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Today is an exciting day for the VMware vCloud® Air™ team, as we launch an update to our recovery-as-a-service offering – VMware vCloud® Air™ Disaster Recovery. For those of you not familiar with this service, vCloud Air Disaster Recovery is a low cost, cloud-based disaster recovery solution for your on-premises VMware vSphere® workloads.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery provides a warm standby virtual data center, with compute, storage, and networking capacity, that allows you to replicate your vSphere-based virtual machines to the cloud in the event of a data center failure. This capacity is available at any time that you need to initiate a failover, at a very low cost entry point.

In this release, we have added and updated several features designed to enhance the disaster recovery experience, including full native failback, multi-point-in-time recovery, and a failover automation solution via vRealize Orchestrator. This release continues to fulfill organizations’ needs for a reliable, cost efficient disaster recovery solution with a depth of features that make it simple to manage and use.

New Features

Let’s take a deeper look at the new features available with this release.

Native Failback

One of the key new features to highlight is the native failback capability.  Native failback allows you to replicate your virtual machines back to your on-premises data center, after you have restored operations to your primary data center.  This is a crucial factor to consider, as it is just as important to be able to easily restore operationally, on-premises after a disaster is resolved, as it is to have an interim failover site set up. Native failback allows you to use reverse replication, which essentially repoints the replication of the virtual machines back to your on-premises vSphere environment.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Configuring reverse replication is just as easy as setting up outgoing replication- you follow the same steps that you would to replicate from your on-premises data center.  Let’s look at how we do this.

Open up vSphere Replication, select Incoming Replications and click the “Configure Replication” button.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

This will display the Configure replication from cloud provider wizard.  Walk through the same configuration steps as you would configure your cloud provider.  Once you have your disaster recovery cloud entered, you are prompted with a set of Virtual Machines that are hosted in your cloud.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Pick a virtual machine you want to replicate from the cloud back to your on-premises environment and select a target data store.  This is a data store that is attached to your on-premises vSphere hosts.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Next, specify your Recovery Point Objective (RPO).  You also have the ability to enable Point in time instances (see the next section).

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Confirm your settings, and click “Finish”.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

You will then see a task appear in vCenter confirming that the configuration is being performed.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Once the replication has been completed, the status will show a green OK, indicating the initial full sync has completed and that replication was successful.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

As you can see by the above screenshots, configuring reverse replication from your vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Virtual Private Cloud is simple.  Just a few clicks and your virtual machines replicate back on-premises.

Multiple Point-in-Time Recovery

Another key feature in this release is the multiple point-in-time recovery option.  This allows you to recover back to one of 24 previous replication points in time.  For example, let’s say you set a 15 minute recovery point objective and you start the replication at 10AM. Every 15 minutes a replication cycle is kicked off, and only data changes or deltas are retained.  In the event of a failover, you can pick a specific time to recover a VM from.  Therefore, if your data center has an issue and you need to failover at 11AM, and you find that the latest copy contains errors, you can choose to recover using a copy taken at 10:15AM instead. With multiple point-in-time recovery, you can select the specific point  you want to recover your data from, allowing you to successfully recover in the event of data corruption.

Once you have configured point in time recovery, it is extremely easy to select a particular point-in-time when failing over your virtual machines.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Simply start a test or failover and you will be prompted with a Point-in-Time Recovery Selection window.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

Once you select your point-in-time and click OK, the test or failover procedure will use that instance or delta of replicated data to recover from.

Automation

From an automation perspective, the new release incorporates full integration with vRealize Orchestrator through a plug-in.  This allows you to create multiple virtual machine recovery plans and automate the failover and power on scenarios.  By leveraging vRealize Orchestrator, you can create groups of virtual machines you want to failover and power on in specific orders.  This gives you greater flexibility when building a fully automated end-to-end disaster recovery solution.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

By leveraging the vRealize Orchestrator plug-in, you can build workflows and focus on areas of automation previously not possible.

With just a few clicks you can create workflows to perform a number of tasks, including:

  • Configure replication to the cloud
  • Configure replication from the cloud
  • Register cloud site
  • Initiate planned migration to cloud
  • Test recover to cloud
  • Test clean up

vRealize Orchestrator allows you to build a fully automated end-to-end disaster recovery solution in the cloud.

vCloud Air Disaster Recovery

vRealize Orchestrator is a very powerful, free product supplied with vCenter.  You can deploy vRealize Orchestrator as an appliance in the cloud and leverage the full capabilities without needing a vCenter running on-premises.

Summary

The new release of vCloud Air Disaster Recovery contains powerful new features that expand the use cases for customers looking for an enterprise-class disaster recovery solution, that is simple to configure, based on a self-service consumption model, and provided at a low cost.  Try it today and share your experience with us.

To find out more about VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery, please go to vcloud.vmware.com.

For future updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @vCloud and Facebook.com/VMwarevCloud.