure VMware has a solution.

Being able to test the environment, being able to make the changes to the virtual servers so they could come up on a different network. I needed to be able to go in there and change things like the IP address, the DNS settings and stuff like that to be able for them to come up at a different location.

How was the initial setup?

Least favorite things about Site Recovery Manager. It is a little bit difficult to get it set up the first time you've ever just because it is so different.

What about the implementation team?

Actually paid a consultant to come out and help me, train me on how to install it the very first time I installed it three versions ago but I've done it enough now to where I'm comfortable with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, there weren't at the time I did it. I've been using Site Recovery Manager for several years so.

What other advice do I have?

I always think there's room for improvement. They would seriously need to sit down and take a machine. I want to bring this machine up over here on a different network at a different location. And write down all the steps that they would manually do if they were going to do this process by hand. And like I said the replication is free. So they could technically replicate that over there right now today, make a copy of it and go oh, okay, go bring it up over there and write down all the steps that you have to manually do and then multiply that times the number of machines that you have to do for your DR site. 

In my case it's about one hundred. I need to bring up about one hundred servers. Then you sit there and think to yourself okay, so, and you could just, you know, take your watch and say okay, I'm going to start now. I'm going to go over there and see what it takes to get this server up at the DR site. Oh, that took me about 20 minutes. Okay, well, then, you multiply that times a hundred and you're at 200- 2000 minutes, okay. So would you have 2000 minutes’ worth of time to go through and bring, you know, work on all these servers in the-in the case of a DR scenario. And if the answer's no, then you probably should look at something to help you out. Some tool to help you out with that and that's what Site Recovery Manager brings.

Everybody looks at reviews and I look at the negative reviews as well because I feel like sometimes that some of the positive reviews may not have been real but, up, people will always complain about something they don't like. They're the most vocal so for Site Recovery Manager I would probably type in Site Recovery Manager reviews into a search engine.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user240054
Technical Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It has done some rearranging of the recovery plans so that you can get better visibility into what is going on during a failure.
Originally posted https://theithollow.com/2015/08/31/vmware-site-recovery-manager-6-1-annouced/ VMware announced Site Recovery Manager version 6.1 this week at VMworld in San Francisco California. Several new features were unveiled for VMware’s flagship Disaster Recovery product. Storage Profile Protection Groups Remember back in the old days (prior to today), when deploying a new virtual machine we had to ensure the datastore we were putting the virtual machine on was replicated? Not only that, but if this new VM was part of a group of similar VMs that needed to fail over together, we needed to make sure it was in the same protection group? Well VMware decided this was a cumbersome process and added “Storage Profile Protection Groups”. In SRM 6.1 we…

Originally posted https://theithollow.com/2015/08/31/vmware-site-recovery-manager-6-1-annouced/

VMware announced Site Recovery Manager version 6.1 this week at VMworld in San Francisco California. Several new features were unveiled for VMware’s flagship Disaster Recovery product.

Storage Profile Protection Groups

Remember back in the old days (prior to today), when deploying a new virtual machine we had to ensure the datastore we were putting the virtual machine on was replicated? Not only that, but if this new VM was part of a group of similar VMs that needed to fail over together, we needed to make sure it was in the same protection group? Well VMware decided this was a cumbersome process and added “Storage Profile Protection Groups”.

In SRM 6.1 we will use storage profiles to map datastores with protection groups. Now we’ll be able to deploy a VM and select a storage profile to automatically place the VM in the correct datastore and even better, configure protection for the virtual machine.

Orchestrated vMotion in Active-Active Datacenters

Yeah, you kind of expected something like this right? VMware announced long distance vMotion and cross vCenter vMotions with vSphere 6.0 last VMworld. We can now start doing live migrations between physical locations so why not add this to the disaster recovery orchestration engine?

I think this new feature might be very useful for some companies that routinely deal with disasters where there is some warning, like a hurricane. Prior to SRM 6.1 you would have been able to do a planned failover through a previous version of SRM, but it would have required a small amount of downtime. You might also have been able to do a long distance vMotion but this would have been some manual or scripted work. With SRM 6.1 the planned failover could be done in an orchestrated fashion with zero downtime!

OK, you’ve probably got some questions about this, lets see if I can knock out a few of them.

Question 1: What if my virtual machine has a lot of RAM and vMotions could take a very long time? Do I have to vMotion them for planned migrations?

Answer 1: Nope! If you have certain VMs that you know you never want to vMotion during your planned migration, you’ll have the option to select the VM and disable the vMotion option during protection.

Question 2: What about the network?

Answer 2: Yeah, the network needs to be the same on both vCenters or your VM won’t be able to communicate with the rest of the network anymore. This is the same as a normal vMotion. SRM will be able to change IP Addresses like it always has, but this requires a small amount of downtime as you might guess.

Question 3: Do I have two different planned recovery options then?

Answer 3: There is one planned recovery still, but now there is an option to enable the vMotion of eligible VMs.

vCenter Spanned NSX Integration

The last main feature of the product is its integration with the NSX product. You used to have to explicitly map each VM with a recovery network. Now in SRM 6.1 if you’re using NSX on both vCenters and the NSX networks are the same on each, SRM will map these networks for you. (yes, you can override this mapping if you need).

Other Notes

SRM 6.1 has also done some rearranging of the recovery plans so that you can get better visibility into what is going on during a failure. If you’ve ever had to troubleshoot a failover this is a great addition to help narrow down the problem. It also provides more places to but scripts into your failover, which is welcomed.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Roger Nurse
VMware NSX T/V Consulting Engineer /Solutions Architect at Plan IT Virtual, LLC
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
The solution allows organizations to have a solid business continuity plan but some research needed for configuration

What is most valuable?

Integrated replication / recovery plan ease of use and creation.

Running Production out of DR site


How has it helped my organization?

This product allows organizations to have a solid BC business continuity plan in place in case of disaster. By running regularly scheduled simulated test fail overs a business can realistically plan accordingly and customize their DR strategy.


What needs improvement?

Perhaps the array replication or vm guest customization features. Perhaps more features are needed to allow

For recovering VMs in situations where replication on production site has been paused for (ie: 1 week or more)

For how long have I used the solution?

4 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment is fairly straight forward but it still requires a good amount of VMware experience on the architecture side to properly deploy and scale.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues. Product is fairly stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues. This product scales according to licenses purchased.

SRM 5.8 scales very well as compared to v5.5

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

VMware customer service is great.

Technical Support:

VMware technical support really delivers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously used Netbackup and Avamar.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is straight-forward but you need to really do some research on prerequisite environment config needed for this product to work as developed.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house and on-site in customer environments.

What was our ROI?

100% ROI.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Other options evaluated were EMC Avamar and Symantec Netbackup.

What other advice do I have?

You should aspire to be really well versed on supporting this product you need to have in-house engineers that are well rounded in the networking, storage and operational aspects of vSphere/vCenter/SRM. I would recommend getting hands-on training through a VMware a Partner before implementing this product in your environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user320220
System Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It provides a fast recovery time with easy access to history, but there can be stability issues.

What is most valuable?

Fast recovery time Ease of use

How has it helped my organization?

Easy to use Easy to document Easy to report Easy access to history

What needs improvement?

I can’t think of any right now, honestly.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would give it a 7/10 for stability. It can be really bad, but generally fine, and we look at the availability when choosing new products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It does have some limitations, but I would give it a 6/10.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. It’s just luck of the draw.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Zerto. We switched because VMware only has a…

What is most valuable?

  • Fast recovery time
  • Ease of use

How has it helped my organization?

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to document
  • Easy to report
  • Easy access to history

What needs improvement?

I can’t think of any right now, honestly.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would give it a 7/10 for stability. It can be really bad, but generally fine, and we look at the availability when choosing new products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It does have some limitations, but I would give it a 6/10.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. It’s just luck of the draw.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Zerto. We switched because VMware only has a single point of support, as we needed to move forward with better products.

How was the initial setup?

It was fairly straightforward, I would give it a 7/10.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Cisco – I’m not sure, it was there before I was there.

What other advice do I have?

You have to pick whatever it best for their environment and their applications. That solution has to be able to fit, and VMware fit into ours.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Systems Engineer with 51-200 employees
MSP
It provides us with business continuity and disaster recovery, although it's not fully storage agnostic and there are versioning issues.

Valuable Features

It’s expensive, and we also use Zerto, but good for disaster recovery testing.

Improvements to My Organization

Business continuity and disaster recovery, although it’s not fully storage agnostic like Zerto, and we’ve moved away a bit because we use other services for our clients.

Room for Improvement

I haven’t yet checked out latest version because we’ve been moving away from it, stuck using it for replication clients and it doesn’t work with all storage vendors. There are issues with versioning.

Stability Issues

It works great, and does what it’s supposed to. Easy to do disaster revovery test without affecting production.

Scalability Issues

It's easy to scale, just limited to storage vendors.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Never needed it.

Initial Setup

It’s a little complex. Just follow the instructions, but it’s not too complicated once you get connectivity, and it requires multiple vCenters, so that can make it more costly.

Other Advice

Zerto may be more cost efficient, so I’m not 100% sold, and may not need it at all.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Administrator and Sr. VMware Engineer at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
It has a detailed and comprehensive policy-based control.
Originally published in Spanish at https://www.rhpware.com/2015/09/vmware-site-recovery-manager-61 It is well known that VMware Site Recovery Manager is a high availability solution for applications and data transfer in private cloud environments. This is accomplished using isolation and encapsulation of virtual machines, resulting in simplified automation of the processes involved in replication to remote sites. Thus, SRM reduces the costs associated with obtaining efficient Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), providing a robust and standardized solution for business continuity and dramatically reduce the risk of data loss in our VMware virtualized data centers. Among the features offered by SRM is the ability to create and maintain disaster recovery plans more effective, which do not use…

Originally published in Spanish at https://www.rhpware.com/2015/09/vmware-site-recovery-manager-61

It is well known that VMware Site Recovery Manager is a high availability solution for applications and data transfer in private cloud environments. This is accomplished using isolation and encapsulation of virtual machines, resulting in simplified automation of the processes involved in replication to remote sites. Thus, SRM reduces the costs associated with obtaining efficient Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), providing a robust and standardized solution for business continuity and dramatically reduce the risk of data loss in our VMware virtualized data centers.

Among the features offered by SRM is the ability to create and maintain disaster recovery plans more effective, which do not use written procedures and maintenance costs that this entails, as well as automated processes generate maintenance and testing, which allows our environment thoroughly tested before the event of a disaster.

But these are general skills that we already know and VMware Site Recovery Manager, now is time to see that brought back the brand new version 6.1 of the product. We are going to analyze in further detail what is each of them.

Storage Profile Based Protection

SRM 6.1 incorporates a new type of group policy-based protection. These groups use Storage Profiles provided by vSphere to identify and protect the datastores and virtual machines. This automates the process of adding or removing the protection of VMs and datastores fully integrated and allowing these tasks to monitor vRealize Automation, for example.

Protection groups based storage policies uses vSphere tags (ability to attach metadata inventory of vSphere) with policies, allowing vSphere administrator automate the provisioning of virtual machines meeting the requirements of performance, availability and protection.


The way to do this is:

• Create a tag and associate with datastores in each protection group

• Then, an associate for each protection group policy is created using this tag

• Finally, the protection group is created and associated with the storage policy created in the previous step

Thus, when a virtual machine is associated with this policy it will automatically be protected by SRM. Just simple.

Extended Storage and vMotion orchestration

Site Recovery Manager 6.1 is now a complete solution optimized for both the multi-storage as well as to migrate from one place to another, and can also fulfill the function of disaster recovery. In previous versions this was not possible in one product simultaneously. SRM 6.1 supports vMotion between remote vCenters with stretched storage, with the benefits this brings.

This integration allows you to integrate SRM with stretched storage, which could previously only be achieved using vSphere Metro Storage Clusters. The advantages of this new system are:

• Maintenance downtime is eliminated. Recovery plans and orchestration between sites allow vMotion migration of workloads completely transparent to the end user and applications

• Disaster downtime is eliminated. Hot migration of using vMotion between remote sites allows Site Recovery Manager 6.1 eliminate downtime associated with recovery

Having stretched storage added to the deployment of Site Recovery Manager exponentially reduces recovery time in the event of disasters, as workloads are migrated hot, uninterrupted by presenting the same storage architecture at both sites by using synchronous replication, allowing registered and lighted move VMs transparently.

Improved integration with VMware NSX

It is no surprise that VMware leads the integration of network virtualization with NSX to all its products, and SRM is no exception. But let's see why.

As in every event of disaster recovery it should be taken into account and fine-tuned the specifics of the network, such as maintaining consistency in IP addresses, firewalls and routing rules previously set, opening ports and other vital aspects. To this we must add that the use of vMotion between vCenters remote requires a Layer 2 network complexity increases significantly.

Now with the availability of newly released NSX 6.2 and many new features were added, Site Recovery Manager is benefited greatly. Now you can use both products together quickly to maintain perfect consistency and efficient networking between sites and perform the migration automatically without worrying about specific aspects of the network, as it has resolved NSX.

In NSX 6.2 can create Universal Logical Switches. Such switches can create Layer 2 networks that exceed the limits of vCenter, which means that when these switches are used with NSX will create a protected port groups connected to the same Layer 2 network.

Thus, when virtual machines are connected to these port groups of a Universal Logical Switch, SRM 6.1 will automatically recognize and not the manual mapping of networks between protected sites will be required. Site Recovery Manager intelligently recognize that it is the same logical network connecting both sites maintain cohesion by creating a single network protected.

This ability to create a Layer 2 network beyond the limits of vCenter eliminates the need to reconfigure IP addresses in case of failure reducing by more than 40% recovery time. In addition, security policies and security groups, firewall rules and edge configurations are preserved in the virtual machines recovered, gaining even more time after a recovery event.

We now know that NSX 6.2 also supports synchronization rules firewalls as well as routing information. This makes it easy to ensure that the configurations in a production network and recovery are kept synchronized making it much easier to create a safe isolation between sites non-disruptively for testing recovery plans.

The implicit network resources mapping, extended capabilities of layer 2 and the testing capacity provided by NSX in conjunction with Site Recovery Manager, added to protection groups based policies radically simplify the administration and operation, low costs associated operations, increased testing capabilities and dramatically reduces recovery times.

Conclusion

As you can see, Site Recovery Manager 6.1 introduces fundamental characteristics that achieve levels of automation until now never seen on the platform, as well as a detailed and comprehensive policy-based control that seamlessly integrate with NSX offer really amazing capabilities face events and disaster recovery between them and turn everything can be done in half the time it took before. We must also not forget the support on extended storage vMotion, which also significantly reduces time and can achieve much lower RTO.

Thanks for reading the article and if you wish you can collaborate sharing on your social networks.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user297132
Presales Cloud Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
With it, we're able to perform disaster recovery for different site, but there are issues with synchronization.

Improvements to My Organization

It gives us a disaster recovery solution for different sites.

Room for Improvement

It looks good, but synchronization is, sometimes, a problem. Hence it should be totally dependent on storage.

Use of Solution

I've used it for three years.

Stability Issues

We faced issues as it is highly dependent on the platform in use.

Customer Service and Technical Support

It's very good.

Initial Setup

It was complex as it does not include a good, extensive feasibility and compatibility guide.

Implementation Team

We used a vendor team who were very good.

ROI

It is quite good on ROI and year on year it is about 50%.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

vCloud SRM is a good solution, but it is costly when compared to other solutions like Nutanix.

Other Solutions Considered

We didn't evaluate other solutions.

Other Advice

Choosing VMware in general, is best in terms of functionality, but it is not necessarily cost effective, as their licensing and setup costs are too hight. Maybe we will see more products for cloud and automation.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: VMware Partners
it_user186366
Senior System Engineer at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Being able to test run in a protected environment is a valuable feature while vSphere Replication needs work

What is most valuable?

Test run in protected environment

How has it helped my organization?

More confidence over DR services

What needs improvement?

vSphere Replication feature

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had an issue with the Array SRA.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a problem connecting to the SRM plug-in.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Good. Technical Support: Average.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No previous solution used.

How was the initial setup?

Initial set-up was straightforward.

What about

What is most valuable?

Test run in protected environment

How has it helped my organization?

More confidence over DR services

What needs improvement?

vSphere Replication feature

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had an issue with the Array SRA.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a problem connecting to the SRM plug-in.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good.

Technical Support:

Average.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No previous solution used.

How was the initial setup?

Initial set-up was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor that was good.

What other advice do I have?

Do a POC whilst keeping the environmental constraints in mind.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
We're able to restore the files from SRM with minimal downtime.

What is most valuable?

Cost

How has it helped my organization?

We have had some customers that were hit with some random wear and we were able to restore the files from SRM with minimal downtime.

What needs improvement?

Nothing I have run into as of yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

About 8 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

It was deployed prior to my arrival with the company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None encountered.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We use several solutions. We determine what is best for the customer and…

What is most valuable?

Cost

How has it helped my organization?

We have had some customers that were hit with some random wear and we were able to restore the files from SRM with minimal downtime.

What needs improvement?

Nothing I have run into as of yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

About 8 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

It was deployed prior to my arrival with the company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None encountered.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We use several solutions. We determine what is best for the customer and present them with the solutions we believe fit their needs best.

What other advice do I have?

Do an analysis of what you need. Weigh the pros and cons of each solution and use what is going to work best for you.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: VMWare Partner
it_user175104
Associate Consultant with 51-200 employees
Vendor
You avoid costly and time consuming DR recovery tests but vSphere needs additional scalability for smaller sites

What is most valuable?

Key feature for me is the ability to test recovery plans with zero impact to the production running environment, this is key for 'what-if’ type analysis and to provide confidence that the platform can be recovered with minimal intervention.

How has it helped my organization?

Organisations that have implemented SRM in my experience have confidence that their mission critical systems will be recovered within the given SLA in the event of a planned or unplanned availability event. This avoids costly and time consuming DR recovery tests which are also often unrepresentative of the real scenario.

What needs improvement?

Smaller sites or sites with mixed storage platforms rely on vSphere replication for DR purposes so additional scalability in this tool would benefit from this.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have designed and implemented 3 solutions with this product over the last 3 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

More around vSphere replication than SRM

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

VMware Tech Support is excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For VMware environments there is no other option for integrated/automated DR other than 'roll your own.'

How was the initial setup?

SRM setup is straight forward, SRA (storage integration) can be more complex depending on the array in question.

What about the implementation team?

I was working for the vendor.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Consider your storage design and replication policy first and as always make sure you review VMware documentation and HCL for compatibility.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user175035
System Engineer at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Easily create test environments with the SRM test functionality but auto guest customizations through a GUI is missing

What is most valuable?

The automatic activation of the storage volumes and bringing up all VM’s. The recovery plans and resource mapping are good features.

With the resource mapping we can use different networks to bring up our VM’s

How has it helped my organization?

We can easily create a test environment with the SRM testing functionality, also in combination with EMC recoverpoint we can start up a virtual machine to a given point in time.

What needs improvement?

Automatic guest customizations through a GUI is a missing feature. Also the new version of SRM is web-only and is not that stable as the old client version.

We had couple of times that the web interface crashed and needed to restart the services.

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, but the new web client is sometime ‘buggy.'

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

We needed to use customer service a couple of times while upgrading versions but all went fine.

Technical Support:

8/10

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No previous solution used.

How was the initial setup?

It wasn't complex.

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor team and their expertise was good.

What was our ROI?

This product makes it easy for us to have a managed DR. Also the point in time functionality to bring up vm’s is a cost-saving method for us during the upgrade / testing period.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Read and follow the admin guide, otherwise when you miss a step you can search long time. Also use the correct storage adapter of your storage vendor.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user174720
Owner with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Implementation is not difficult as long as you know the business requirements

What is most valuable?

Disaster recovery of a failed site.

How has it helped my organization?

None, I implement this product for customers.

What needs improvement?

Storage integration.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The integration (SRA’s) with storage and it’s versions.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: 9 out of 10. Technical Support: 9 out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Just a regular backup product. But this wasn't a disaster recovery solution.

How was the initial setup?

What is most valuable?

Disaster recovery of a failed site.

How has it helped my organization?

None, I implement this product for customers.

What needs improvement?

Storage integration.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The integration (SRA’s) with storage and it’s versions.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

9 out of 10.

Technical Support:

9 out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Just a regular backup product. But this wasn't a disaster recovery solution.

How was the initial setup?

A SRM implementation is not difficult. Getting the business requirements is more of a challenge.

What about the implementation team?

I was the implementor.

What was our ROI?

For most customers about 2 years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don’t know as it depends on the customer.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Nope, I was asked to implement this solution.

What other advice do I have?

Know your business requirements.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: VMWare Partner
it_user166617
Senior IT Infrastructure Solutions at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Able to provide customers with required RPO, not possible with traditional backup solutions. Stability could be better.

What is most valuable?

Instant VMware integration and a wide integration with storage vendors.

How has it helped my organization?

The company was able to provide customers with the required RPO that was not possible with traditional backup solutions.

What needs improvement?

Stability, speed.

For how long have I used the solution?

4 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Bugs bugs bugs...

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes the vm would not failover.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No backwards compatibility of different versions, this made scaling a bit difficult as we needed to upgrade existing infrastructure all the time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer…

What is most valuable?

Instant VMware integration and a wide integration with storage vendors.

How has it helped my organization?

The company was able to provide customers with the required RPO that was not possible with traditional backup solutions.

What needs improvement?

Stability, speed.

For how long have I used the solution?

4 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Bugs bugs bugs...

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes the vm would not failover.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No backwards compatibility of different versions, this made scaling a bit difficult as we needed to upgrade existing infrastructure all the time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

3/10, VMware support was not really proficient in the product, as most of the time we would give them the solution.

Technical Support:

3/10, VMware support was not really proficient in the product, as most of the time we would give them the solutio

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

How was the initial setup?

The integration with EMC recoverpoint was problematic in the beginning, with vm's not failing over all the time and slow recover times.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, Zerto, Veeam.

What other advice do I have?

POC and test.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I've worked on projects for various companies including competitors such as HP
it_user166620
Senior IT Virtualization Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Easy to use and with lowest RPO can protect the main site; add a function to detect the business critical applications.

What is most valuable?

Centralized recovery plans for thousands of VMs, Non-disruptive recovery testing, Automated DR workflows.

How has it helped my organization?

Lowers the cost of DR management, Eliminates clexity and risk of manual processes, Enables fast and highly predictable RTOs.

What needs improvement?

In my opinion if Vmware added some function to detect the business critical applications like oracle, exchange to help monitor these applications for disaster recovery .

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years on many international projects.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

In the earlier versions I had some issue, however all of them resolved now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent, I had some issues for trouble shooting which was far from my knowledge and vmware customer service remotely solved the problem.

Technical Support:

Excellent

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Yes, I used other products like Storage replications or some other software like "double take.” The problem with storage replication was that it was so risky and unstable to manually bring the application up on DR site, besides taking more time to restore.

Other software, like double take, we needed to do lot of effort on each application separately which makes the solution more complex.

How was the initial setup?

In some basic installations, it is very straightforward, but for enterprise customers it makes sense to do some extra steps to protect applications and boot order.

What about the implementation team?

Both, In my experience vendor teams like HP, EMC or net app, didn’t have much experience with this product, especially for the last 5 years, I mainly have to help them understand the solution.

What was our ROI?

Based on average of downtime cost on DR and how automation can help to bring the business on, SRM can reduce the cost nearly 50 percent; moreover you don’t need to have SAN storage on DR.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Setup cost was based on number of vms and protection plan, and if communication DR site has no any issue, within two weeks all setup can normally be finished and cost is around $300- $350 per day.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For some customer who want to protect small number of of applications, I will recommend to go with vendor disaster recovery solution, like Oracle data guard for oracle DB or Microsoft exchange replication or SQL log shipping for Microsoft SQL products.

What other advice do I have?

Vmware SRM can handle all of the challenge of replication and disaster recovery in a simple way.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user165579
Senior Systems Engineer at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The setup documentation needs to be improved greatly but the ability to support DR is valuable to our organization.

What is most valuable?

Ability to support DR.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a fully functioning DR environment.

What needs improvement?

The setup documentation needs to be improved greatly.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Only the fact that I had scour the Internet to find the proper setup information.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Average. Technical Support: Well the tech I spoke to did not know how the setup should be implemented, until I found the literature myself.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Did not…

What is most valuable?

Ability to support DR.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a fully functioning DR environment.

What needs improvement?

The setup documentation needs to be improved greatly.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Only the fact that I had scour the Internet to find the proper setup information.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Average.

Technical Support:

Well the tech I spoke to did not know how the setup should be implemented, until I found the literature myself.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Did not use a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Complex - settings for the sql db were not documented - had to search a lot for those.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the product.

What was our ROI?

Very good - we have a DR platform that we've tested with a live production workflow.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No others were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Gather the proper setup information.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ed Utz
Senior Consultant at a recruiting/HR firm with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The recovery plans and customization options are great. I also the love the re-protect feature for easier fallback.

What is most valuable?

The recovery plans and customization options. I also the love the re-protect feature for easier fallback.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to migrate 100 virtual servers to our St. Louis office with very little downtime.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the database come built-in to the product. I would also prefer to the SRM server come as a virtual appliance instead of a windows vm. I would also like to see a way to control bandwidth usage.

For how long have I used the solution?

3 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, the process is very well documented.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, but you need to have a good understanding of your bandwidth between sites. SRM does not have a native way to throttle bandwidth usage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent.

Technical Support:

Excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We looked at various types of solutions like Veeam, DoubleTake and Neverfail.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

We were able to reduce the cost of our overall DR infrastructure while increase our recovery time. We are seeing a 25% return.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, Veeam, Neverfail and DoubleTake.

What other advice do I have?

Take the time to understand your change rate of your servers, your bandwidth capabilities and the recovery objects for your DR plan.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
SRM - standard disaster recovery for VMware
Most VMware administrators have heard of Site Recovery Manager (SRM). SRM has been the standard in disaster recovery for some time. It plays into VMware’s parent company’s (EMC) product line, traditionally leveraging storage based replication. This architecture leverages write journaling technology we spoke of in our first article in the series, so Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) could be very aggressive. The down side to this architecture is that the customer has to have similar storage arrays at both the production and disaster recovery site. If for example the customer had a fiber channel array on the production side, and a lower grade NFS array from a different vendor on the other side SRM was not compatible Bummer… VMware however…

Most VMware administrators have heard of Site Recovery Manager (SRM). SRM has been the standard in disaster recovery for some time. It plays into VMware’s parent company’s (EMC) product line, traditionally leveraging storage based replication. This architecture leverages write journaling technology we spoke of in our first article in the series, so Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) could be very aggressive.

The down side to this architecture is that the customer has to have similar storage arrays at both the production and disaster recovery site. If for example the customer had a fiber channel array on the production side, and a lower grade NFS array from a different vendor on the other side SRM was not compatible Bummer…

VMware however released vSphere replication in the vSphere 5 family suite and allowed administrators to replicate their virtual machines without common storage subsystems. What this means is that you could have your traditional fibre channel SAN on the production side, and NFS, or internal storage on your disaster recovery site. The underlying storage type is completely irrelevant as long as the workload is supported. This is a gift for DR budgets everywhere. Additionally you can recover to previous points in time using snapshots at the recovery site much the same as you would use a traditional snapshot.

SRM in thie configuration sits on top of the vSphere replication instead of RPAs that are common in array to array based architectures. These replication appliances are Linux virtual machines that are deployed in the VMware environment. I will give VMware a large amount of credit here, where some competing technologies are cumbersome to install, vSphere replication installation takes only a few mouse clicks. Your vSphere replication appliances are functional in just a few minutes. Replication can be configured through the VMware fat client or the web client.

So what’s the catch? vSphere replication would fall into the snap and replicate category. This means that RTOs and RPOs wont be as aggressive as with array to array based replciation, or hypervisor technologies that use write journaling. The current RTOs and RPOs that can be achieved by vSphere replication with SRM over vSphere replication is 15 minutes. There are rumors that this will be coming down to 5 minutes in the future, but it’s only a rumor at this point. Also if you are trying to move to the web client then you will dismayed to learn that SRM can still only be managed through the VMware fat client. I don’t know to many administrators that are excited about the web client, but it’s a relevant piece of information for your day to day work.

So what about the licensing and additional costs? There are pros and cons to the vSphere replication / SRM model.

The virtual appliances are Linux based – pro

This means there aren’t additional Windows licenses required to operate the environment. Some of the other products use Windows based virtual appliances. When you have to stand up more Windows servers you have to patch and manage them, this adds to the cost of the solution. SRM can generally be installed on your Windows system that vCenter runs on. If you’re using the Linux based vCenter appliance SRM isn’t compatable. I would expect this to be resolved soon as VMware is trying to eliminate the need for Windows systems in the environment.

The base vSphere replication is free – pro

Yes you heard that correct, vSphere replication is free. If you have lower priority virtual machines you don’t have to buy SRM licenses. This means you can save money and buy only the SRM licenses (sold in packs of 25) for your mission critical VMs.

SRM is the orchestration tool on top of vSpherer replication – nutural

SRM and all of it’s power can be scoped down to only the systems you need it for. I personally like the flexability and choice, most companies don’t need to replicate all of their virtual machines with very tight RTOs and RPOs. If you are trying to replicate your entire VMware environment, you maybe better off with a solution that licenses by socket as it maybe more cost effective.

Snap and replicate technology – con

At the end of the day snap and replicate technologies are limited. Because the recovered virtual machine ends up with snapshots scalability can be an issue. Let’s look at an example.

VMware recommends that you only have 21 snapshots at a maximum using vSphere replication. More snapshots than this can lead to snapshot consolidation issues. If you wanted to have a recovery point every hour, you wouldn’t be able to recover your virtual machine to a point further back than 21 hours. This a limitation of any snaphost based replication technology not a defiency with in SRM or vSphere replication.

Scalability – neutral

The upper limit to SRM with vSphere replication is 1000 virtual machines. This will suit most enterprises; however, for very large scale deployments this may not be enough. SRM with storage array replication for example can support up to 1500 vitual machines. This limit is roughly about what you would get with any other snap and replication technology. In my personal experience Veeam starts to have problems after 300 virtual machines in a single instance.

Speaking of Veeam this is the next technology that we will discuss. Veeam is a good product that not only provides DR capabilities, but also a very mature backup solution. Join us for our next article in the series.

Originally published here: https://simplecontinuity.com/dr-for-vmware-srm-on-vsphere-replication/

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
VMware SRM vs. Veeam vs. Zerto
Disaster recovery planning is something that seems challenging for all businesses. Virtualization in addition to its operational flexibility, and cost reduction benefits, has helped companies improve their DR posture. Virtualization has made it easier to move machines from production to recovery sites, but many of the disaster recovery tools today still function at the storage layer. Legacy technologies like storage array snapshots, and LUN based replication restrict the configuration options of upstream technologies like VMware Storage DRS. If you wanted to replicate a virtual machine you had to replicate the entire LUN is resided on. You weren’t free to leverage Storage DRS for its automated performance balancing features because a VM could be migrated from one LUN mucking…

Disaster recovery planning is something that seems challenging for all businesses. Virtualization in addition to its operational flexibility, and cost reduction benefits, has helped companies improve their DR posture. Virtualization has made it easier to move machines from production to recovery sites, but many of the disaster recovery tools today still function at the storage layer. Legacy technologies like storage array snapshots, and LUN based replication restrict the configuration options of upstream technologies like VMware Storage DRS. If you wanted to replicate a virtual machine you had to replicate the entire LUN is resided on. You weren’t free to leverage Storage DRS for its automated performance balancing features because a VM could be migrated from one LUN mucking up your storage based replication.

Fortunately over the past few years there’s been great advancement in hypervisor based replication technologies. There’s a wealth of competing products vying for customer attention. As always competition drives innovation and value for the consumer. This will be the first of a 4 part blog series that looks at various hypervisor based disaster recovery products. Note this isn’t a review of backup products which is a separate category, we are looking at products specifically designed to assist companies in a disaster scenario.

Before talking about products; however, we should understand their underlying architectures, and how it relates to their storage based predecessors. Like storage based technologies hypervisor based replication technologies currently come in two flavors:

Snap and replicate

Write journaling

These technologies should be very familiar to storage administrators. Write journaling is a newer technology, and the market leader is currently EMC’s Recover Point product. Different storage arrays all have slightly different terms for snap and replicate technologies, but the principals are the same. It’s important to understand this because the technologies will dictate how tightly you can define your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).

First we will cover snap and replicate technologies. Snap and replicate at the hypervisor level works similarly to its storage counterpart. Instead of taking a snapshot of a storage LUN on a scheduled basis VMware takes a snapshot of the virtual machine’s disks on a scheduled basis. This allows products to copy those disks off of the primary storage media to a secondary location. A nice benefit about using VMware snap and replicate technologies is that you can use completely different types of storage systems on the product and DR systems. You can you and enterprise class SAN in the production datacenter, and internal storage if desired at the disaster recovery location. As long as the storage subsystem is supported by VMware, and has the proper performance characteristics the technology works. Typically a technology called change block tracking keeps track of any data that may change during the backup window.

Write splitting is the second technology we will examine. Like snap and replicate technologies write splitting at the hypervisor level doesn’t require the same storage type at the primary and secondary sites. Write splitting at the hypervisor level is a fairly new technology, but it’s been developed by the same team that developed write splitting at the storage layer. When I evaluate a technology I like to know there’s a history of success from the team that’s created it.

Virtual machine write journaling works differently than storage based write journaling. Instead of having a physical appliance that sits in front of your storage arrays the write splitting occurs inside the ESXi kernel. Because the technology is splitting every write there are some significant technical benefits. As a general rule snap and replicate technologies can in best case scenarios only achieve 15 minutes RTOs and RPOs. White journaling under best case scenarios can deliver RTOs and RPOs from 5 to 10 seconds.

While there is certainly an RTO and RPO benefit to the write journaling technology there are other things to consider. Hero numbers are great for the marketing team, but anyone who’s worked in operations knows what really matters about the product generally isn’t on a spec sheet. All of the products we will talk about work differently, but they all seek to achieve the same result. The supporting infrastructure and associated management costs for all of these products is critical.

Every technology we’re examining works on a management server / replication server architecture. Some of these packages use Windows proxies while other products use Linux based proxies. Consider if you’re planning a massive DR project what if there are dozens of Windows licenses you have to account for, time to patch and manage those virtual machines, etc. If you fall into the scope of PCI you will most likely be required to manage anti-virus, and some sort of log monitoring on all those windows servers; whereas, on Linux systems anti-virus is more of an “option” according to PCI. Also Linux has native syslog capabilities built in whereas Windows does not. All of these factors can add to or reduce the total cost of ownership of a disaster recovery product.

Through the rest of this series we will look at three products that are the leaders in the disaster recovery space for VMware.

VMware SRM running (on top of vSphere replication)

Veeam Backup and Recovery

Zerto Virtual Replication

Without saying another factor to consider is price for the solution. Generally the tighter the RTO and RPO the solution provides the more expensive it will be. However list pricing isn’t always cut and dry when considering total cost of owner ship added to the cost of potential gains in RTO and RPO. In addition various software vendors pricing models lend them to a specific virtual machine configuration. If you have a virtual environment with fewer larger servers product X maybe more favorable from a cost perspective. If you have a virtual environment with smaller server product Y’s pricing model maybe more favorable.

View the above chart of the quick and dirty of the three technologies we will be diving into over the next few weeks in our series.

Disaster recovery is a challenging project, but thankfully there are more options than ever for businesses to select from. Many of them are technically sound and will accomplish business goals. Many times it comes down to selecting the right architecture and price model for your business.

Originally published here: https://simplecontinuity.com/disaster-recovery-for-vmware

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.