Technical VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware Cloud on AWS: Get your basics right Part 4: Disaster Recovery to the cloud with VMware Site Recovery

Many organizations realize the importance of implementing a DR solution and are looking at leveraging public clouds to avoid labor-intensive deployment and maintenance. In this blog post, we get into the details of how VMware Site Recovery enables VMware Cloud on AWS users to simplify their disaster recovery solutions, using a flexible, highly reliable service.

In a blog series written by my colleague, we introduced a few key use cases of VMware Cloud on AWS. In this blog post, I would like to give more details and additional background on how our customers can use VMware Cloud on AWS for Disaster Recovery (DR).

Our DR as-a-Service (DRaaS) offering is called VMware Site Recovery and it is built on three main components:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS as a DR target site
  • Site Recovery Manager (SRM) for DR orchestration, automation and testing
  • vSphere Replication to replicate data from the main site to the DR target

What are the typical challenges customers face for their DR use case?

Traditional DR solutions are expensive and require extensive expertise to deploy, maintain and operate. Such solutions require customers to purchase hardware, software, lease physical space, deploy networking equipment, and more. They are also less reliable, since testing them disrupts daily business operations. To try to solve these issues, many organizations are looking at public clouds and at DRaaS offerings. However, simply moving off-premises does not guarantee that DR challenges are addressed.

Some cloud-based DR solutions provide simple data backup to a public cloud. However, during a failover, compute instances and networking also need to be set up, and many additional steps need to be taken for an environment to run smoothly. As a result, backup solutions may not meet the Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) of business-critical applications.

Another common issue of some DRaaS offerings is replatforming. Different hypervisors have different VM formats, and many public clouds do not have the same VM formats as organizations’ on-premises VMs. In order for applications written and deployed on one hypervisor to be used on another hypervisor, the VMs have to be replatformed. Replatforming is typically a long and complicated process, and organizations can spend many months in the process.

No replatforming needed – manage your cloud environment using vSphere 

Additionally, many DRaaS solutions do not offer non-disruptive testing. As a result, their customers’ DR plans are not tested frequently, making them less likely to meet requirements during a failover. When considering the reliability of cloud-based DR solutions, another factor needs to be considered – the scale and viability of the cloud provider itself. Many vendors often lack the scale, reliability, financial stability, and global availability of the major cloud providers.

How VMware Site Recovery helps resolve these challenges?

The three components of the VMware Site Recovery service offers customers a great way to overcome all of these challenges. vSphere Replication replicates data to a small pilot-light environment on VMware Cloud on AWS. During failovers SRM helps customers meet their RTOs by automatically powering on VMs according to the right dependencies, running needed scripts, mapping IP networks automatically, and spinning up more compute nodes if needed. During normal times, Site Recovery enables customers to run non-disruptive testing in order to verify that their DR plan meets requirements. VMware Cloud on AWS provides the availability of a global, hyperscale public cloud, and because it is built on VMware vSphere, vSAN and NSX, no refactoring is needed.

Create Recovery Plans to automate DR  

VMware Site Recovery is a very flexible solution and is suitable for many different use cases. Some organizations have been intimidated by the issues and complexity of traditional DR so do not have any solutions in place. These organizations can use Site Recovery to implement DR for the first time. Similarly, some organizations protected only some of their workloads to an on-premises DR site. Now they can complement their existing DR plans by protecting some workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS, while continuing to protect other workloads to their on-premises site. We also have customers who decided to completely replace their on-premises DR with VMware Site Recovery. Finally, customers who are already running workloads on VMware Cloud on AWS can use Site Recovery for inter-region DR protection in case one of the AWS regions they are using experiences an outage.

In conclusion, many organizations realize the importance of implementing a DR solution, and are looking at leveraging public clouds since maintaining a separate on-premises site to serve as a DR target is labor intensive and requires significant investment to deploy and maintain, especially when considering that it is not utilized on a day-to-day basis. However, using public clouds has its own challenges. VMware Site Recovery helps customers overcome many of the challenges associated with cloud-based DR. Interested to learn how VMware Site Recovery can help your organization? Check out the resources below:

Also, you can get more understanding of VMware Cloud on AWS service with the following resources: