One of the most frequent requests for vVols was the support of Site Recover Manager (SRM). With the release of SRM 8.3, that request was answered! The thing is, there is a lot more to this integration than may seem obvious. We know that SRM allows for the automation of Disaster Recovery (DR) and it does the same thing with vVols. However, there are some unique capabilities when using SRM and vVols together.
SRM and vVols, Better Together!
One of the benefits of SRM and vVols is you don’t need a Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) to use array-based replication. vVols inherently use array-based replication managed via Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM). When you set up vVols replication, it is not at a LUN or volume level, it is at the VM level. Subsequently, you have the autonomy to granular control individual VM replication. By not having to setup an SRA, you reduce additional SRM configuration and complexity in your environment. When you have SRM associated with a vVols SPBM replication policy, any VM where that policy is applied is automatically protected by SRM and added to an SRM protection group.
Granular VM Replication and Destination
Some of those details may be obvious, but other benefits may not. If you use vSphere Replication (VR) or an SRA and array-based replication, the replication frequency and destination are fixed. Everything in a LUN or volume is replicated to another array. Similarly, VR uses SRM protection groups to replicate individual VMs, but all at the same frequency and destination. In steps vVols. One of the benefits of vVols replication is the ability to create multiple vVols replication groups with different replication frequencies and partner arrays! Remember, vVols array-based replication is at a VM level, and the frequency and destination are controlled via SPBM. This allows you to create different replication groups protected by SRM and managed via policy.
But Wait, There’s More!
With traditional storage, when doing a failover, test, or real, it’s all the VMs in a protection group. With vVols and SRM, the same is true with the added benefit of different replication frequencies/RPOs and destinations. vVols enables the replications of different VM, in a single vVols datastore, to be replicated to different locations with different RPOs. With vVols, you get the benefits of array-based replication with the granularity of VR and none of the shortcomings of either. For example, if a single VM is in a vVols replication group, and that replication group is associated with SRM, it allows the capability of individual VM failover. You also get multi-VM consistency groups, ensuring application VMs are replicated together.
Some Restrictions May Apply
There are some limitations with vVols and SRM.
- SRM does not support the protection of virtual machines that have non-replicated virtual disks with vVols protection groups.
- Site Recovery Manager does not support the protection of virtual machines with different vVols-based disks, replicated by different storage policies or different vVols replication groups.
- vVols does not support the recovery of template virtual machines.
vVols allows the application of storage policies to individual disks of a single VM, a VM with multiple policies isn’t supported with SRM. So to use SRM with vVols, and single replication policy must be applied to the entire VM.
At the time of this blog, full vVols 2 with replication is currently supported with Dell EMC (PowerMax), HPE, and Pure Storage. Many of our storage partners are working to become fully vVols 2 compliant, supporting replication. vVols is seeing a large increase in adoption for numerous beneficial reasons. Customers are realizing the unique benefits and simplification gained with vVols as well as VMware, and our partners continue to develop and enhance functionality and interoperability.
To learn more about SRM or vVols, head over to core.vmware.com.
SRM vVols Resources:
- About vVols Protection Groups
- Configure vVols
- Using vVols with Site Recovery Manager
- Create vVols Protection Groups
- Apply Inventory Mappings to All Members of an Array-Based, vVols, or vSphere Replication Protection Group
- vVols and Replication
- Requirements for Replication with vVols
- vVols and Replication Groups
- vVols Resource Page on Core.vmware.com