By Swapnil Hendre, Director of Solutions Engineering and Design, and Lalit Parashari, IT Manager—Disaster Recovery, both VMware
VMware IT was tasked with migrating workloads to the VMware Cloud™ on AWS as it offered a more reliable, scalable and highly available solution for our constantly evolving requirements.
The objectives of our migration included extending on-premises data centers to the public cloud, achieving bi-directional workload portability, and improving workload resiliency/availability through a consistent operational model.
Our overall goal was to achieve an optimal disaster recovery (DR) solution.
We started with the basics
First, we had to make sure all the basics were in place. Our team employed VMware Site Recovery ™ to replicate workloads for superior Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) functionality, as well as improved recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), two vital DR metrics for critical applications.
Next, the team built a cloud connectivity solution employing AWS Direct Connect to provide dedicated, low latency, cost-effective, and secure connectivity—regardless of the application. We also deployed core services such as Active Directory (AD), DNS, load balancers, multi-factor authentication (MFA), Network Time Protocol (NTP) and the security stack. These are required to ensure a seamless migration and avoid on-premises data center dependence. Finally, we used micro-segmentation to secure these services and deployed applications.
VMware Cloud On AWS—Core Services Deployment
For some use cases, a different method
A hybrid approach was chosen for some applications. This was possible by combining application-level replication for databases and VMware Site Recovery for application servers. We deployed primary and secondary databases in the primary site with synchronous replication. VMware Cloud on AWS serves as a secondary site where deployed additional databases are replicated in an asynchronous mode from the primary site.
The following diagrams demonstrate this approach applied to our global VMworld portal and VMware Authentication.
Hybrid cloud use case 1—VMworld Portal
Hybrid cloud use case 2—VMware Authentication
DR done right (and results to prove it)
Instead of procuring like-for-like capacity, the team oversubscribed CPU and memory resources for DR workloads to keep the costs at a minimum. Additional capacity is easily procured on-demand if a DR event occurs.
Since implementation, we have been conducting DR tests every quarter. VMware Cloud on AWS enables shorter RTOs, so there is minimal downtime. Plus, the frequent testing ensures our support teams are well versed in DR procedures and prepared to quickly address real disaster scenarios. In addition, business teams participate in this testing, and this helps our entire corporate infrastructure feel more confident with IT DR initiatives.
The results have been remarkably positive on a number of fronts:
Consistency: We have successfully met the service level agreement (SLA) of 30 minutes for both failover and fallback.
Collaborative: DR tests are run across multiple geographies, involving global IT teams. This further enhances VMware’s ability to function as a cohesive worldwide ecosystem with consistent uptime.
Longevity: In one testing example—accomplished on a weekend day—the IT team kept the production systems running in VMware Cloud on AWS for about 24 hours, and then rolled back the next day.
To summarize, we were able to achieve an optimal DR solution, extend our on-premises data centers to the public cloud, realize bi-directional workload portability, and substantially improve overall workload resiliency/availability. VMware Cloud™ Disaster Recovery (VCDR) was not available when VMware IT created this current plan, however we look forward to using this new VMware solution to further enhance our DR capabilities.
In other words, mission accomplished!
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