VMware Site Recovery VMworld 2017 Session

During VMworld 2017 I shared a tech preview, with GS Khalsa, of the VMware Site Recovery service that’s now available as an add-on to VMware Cloud on AWS. While we’ve already made several enhancements to the service, over and above what you’ll see in the tech preview, I think it still illustrates many of the exciting new options available with VMware Site Recovery today!

Check out the session online

VMware Cloud on AWS Storage Deep-Dive

At VMworld earlier this year I presented a deep-dive on vSAN storage for VMware Cloud on AWS with Matt Amdur. This was an interesting topic as we’d had to deliver some enhancements to vSAN for deployment onto the Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances, now that they’ve been released there are a few more public details that can be shared!

At VMworld we covered a few key topics including the host and cluster configuration on EC2 Bare Metal instances, how we were operating the storage in AWS that would be a little different from how on-premises customers would operate, and a few peaks into the unique features delivered for VMware Cloud on AWS and a look into our plans.

At the recent re:Invent conference, AWS launched their new EC2 Bare Metal instances. VMware were early customers of this instance and worked collaboratively with AWS to ensure the new bare metal platform was a good platform for running ESXi and vSAN. With the launch of the solution, AWS was more open about talking details on their platform. Check out the session by Aaron Blassius and Matt Wilson sharing details on the new platform we are using for VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Cloud on AWS – Disaster Recovery and other use cases

I was lucky enough to be able to share some details about the new VMware Site Recovery service at the AWS re:Invent conference alongside Wen Yu. In the VMware Cloud on AWS technical deep dive and native service integration session we covered some key use cases customers are looking to address with VMware Cloud on AWS including:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Database Migration
  • Securing web/content management

Check out the session (recorded the day before the official launch) on Youtube

Launch Often! VMware Cloud on AWS

At VMworld, back in August, the first version of VMware Cloud on AWS was launched. Now three months later we’re doing it again! As the Product Manager owning the storage and disaster recovery initiatives it’s been a great experience to work with the joint VMware and AWS teams as we delivered the storage platform for VMware Cloud on AWS (built with vSAN), and are now delivering new Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities with VMware Site Recovery.

Delivering improved resiliency and DR options has been an important focus for VMware Cloud on AWS. This new capability allows customers to protect their mission-critical workloads running on-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS, or vice-versa. We also support protection between VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. This enables customers to protect workloads across different AWS Availability Zones, or even between AWS Regions with the newly announced support for US East (N. Virginia).

It’s also been a great experience to work closely with some of our forward-looking customers as we’ve been developing VMware Cloud on AWS. Listen to one of these early customers share their view of the collaboration between VMware and AWS, and the new capabilities we’re delivering.

More details on the VMware Site Recovery solutions can be found on the VMware Cloud Services site:

SRM 6.5 PowerCLI Module Changes

With the recent release of PowerCLI 6.5.1 the PowerCLI team moved to a more modular approach to delivering their capabilities. This new PowerCLI release also made some changes related to SRM, from their launch blog:

The SRM cmdlets have been removed from the Core module and a new SRM module has been created. The new module is named VMware.VimAutomation.Srm and features updated cmdlets that enable users to interact with the API views for the SRM 6.5 API!

The PowerCLI SRM module provides easy access to the SRM public API. To make it easier to work with the new SRM 6.5 public API I have updated my SRM advanced functions to work with the new PowerCLI 6.5.1 release and the new SRM 6.5 APIs. This new version of SRM-Cmdlets, v0.2, is not backwards compatible with earlier versions of PowerCLI and is intended for use with SRM 6.5, if you are using earlier versions of PowerCLI or SRM you should stick with the earlier release of these cmdlets.

I am hosting the SRM-Cmdlets project on Github, so you can get access to the latest enhancements there and provide feedback via Github issues.

The commands available in the v0.2 release are:

  • Add-SrmPostRecoveryCommand
  • Add-SrmPreRecoveryCommand
  • Add-SrmProtectionGroupToRecoveryPlan
  • Export-SrmRecoveryPlanResultAsXml
  • Get-SrmPlaceholderVM
  • Get-SrmProtectedDatastore
  • Get-SrmProtectedVM
  • Get-SrmProtectionGroup
  • Get-SrmProtectionGroupFolder
  • Get-SrmRecoveryPlan
  • Get-SrmRecoveryPlanFolder
  • Get-SrmRecoveryPlanResult
  • Get-SrmRecoverySetting
  • Get-SrmReplicatedDatastore
  • Get-SrmReplicatedVM
  • Get-SrmServer
  • Get-SrmServerApiEndpoint
  • Get-SrmServerVersion
  • Get-SrmTestVM
  • Get-SrmUnProtectedVM
  • New-SrmCommand
  • New-SrmProtectionGroup
  • New-SrmRecoveryPlan
  • Protect-SrmVM
  • Remove-SrmPostRecoveryCommand
  • Remove-SrmPreRecoveryCommand
  • Remove-SrmProtectionGroup
  • Remove-SrmProtectionGroupFromRecoveryPlan
  • Remove-SrmRecoveryPlan
  • Set-SrmRecoverySetting
  • Start-SrmDiscoverDevice
  • Start-SrmRecoveryPlan
  • Stop-SrmRecoveryPlan
  • Unprotect-SrmVM

This includes some new commands as well as some updates to existing commands. Hopefully these commands provide some useful examples of working with the SRM public API in PowerCLI 6.5.1.

Recent Blogs on Virtual Blocks

I’ve been quiet on my personal blog (I aim to rectify that) but in the meantime here a list of some of the blogs I’ve written over at Virtual Blocks, the blog for the Storage and Availability Business Unit at VMware about VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols).

VMworld 2015

VMworld 2015 is about to kick off in a few days and will be a hectic few days up in San Francisco. I’ll be there mostly talking and presenting on a variety of things like Virtual Volumes (VVol), Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM), vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO) as well as covering some interesting work the SRM and NSX teams have been working on together.

As always at VMworld there are far more sessions to see than time in which to see them, having said that here are a few sessions on topics I am interested in that look to be particularly interesting:

Normally I only try and present one session at VMworld but circumstances conspired to pull me into multiple sessions this year. If you want to see me on stage I will be involved with the following, sure to be awesome :-), sessions:

And I will also be taking part in a group discussion with @vmKen about VVols and a meet the experts session.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new faces this year! If you are going to VMworld feel free to reach out and connect with me on twitter – @BenMeadowcroft

Automating vSphere Replication and SRM with vRealize Orchestrator

With the release of the vSphere Replication plugin for vRealize Orchestrator there are a whole set of new automation capabilities when it comes to Disaster Recovery for your VMware environment. The new plugin enables you to configure vSphere Replication:

  • to vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Service
  • to another vCenter deployment
  • or even within the same vCenter deployment

I’d recommend reading the release notes for more details on what capabilities are on offer. In this blog post I want to demonstrate how you can easily combine the vSphere Replication plugin with the SRM plugin to automate the end to end replication and DR protection of your Virtual Machines. Without further ado here’s where we want to end up:

In this short video you saw that the administrator selected a handful of Virtual Machines they wanted to protect, invoked a VRO workflow from the context menu, and was able to completely configure the replication and protection of the VMs in just a few seconds! In fact most of the video was me driving the UI to show you all the items (replication schedules, protected VMs, protection groups, recovery plans, etc.) that were created by the workflow.

So What do We Need to Make It Work?

The demonstration used the following products:

How Did You Build The Workflow?

The workflow was built by linking together various out of the box workflows provided by the VR and SRM plugins. I actually built two workflows so I could separate out the workflow that linked together the two plugins capabilities, and another workflow that wrapped the more complex workflow with some predefined attributes and a little scripting to simplify the presentation and make it easy to call from the vSphere Web Client.

As you can see the workflow assigned to the context menu provides is basically a wrapper with a little scripting to allow me to use predefined RPO tiers when presenting the workflow and some predefined attributes to allow me to simplify the what I choose to present to the user.

vro-workflow-1

The workflow that ties the VR and SRM workflows together looks more complex, but most of it is simply chaining together out of the box workflows.

vro-workflow-2

The green and blue highlighted sections are the workflows provided by the VR and SRM plugins for vRO. The red highlighted section was custom built to handle a simple lookup from an instance of VC:VirtualMachine to an instance of SRM:UnassignedReplicatedVm. The script to do this is a one liner:

replVm = Server.findForType("SRM:UnassignedReplicatedVm", sourceVm.id);

Conclusion

Hopefully this has given you a glimpse into what you can achieve with these new automation capabilities. While there is a learning curve to vRealize Orchestrator there is also a lot of potential to streamline your operations. Being able to combine the automation capabilities of VR and SRM opens up a lot of new possibilities to explore.

Update: Presenting RPOs as a Dropdown list

One of my colleagues asked me how I was able to present the RPO values as a drop-down list. To do that required me to configure the presentation properties of the workflow. Within vRealize Orchestrator you are able to control how parameters are presented to the end user in the presentation tab. Here I simply added a set of Predefined answers to a field I called ReplicationTier (you can also order and group the parameters that you present to the customer as well in this tab).

vro-workflow-presentation

The selected value is then passed to a short script that parses the value selected by the user and determines what the RPO value, in minutes, should be set as:

RPO = 4 * 60; // set default to 240 minutes, i.e. 4 hours.
if (ReplicationTier.indexOf("Gold") > -1) {
    RPO = 15; // 15 minute RPO
} else if (ReplicationTier.indexOf("Silver") > -1) {
    RPO = 4 * 60; // 4 hour RPO
} else if (ReplicationTier.indexOf("Bronze") > -1) {
    RPO = 12 * 60; // 12 hour RPO
}

This is the Lookup RPO from tier script task in the first workflow schema image shared above. Of course this is not necessary, you can just ask for the RPO value as a number input (with min and max values) but I thought the dropdown selection was a nice option to demonstrate.

What You Need to Know About SRM 6.0

With the launch of VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.0 here are some useful resources for people that want to learn more about the new features, roll out a fresh deployment, or who are looking to upgrade.

What’s New

Here are my posts about some key changes in SRM 6:

I’d also recommend checking out the blogs by GS Khalsa for SRM 6.0 and Jeff Hunter for vSphere Replication 6.0.

Where Can I Download the Bits?

Planning a Fresh Install or Upgrade to SRM 6?

Here are some resources you will find useful when planning the setup and deployment of SRM:

In addition to the SRM documentation I highly recommend reading the vSphere installation documentation and the following KB articles and white papers that are relevant to a multi-site and multi-product deployment:

Network Ports to Open for SRM and vSphere Replication 6.0

Because you do actually want to replicate the VMs don’t you?

What Do I Need to Know About Deploying SRM 6 in Larger Environments?

SRM 6.0 now supports up to 2,000 VMs replicated with vSphere Replication (up from 500 in the 5.8 release). SRM 6.0 continues to support protection of up to 5,000 VMs with array based replication.

What Site Topologies Does SRM 6 Support?

SRM 6.0 continues to support a variety of deployment topologies:

Where Can I Learn More?

The SRM Administration Guide is a great resource, also Eric Shank’s SRM 5.8 guide is also largely applicable to SRM 6.0. If you have any questions on SRM I’d recommend posting in the SRM community at VMTN.