jadeddog
Contributor
Contributor

vSphere replication used as a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)? Useful?

Hey there, I was wondering what peoples thoughts were in regards to using vSphere replication as a Disaster Recovery as a Service offering?  I work for a company that is thinking about offering a DRaaS solution for mid-sized companies that have their own data center.  So not people who have thousands of VMs, but the smaller shops who have 5-30 VMs (in that range anyhow).  I have been looking at possible solutions and think that vSphere Replication is a possibility. 

The idea is that the end user would install a vSphere replication appliance in their datacenter and it would replicate to SAN in our datacenter.  The end user would not have actual VMs running in our environment, rather just the replication to storage would be happening, and in the event of a disaster, the images would be spun up as VMs within our environment. 

I am just starting to look at all of this, so it is early in the investigation stage, but I was wondering what people thought of this idea.  What are the potential issues that I would run into?  Any general advice would be great.

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7 Replies
rameuniver
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I worked on this similar kind of the solution in my previous company who has mid range of customers having not more than 30 to 50 VM's. But we never replicated their VM's to our company datacenter instead we used to replicate their VM's to their branch offices over 10 Mbps Leased Line (LAN to LAN VPN). Here is that soultion

1) 4 ESXi hosts and HP SAN in Head Office, loaded with vSphere 5.1. This setup is running with One vSphere Replication Instance  and 10 VM's--> Head Office

2) 4 ESXi hosts and HP SAN in Branch office, loaded with vSphere 5.1. This setup is running with One vSphere Replication Instance and one vCenter Server having 12 VM's --> Branch office

3) 10 VM's are being replicated to Branch office and 12 VM's are being replicated from Branch office to Head office.

Here only challenge I have seen is network designing. We have to make sure IP addresses should be same as customer network.

Note: You can't replicate VM's to Storage directly using vSphere 5.1 (not sure about 5.5). For this fulfillment,you need SRM for Storage Level Replication

Hope this information may helpful.

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jadeddog
Contributor
Contributor

rameuniver wrote:

I worked on this similar kind of the solution in my previous company who has mid range of customers having not more than 30 to 50 VM's. But we never replicated their VM's to our company datacenter instead we used to replicate their VM's to their branch offices over 10 Mbps Leased Line (LAN to LAN VPN). Here is that soultion

1) 4 ESXi hosts and HP SAN in Head Office, loaded with vSphere 5.1. This setup is running with One vSphere Replication Instance  and 10 VM's--> Head Office

2) 4 ESXi hosts and HP SAN in Branch office, loaded with vSphere 5.1. This setup is running with One vSphere Replication Instance and one vCenter Server having 12 VM's --> Branch office

3) 10 VM's are being replicated to Branch office and 12 VM's are being replicated from Branch office to Head office.

Here only challenge I have seen is network designing. We have to make sure IP addresses should be same as customer network.

Note: You can't replicate VM's to Storage directly using vSphere 5.1 (not sure about 5.5). For this fulfillment,you need SRM for Storage Level Replication

Hope this information may helpful.

Why did the IP addresses have to be the same at both locations for your client?  I haven't seen anything in the vSphere Replication documentation that states that this is a requirement.

We wouldn't be doing replication directly to our SAN.  The idea is that we would have a vSphere Replication appliance at our datacenter as well, sorry, I didn't mention that before.

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rameuniver
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Suppose in case of disaster at your customer site, now you are going to recover the VM from your site, and the VM will run from your site only. In this case, how the customer will access recovered VM running at your site.

In my scenario, since all the branches falls under same network, the VM can run from any branch.

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jadeddog
Contributor
Contributor

rameuniver wrote:

Suppose in case of disaster at your customer site, now you are going to recover the VM from your site, and the VM will run from your site only. In this case, how the customer will access recovered VM running at your site.

In my scenario, since all the branches falls under same network, the VM can run from any branch.

Ah yes, of course if they want the application to start up and run without any issues, the "new" VM would need to have the same IP address as the "old" VM.  I thought you meant the replication itself would not work unless the customer site and the replication site were from the same address space.  Yes, the customer would either need to do IP updating on their side, or have the VMs that were spun up during a disaster re-use the same IP addresses.  This would all be part of the Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) however, what I am concerned with is just the technology behind the actual replication.

Could you have multiple customers, each using their own VR appliance in their datacenter, all replicating to a single VR appliance in our environment?  So multi-tenant access I guess is what I'm really asking.

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rameuniver
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Could you have multiple customers, each using their own VR appliance in their datacenter, all replicating to a single VR appliance in our environment?  So multi-tenant access I guess is what I'm really asking.

Not sure about that. As per my knowledge vSphere 5.1 supports primary and secondary site.Probably you may need SRM.

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jadeddog
Contributor
Contributor

rameuniver wrote:

Could you have multiple customers, each using their own VR appliance in their datacenter, all replicating to a single VR appliance in our environment?  So multi-tenant access I guess is what I'm really asking.

Not sure about that. As per my knowledge vSphere 5.1 supports primary and secondary site.Probably you may need SRM.

Yeah, with more reading, it seems like I would be looking at SRM for multi-tenant.  However, SRM has its own limitations and is still limited to the same 500 VMs that vSphere Replication is (assuming you are using vSphere Replication and not array-based replication).  Not great.

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rameuniver
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Then Consider, PlateSpin Protect or Double Take family products

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