With a number of my recent consulting engagements, I have seen an increasing demand for host-based replication solutions for data replication. In a few of my recent projects, I have implemented VMware Site Recovery Manager in combination with VMware vSphere Replication.
I have written about vSphere Replication (VR) in the past and I am not surprised that a number of VMware customers are shifting focus from a storage-based replication solution to a host-based replication solution due to the cost-benefit and flexibility that comes with such a solution.
In my projects I started with replicating simple web servers to DR site using VR; now customers are discussing database servers, exchange, and other critical workloads to be replicated using vSphere Replication. With an out-of-the-box integration with a solution such a as VMware Site Recovery Manager, building a DR environment for your virtualized datacenter has become extremely simple and cost effective.
The configuration of the replication appliance and SRM is as easy as clicking NEXT, NEXT, FINISH; however, the most common challenge has been around estimating the bandwidth requirements from Protected Site to Recovery Site for the replication of workloads. One of the most commonly asked question is: “How do I calculate the bandwidth requirements for replication?”
This is not only a concern with any host-based replication solution, but with storage-based replication too. I have done crazy things like capturing writes on a workload in KB/Sec for days to get to an average change rate for a workload. This has to be done for each workload that you want to replicate until you finally come to an estimate—which is usually no where close to the actual figure. Nevertheless, something is better than nothing.
During my recent discussions with VMware product management, I requested a tool that can do the mathematics for a given workload and help us estimate the bandwidth requirements. This is critical for customers: An oversized bandwidth requirement can lead to waste and unnecessary Operational Expenditure, while an undersized bandwidth calculation can break the DR solution, a catastrophic event for any business.
According to the developers: “The vSphere Replication Capacity Planning Appliance allows administrators to model the network impact of a virtual machine replication without producing actual replication traffic. The appliance provides command-line tools to configure replication for any VM in a vSphere Virtual Center. The replication is established in preview mode and thus requires no storage space. Networking traffic, required for the replication, is measured and displayed in an easy-to-understand graphical format that allows you to estimate the network bandwidth required.”
Since this is a fling, you’ll want to know that there is no official support for flings. I recently got an opportunity to deploy the appliance and run it to capture traffic and replication requirements for one of my lab virtual machines. I cover all the steps to configure this appliance and get the results you need in my latest blog post.
This post originally appeared on Sunny Dua’s vXpress blog. Sunny Dua is a Senior Technology Consultant for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, focused on India and SAARC countries.