Objective 4.4– Configure and manage vSphere Replication

Configure and manage a vSphere Replication infrastructure

vSphere Replication can be configured to replicate to another vCenter server, but also to cloud service provider’s facility.

You can also configure vSphere Replication with a single vCenter which is what I am planning on doing in this post.

  •  Create a static DNS record (forward and reverse) for the VR appliance.
  • Deploy the vSphere Replication OVF by selecting your ESXi Host> Actions > Deploy OVF template.
  • Chose some meaningful name and chose a folder. As this is my lab environment I choose 2 vCPU.

vr1

  • Select the host to deploy into (if DRS is not enabled)
  • Select the storage to deploy onto
  • Select the disk type (Thin, Thick LZ or Thick EZ)
  • Select the Portgroup
  • Next screen we chose our network configuration and Static IP (default is DHCP).

vr2

  • Next enter a new root password and configure the IP

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  • Next screen shows the service binding and status (green hopefully).

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  • Review and select Finish.

Next step is to configure the VR appliance by going to the IP address followed by port 5480 and logging in with the root account (the password you created when deploying the OVF).

https://jc-vr-01:5480

You’ll end up on this page:

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First you must go to the networking TAB where you’ll have to change to the Address sub-tab

Add in the FQDN details and domain name then hit the save button to confirm the changes.

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Reload your vSphere web client and you should find a new icon in there.

Configuring the replication for a VM

To replicate a VM right click on the VM > All vSphere Replication Actions.

vr8

 

On the first screen you can see the option to replicate to a cloud provider (not selected by default), let’s click Configure Replication:

vr9

Stepping through this wizard will ask you to select to target site (from this screen you can add remote sites),  pick the Replication server, select the terget datastore (we can specify if you want thick or thin disks and also which storage policy you want. On next screen there is a quiescing option (Microsoft VSS) which allows supported quiescing method for Microsft’s OS. But you should know that when chosing the VSS there is a performance impact so better test it if you really need it (for your application).

The screen with Recovery settings allows to specify a RPO which is something finally which gets our interest as that’s why the whole replication is about. 15 min is the lowest interval, so you basically can lose at most 15′ of data if you go with this option.

Checking the Enable box for Point in time instances allows specifying how many restore points you want to keep. There might be a situation where some of your data got corrupted (virus, malware or any other problem). So it’s a good idea to keep some more restore points.

Here you will have to make a decision perhaps. Depending on your situation. The decision points:

  • How many VMs will replicate?
  • Which RPO?
  • What’s the bandwidth?
  • How many data can you lose?
  • Do you have enough disk space at the destination?

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That’s All. You now successfully configured a replication for your VM.

Monitoring of vSphere Replication

Select vCenter server > Monitor > vSphere Replication > Outgoing Replication.

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You’ll see the details when you click on the VM. As you can see the initial replication is taking place, and you can see how many data was already pushed to the other datastore (or in my case that Replication is not active)

There is also some very cool reporting:

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vSphere Replication, the 5.8 release allows 15 min RPO at minimum. It’s certainly good enough for most cases, but as you possibly know other options might be better in case you have a really business critical VM.