Ever since I started using SRM as a customer in 2010 the thing that I’ve wanted most and the most frequent request of SRM I’ve heard is for SRM to be available as an appliance. I’m so happy to say that all of those desires have now been fulfilled. Site Recovery Manager 8.2 is now available as a Photon OS based appliance in addition to being available for installation on Windows. Let’s get more into what that means and understand better how to start using it.
First off, what is Photon OS? Photon OS is a small-footprint, lightweight and extensible Linux container host designed and optimized for vSphere. All of these features make it perfectly suited to be the base from which all virtual appliances at VMware are built. It is secure, easy to manage and maintain, and only contains the most important packages which keep it small and fast. The result of this is a streamlined appliance that does what you need it to easily and with minimal effort.
Another benefit of the new appliance is that SRAs are now run as Docker Containers within it. This allows for easier installation, configuration, and maintenance while at the same time, providing isolation which ensures that there isn’t a way for an issue with the SRA to impact the appliance.
The appliance has all the same features as the Windows version with a couple of modifications.
- SRM 8.2 now provides a GUI for the configuration import/export capability. What is still only available through the command line tool is a way to schedule exporting the configuration. This can be handled with Windows using a scheduled task and with the appliance as a cron job.
- The second difference is regarding running scripts as part of recovery. Since the appliance is running Photon OS, it has access to a different set of scripting resources. It is possible to run scripts on the appliance itself using the packages it has, or, to call scripts located on a scripting server which would give you access to resources that aren’t available on the appliance. I’ll explore these options and this topic in more detail in a future post.
- Lastly, the appliance only supports using the embedded vPostgres database. Just like the appliance, this database supports the full scale and capabilities of SRM.
Before we discuss the migration path to the appliance there are two additional improvements to SRM 8.2 that I want to call out. The first is that SRM 8.2 supports Dark-Mode. Which is enabled here:
And provides an easier experience on the eyes:
And, if that wasn’t enough, there is now an easy way to provide direct feedback (ideas, issues or compliments) directly to the engineers working on SRM. Just click here:
And fill out and send this:
Now that we’ve established why you’d want to use the appliance; we’ll get into more detail about how.
The migration path is outlined in the SRM Documentation here. The next section will provide a little bit more detail on what is covered there. One important thing to note, this is a two-stage process. SRM first has to be upgraded to 8.2, prior to migrating from Windows to the Appliance.
1) As with most upgrades/migrations with SRM, make sure that you start with the protected site first
2) Also, make sure to read and follow the documentation
3) As with any significant change, make sure that before you start, you backup, snapshot or both the SRM server you intend to migrate to an appliance
5) Following the documentation, upgrade SRM from 8.1 to 8.2 at both sites. Confirm that everything is operating normally before moving on
6) Stop the SRM service
7) Run the provided script to export the database and configuration
8) Move this file to somewhere accessible by the soon to be deployed appliance
9) Shutdown the Windows SRM server you are converting to an appliance
10) After it is completely powered off, deploy an SRM appliance and give it the same hostname and IP address as the Windows SRM server that is being replaced
11) Power it on
12) Connect to the management interface (https://<hostname or IP address>:5480) and enable SSH so that you can copy the migration files over and connect to the appliance to complete the migration. Don’t configure anything else on the appliance until after the migration is complete.
13) Copy the folder that was exported from the Windows SRM server to the /home/admin/ directory or another suitable location on the SRM appliance
14) Run this script on the appliance to import the configuration. Note that it needs to be run as Root.
15) After it completes successfully, connect to the recovery site “Site Recovery” interface and run the “reconnect” process and verify that your sites are connected and operating normally.
16) Complete the same process for your recovery site
One last thing to note about the Windows version of SRM. Just like with vCenter Server the plan is to move all users to the appliance. There isn’t a firm timeline established for this yet, it is just something to keep in mind if you aren’t convinced yet about migrating to the appliance.
As you can see there is a whole lot of goodness built into the new SRM 8.2 virtual appliance. Use this blog and the documentation to get started with your upgrade and migration and please let me and the engineers know what you think about all of their incredible work.