VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8

As people are probably aware, VMware just released the slew of new product updates that was announced at VMworld. vSphere 5.5 U2 at the core, but essentially all of the major products had updates–the one in particular interest to me was vCenter Site Recovery Manager. This latest release, numbered 5.8 is probably the biggest update to SRM since probably 5.0 moving to 5.1, arguably bigger. I am still playing around with it, but I wanted to share some of the things I found of interest in it.

schema_vmware_site_recovery_manager

See a VMware post about the release here by @gurusimran for some release details.

I am not going to go over every new feature here, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Web Client Integration–SRM was one of the last holdouts on the C# client, so this is a big one. I know some people aren’t huge fans of the web client yet, but there are some great little features they included in the web client plugin that I really like.
  • Embedded database–This one was a great one for me–I am constantly building/rebuilding SRM environments for testing so this saves me some time. Instead of using setting up SQL each time or at least a new DB on a shared one, you can just deploy an embedded one upon initial install of SRM. Uses vPostgres.
  • Scale/Performance–Much bigger scale limits in SRM in this release. My understanding this was one of the biggest focuses on this release. 5,000 protected VMs and a lot more can be recovered at once as well. Plus they really increased parallelism so recovery is MUCH faster.
  • vCO plugin–I haven’t gotten a chance to play with this yet–but I see a lot of potential on what can be done with this. Definitely on my list.

I am going to focus on the web client plugin for the rest of this post. The install of SRM itself is essentially no different (unless you leverage the embedded DB option), still requires Windows 64-bit etc. This is something I would love to see a virtual appliance for one day, but I understand the biggest problem isn’t porting SRM (in my opinion) but is getting the SRAs all supported. Anyways–once you have installed SRM and paired it with a vCenter the plugin automatically appears in the Web Client. If you are logged into the Web Client you will probably need to log out and log back in.

srmplugin

So no additional installation for the plugin or anything like that. Pretty clean and simple.

The process of setting up SRM is really no different at a high level, pair SRM, inventory mappings, array managers, protection groups, recovery plans etc. No new steps. But they have created some small enhancements that do save time. First off inventory mappings.

While inventory mappings is not something that you do very often–it always felt like a chore, especially when often times you basically had to do all of them twice essentially just in reverse direction (if you wanted bi-directional). The new Web Client Plugin offers a nice time saver here. When you configure a mapping on one side, it gives you the option to do the same on the other SRM server automatically! Saves some time and annoyance. Me like.

reversemappings

Big fan of that. Note that in the mappings screen the only thing that this won’t work for is placeholder datastores, but of course that makes complete sense–there is nothing to “reverse” there.

Furthermore, the array manager segment has some nice changes. In order to allow for array discovery you have to configure an array manager on each side. In the C# client this was two separate wizards, once for each side. In the Web Client they have merged this process and the array enabling into one wizard. Also saves some clicks.

addaray1

You can then add all of the information in the subsequent screens for the respective array manager pair. One thing to note though is that make sure you verify which side appears first, otherwise it is simple to get it backwards and put the wrong array manager on the wrong SRM site and that could cause some issues until you figure it out. So verify the listing of the SRM server when you are creating the array manager.

addarray1

Depending on your SRA this screen may vary somewhat. Note I have the Pure Storage SRA (coming soon!) installed–this is still pre-release so some things may change from the screenshots in this post.

So you add both of the array managers in the same wizard, saves some time. Note that the array manager is created AS SOON as you click next, so if you cancel out later the array manager will persist. This messed me up the first time because I tried to create it again thinking it wasn’t made and I got duplicate array errors later on. I understand why they are created prior to completion of the wizard–because the wizard also does the array pairing which requires the array managers to be created. Would like to see maybe the creation occur at the end or just have the next thing I ran into changed: Once you click next, you cannot go back and edit the array manager from that wizard (you can only view them). You have to close it/finish it and then go edit it manually. I’d like to see the ability to go back and edit it and then hit next to update the new changes.

addarray2

Once you have completed the array managers, it automatically brings up the discovered array pairs. Select the ones you want to enable–this will kick off a device discovery and you are ready to configure protection groups etc. This will enable it on both array managers automatically. Really speeds up the process of configuring a SRA. Cool stuff.

enablepairs

devdiscovery

The configuration and execution of protection groups and recovery plans seems to be essentially the same (there are some great enhancements to re-IPing though). As I play with SRM 5.8 more I am sure I will find some more cool stuff. Haven’t had a chance to run through the advanced options to see if there is anything new there yet either.

Overall–really great. Love a lot of the changes/enhancements. Definitely recommend checking it out. Of course, like all SRM versions (I believe) SRM is tied directly to a vCenter release, so this requires vCenter 5.5 U2.

Some other things I would love to see in new versions besides what I have already mentioned:

  • Ability to change an advanced setting on one SRM server and have the option to duplicate that change on the other SRM server
  • Automatic creation of recovery plans. Would be a nice little time saver to have an option at the end of protection group creation to automatically create a recovery plan based on that protection group or add it to an existing one. I quite often find myself creating default recovery plans which is also 1:1 with a protection group. Would be nice.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading. Keep an eye on my blog for Pure Storage/SRM related posts coming soon.

SRM 5.8 documentation:

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/srm_pubs.html

SRM 5.8 Whats New VMworld presentation (@jhuntervmware and @vmken)

http://vmware.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/5ca02a86a49c469ba329a3e4f7d0b3461d?catalog=30d9dd2f-c6cf-4290-8e8c-c1846a96a056

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