baze72
Contributor
Contributor

vSphere Replication with 1 vCenter

We have 1 vCenter with 3 esxi hosts. 2 esxi hosts are for vSphere HA (exsi 1 and esxi2)  and 1 is for vSphere Replica (esxi3). This is all setup and running.

vSphere replica appliance is installed on the HA (esxi1 at the moment).

My question is: If esxi1 and esxi2 go offline how can I spin up the replica's on esxi3 without vCenter running? Is this setup correct? Or could I still browse to the replica application IP (esxi3) and recover the replica's?

Thanks!

CB

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vFouad
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Leadership

The Simple answer is you can't... 

At least not via the GUI, because you need VC to get the GUI up...

The more complex answer is you can manually bring up a replicated virtual machine... but are you replicating VC?

Replication of the vCenter server is a bad idea, and usually ends with tears, especially if done in a production environment...

I will wait for you to answer before I expand on the manual recovery, because we should talk if you are replicating VC...

 

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baze72
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Contributor

Thanks for the reply. 
We are not replicating vCenter. I had thought about possibly replicating vCenter with Veeam but maybe that is not a good idea? I just want to be able to boot up the replicated servers fairly easy if I would happen to lose vCenter and need to recover.

Thanks!

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vFouad
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Leadership

So the easiest answer to that problem is to have another vCenter running on the other host...
Basically make the 3rd host a DR site (VC and VR appliance)... Then you will have a GUI available and can run the recovery workflow. no matter what happens to the first 2 hosts...

I know there is a license cost involved, so that may not be an ideal answer. you may want to explore the DRaaS offering for a lower TCO.

If this is not a Production environment where RTO is not the highest priority then yes a VEEAM backup/restore of the VC would be a good option, as you could have the VC back and then you could also recover the replication appliance and then fail over the VMs... assuming total loss of primary storage.

Thanks,

Fouad

 

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baze72
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Contributor

Is there some documentation on bringing up the replicated servers manually?

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vFouad
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Leadership

That question is pretty loaded...
There is no documentation around this process... It is technically not an advised process and should be considered a "Hail-Mary" attempt...

Essentially you need to make a new VMX file; you can copy most of the info from the hbrcfg.GID-<GID of replication>.vmx.iteration file in the destination folder; then repoint to the correct VMDK location; or better to clone the VMDK tree to a new disk... from the cli with vmkfstools -i

I am being vague here as each of these is custom to your environment, and if you have point in time replication configured you are in for a rough ride.

Once you have built the VMX, and reconstructed the disk tree,  register the new VM and power on...

 

Again unless you really know what you are doing here... there are lots of pitfalls and honestly reaching out to support the first time you hit this is not a bad idea... 

 

I personally would take steps to copy the folder first so that if/when the production site is back you can just continue replication... but this is not an easy option.. The best answer is to not lose the VR/VC if you can help it., or have a DR site setup... I have done quite a few of these in the past and it is not quick... your RTO is hours if you are luck and days/weeks if you have lots of VMs.

If you have specific questions around the process I'll be happy to help, but I cannot give you a step by step run book/tutorial.

 

Kind regards,

Fouad

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baze72
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OK. I think like you said it would best to  install vCenter on the other host that has the replica's and the replica appliance on it. But I don't think out Essentials Plus license allows that. I know you said replicating vCenter is not the best idea as this is production, but do issues typically happen during the replication or if you need to boot up the replicated vCenter?

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vFouad
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Leadership

You may need to have a quick chat with the licensing team to confirm that, there may be options...

Typically issues are seen when you are recovering the vCenter, so when you are already having a bad day...

If you have a support contract I would recommend opening an SR as the team may have other ways to minimize the impact of what you are trying to do, but the "correct" answer is to have a second VC and VR instance.

 

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