vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 4

Now we have deployed and configured VRM servers at the Protected Site and the Recovery Site, it’s time to pair both servers. Once the pairing is completed we will be able to deploy the VR Servers, one for each site. This will enable us to fail over from the Protected Site to the Recovery Site. In SRM 5, each VR Server can manage 50 replication schedules and protect a maximum of 500 VMs. Let’s start the VRM Server pairing process.

VRM Server Pairing

1). Open the Site Recovery Manager from the Solutions and Applications in the vSphere Client on the Protected Site.

2). Go to vSphere Replication, make sure that the Protected Site is selected and click on Configure VRMS Connection.

VR103). Click Yes if asked to configure VRMS Connection.

4). Click OK to accept the certificate error.

5). Provide the username and password for the Recovery Site and click OK.

6). Once again, click OK to accept the certificate error.

7). You will be presented with a configuration progress window. Click OK when the configuration of VRMS connection succeeds.

VR118). The status of the connection under the Summary tab should now display:Connected on both sites.


Deploying VR Server

Now that the VRM Servers are connected, we can start the deployment of the VR Server.

1). From the Protected Site, select the Recovery site in the left pane and click on Deploy VR Server.

VR132). Click OK to launch the OVF wizard.

3). Click Next in the Source window and Next again in the OVF Template Details window.

4). In the Name field, provide a FQDN name for the VR Server appliance and select the location. Click on Next to proceed.

VR145). Next, select the Cluster, Host and appropriate datastore for the VR Server. Click on Next to proceed at each step.

6). Select desired disk format and click Next.

7). In the Properties window, provide a Default Gateway, DNS Server, IP address and Subnet Mask for the VR Server and click Next.

VR158). Review the settings in the Ready to Complete window and press Finish to start the deployment.

Repeat this process for the Recovery Site.

Note :-The reason to deploy it at both sites is because to replicate back to the Protected site. You can replicate only to the Recovery site but if you don’t have a VR at the Protected site, you will not be able to replicate back.


Register VR Server

After the VR Server is deployed, it has to be registered with the vCenter Server.

1). Go back to the Site Recovery Manager and click on Register VR Server in the left pane under Commands.

VR162). Expand the Datacenter object and select the VR Server VM. Click OK to proceed.

3). Click Yes when asked if you want to register the VR Server.

4). Ignore the remote server certificate error and click on OK.

5). Click on OK to close the window when the registration completes successfully.

6). Verify that the VR Server is now visible in the left pane and the Summary tab shows the status: Connected.

VR17Repeat these steps for the Recovery Site.

OK, all done now. The VR infrastructure is now up and running. Continue to Part 5 where we will take a look at the inventory mappings between the Protected Site and the Recovery Site.


Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 1

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  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 4

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  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 6

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 7

Note :- I have used pictures in this post from SRM book written by Abhilash GB and from blog ( by Marek.Z and would like to Thank both of them 🙂

vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 3

Now that the connection between the Protected and Recovery Site is established, we have also discussed in Part – 2 How to Download SRA, Install SRA, Rescan SRA, Adding an Array Manager, and Enabling an Array Pair. Now time to discuss about deploying the vSphere Replication (VR). The VR infrastructure consists of the following components:

  • VRM Server: provides the management of the VR Servers across the ESXi hosts
  • VR Server: replicates the virtual machines between sites

vCenter Server Managed IP Address

First we need to configure the vCenter Server Managed IP address. The managed IP address will be used by VRM server to communicate with the extension service on the vCenter Server.

1. In the vSphere Client, go to the Administration menu and select vCenter Server          Settings.

2. Go to Runtime Settings and fill in the vCenter Server Managed IP address.

VR13. Click OK to save and close the window.

Repeat this step for the Recovery Site as well.


VRM Database

Before deploying the VRM Server, a database must be created. Follow these steps to create database for VRM Server:

  1. Login and right click Databases and select New Database.
  2. Provide a suggestive name (i.e. VRMS_DB) and change the owner to i.e. srmadmin. Click OK to create the database.
  3. Close the SQL Server Management Studio and proceed to the next step.

Deploy VRM Server

Next step is the deployment of the VRM Server which is deployed as a virtual appliance from the SRM Server

1. Connect to the protected site of vCenter Server using  vSphere Client.

2. Navigate Home –> Solutions and Applications –> And Site Recovery.

3. Click vSphere Replication in the left pane and make sure the Protected Site is selected. On the left pane under Commands –> Click Deploy VRM Server.

VR24. The Deploy VRM Server wizard will be started, click on OK to begin.

5. Press Next in the Source window of the deployment wizard.

6. In the next step, review the OVF Template Details and press Next to continue.

7. Provide a FQDN name and a location for the VRM Server. Click Next.

VR38. Select the appropriate cluster and select a datastore to store the VRM Server appliance. Click Next.

VR49. Select the disk format, in this case I used the Thin Provision disk type. Click Next to proceed.

10. Provide the Password for the root account, Default Gateway, DNS server, IP Address and Subnet Mask for the appliance. Click Next when ready.

VR511. Click Next on the Configure Service Bindings window.

12. Review the settings and click Finish to start the deployment process.

13. When the deployment finishes the VRM Server VM will be powered on.

Remember to deploy a VRM Server instance on the Recovery Site as well. Wait until the VRM Server is fully started before proceeding to the next step. 

Configure VRM Server

When the VRM Server for the Protected Site is fully started, you will see the VMware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) displayed and an URL to manage the VRM Server.

1. Next, click on Configure VRM Server under Commands pane in the Site Recovery Manger.

VR62. Ignore the certificate security warning and log in with the root account and the password entered during the deployment wizard.

3. In the Getting Started window, Go to option 1: Startup Configuration. Click on Configuration Page.

VR74. Leave the Configuration Mode to default (Manual Configuration).

5. Select SQL Server as DB Type.

6. Provide the FQDN for the DB Host, in my case the vCenter Server.

7. Leave DB Port to default (1433).

8. Enter the DB Username (i.e. srmadmin) and DB Password.

9. Provide the DB Name (i.e. VRMS_DB) created earlier.

10. Leave the VRM Host value to default.

11. Provide a name for the DB Name.

12. Enter a FQDN for the vCenter Server address and leave the vCenter Server  Port to default (80).

13. Enter the vCenter Server Username, Password and e-mail address.

14. Scroll down and click Generate and Install under the Generate a self-signed certificate. You should receive a message stating that the certificate was successfully generated and installed.

15. On the right side under the Actions menu, click the Save and Restart Service button.

16. Wait until the process completes, if successful you will see the following                     message.

VR817.Note that the status of the VRM Service is now running under the VRM Service Status section.

18. Also, you will be presented with a security warning, select Install this Certificate and click Ignore button.

19. Go back to the Site Recovery Manager and verify that the VRM Server is now configured.

VR9Next, Deploy and Configure the VRM Server at the Recovery Site by following the steps above.

Continue to part 4 where we will pair the VRM Servers between the Protected Site and the Recovery Site and we will deploy the VR Servers.

Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 1

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  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 4

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 5

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 6

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 7


Note :- I have used pictures in this post from SRM book written by Abhilash GB and from blog ( by Marek.Z and would like to Thank both of them 🙂

vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 2

Installation Repair

Altering authentication information to SRM database or vCenter server system will immediately prevent SRM to function correctly.

For example, you change the Administrator password for the vCenter server, SRM will no longer able to communicate with vCenter server. Whenever Authentication information changes after SRM installed, use Installation Repair wizard to update SRM with new credentials.

You can use Installation Repair Wizard to change the User and the Password for vCenter Server Administrator, the certification method for Authentication and the SRM database information.

One important thing to remember about using the Repair feature is that it over-write the existing installation of SRM. Therefore if you have applied patches to SRM and used Repair Wizard to change the User and the Password for vCenter Server Administrator, the certification method for Authentication and the SRM database information, You have to reapply all the patches.

Let’s start The Repair Process :-

1. Double click .EXE file to start Repair Wizard..

si12. Installer will detect that SRM is installed on the server so either we can Repair or Remove from this system. Choose Repair and click Next..

SRMPT2-23. If you were using Storage-Array Replication but now want to use vSphere         Replication Select Install vSphere Replication and click Next..

si84. Change the User or the Password information for vCenter Server and click Next..

SRMPT2-35. Change Certificate source if needed and click Next..

SRMPT2-46. Change Database Configuration Information if needed and Click Next..

SRMPT2-57. Follow the windows and click Finish to complete the Installation Repair.


Site Pairing Process

Once SRM is installed on both the sites, the next step is to pair the sites together. The pairing process establishes a connection between the vCenter Servers at the protected and recovery sites, which makes the SRM instances at both the sites aware of its counterpart at the other site (protected site/recovery site). Without the sites being paired, we can’t proceed further with the configuration of the DR setup.

This is how the sites are paired:

1) Connect to either vCenter Server using vSphere Client –> Home –> Solutions and Applications –> And Click Site Recovery. (Site Pairing can be done either from Protected Site or from Recovery Site vCenter Server).

SitePair-12) Click on Sites in the left pane.

3) Right-click on the local site listed, and click on Configure Connection to bring up the configure connection wizard.

SitePair-24)  In the Configure Connection wizard, supply the FQDN of the remote vCenter Server and click Next to continue. Accept any subsequent certificate warnings.

SitePair-35) Enter administrator credentials, and click Next. Accept any subsequent certificate warnings

SitePair-46) This will begin the pairing process, which will establish a connection with the remote vCenter Server and SRM, and also establish reciprocity. Click Finish to complete and exit the wizard.


7) Once you exit the wizard, you will be prompted again for the administrator credentials of the remote vCenter Server. Enter the credentials and click on OK. Ignore any subsequent certificate warnings.


8) You should see both the sites listed under the Sites pane now:

SitePair-9Note:- Pairing is done only from one of the sites. This is because the pairing process establishes reciprocity by configuring the connection in the reverse direction as well. However, when you open the site recovery solution at the remote vCenter Server, you will be prompted to enter the administrator credentials of the other site.


Installing Storage Replication Adapters (SRA) or vSphere Replication (VR) (Depends on your setup what are you going to use in your environment)

Once you have the SRM instances installed and paired, the next step is to install the Storage Replication Adapters. SRAs are coded and provided by the storage vendors. VMware certifies the SRAs and posts them as compatible with the SRM. Downloading SRA The certified versions of SRA can be downloaded directly from VMware’s website. Keep in mind that most vendors publish the updated versions of SRA at their website before it is certified by VMware. Since SRA is a vendor-supported component, you can choose to install the latest version available from the vendor.

This is how you can download an SRA:

1. Go to VMware’s website at

2.Navigate to the vCenter Site Recovery Manager option in Downloads under the Product Downloads category. (

3.Once you are at the download page for vCenter SRM, click on the Go to Downloads hyperlink listed against SRA.


4. At the Download Storage Replication Adapters for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager page, you will see a list of all the certified SRAs. Click on the Download Now button corresponding to the needed SRA.

SRA2 ==========================================================

Installing SRA

The SRA component has to be installed on both the SRM servers at both sites. In most cases, the SRA installation is pretty simple and straightforward, but this can be different from vendor to vendor. You need to refer to the vendor documentation for the installation procedure.

1) Once Download specific SRA from VMware Web site run .EXE file to start installation. (For Installation Demo – I am using Dell Compellent_StorageCenterSRA)

SRA32) Click on Next at the Welcome screen..


SRA54) Installation Setup will start the software installation..

SRA65) Click Finish to complete installation.

SRA76) You Need to install SRA on SRM server If you are not installing on SRM server it will give configuration error after finishing the installation.

SRA8Once the installation is complete, follow this procedure to discover the installed SRA component:

1. Connect to the protected/recovery site of vCenter Server using  vSphere Client.

2. Navigate Home –> Solutions and Applications –> And Site Recovery.

3. Click on Array Managers in the left pane and navigate to the SRAs tab. click on Rescan SRAs to discover the installed SRA.

SRA94. Repeat the procedure at the recovery site as well to discover the SRA.


Adding an Array Manager

Once SRA installed and discovered at both the sites, we need to add an array manager at both the sites. An array manager is required to discover the replicated LUNs and perform other storage operations initiated by SRM.

This is how you add an array manager:

1. Connect to the protected/recovery site of vCenter Server using  vSphere Client.

2. Navigate Home –> Solutions and Applications –> And Site Recovery.

3) Click on Array Managers in the left pane, select the site, and click on Add Array Manager to bring up the Add Array Manager wizard, as shown in the following screenshot:

SRA104) Follow the windows and supply a Display Name for the array manager and an SRA Type. The SRA type value field will be prepopulated with the SRA that is already installed. Click on Next to continue.

5) Follow the windows and provide vendor specific Storage Array details and Click Next.

6) Repeat the same procedure on the recovery site as well.

7) Once done, the Array Managers for both the sites should be listed, as shown in the below screenshot


Enabling an Array Pair

An array pair shows the replication relationship between two arrays. Once Array Manager has been added to both Protected and Recovery Sites we need to enable an array pair. For the array manager to detect an array pair, there should be a replication schedule already created between the arrays. Refer to the vendor documentation to understand what a replication schedule means for the vendor’s array and the procedure to create it.

This is how you enable an array pair:

1. Make sure that there is a replication schedule enabled between the two arrays.

2. Navigate to the vCenter Server’s inventory home page and click on Site Recovery.

3. Click on Array Managers in the left pane.

4. Select an added Array Manager (local or remote), and click on Refresh to discover an array pair.


5. If the Refresh action discovers an array pair, the array pair will be listed.  The Refresh action has to be done at both of the sites.

6.  Array pairs discovered are not enabled by default. To enable an array pair, select an array pair and click on Enable. This operation has to done at only one of the sites.

EAP27. When an array pair is enabled, it tries to discover the devices (LUNs) for which a replication schedule is enabled at the array. Keep in mind that not all devices with a replication schedule are displayed as a device for the array pair; only the ones that are presented to a host at the protected site are displayed. To view the detected and filtered replication-enabled devices with the array manager selected, navigate to the Devices tab and click on Refresh, as shown in the following screenshot:



Continue to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 3

Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 1

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  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 4

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 5

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 6

  Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 7

Note :- I have used pictures in this post from SRM book written by Abhilash GB and would like to Thank you him for this 🙂

vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 1


With today’s IT infrastructures, be it virtual or physical, disaster recovery has importance. Any business should be able to continue operating with reduced downtime for its sustainability amongst the competition. Two of the major factors used to service are High Availability and Recoverability.

Recoverability is the guarantee that the service offered and its data are protected against failures, and High Availability is the guarantee that the service offered would remain operational and the failures are handled in a way that the user of the service would not even know that there was a failure. There are many ways in which businesses plan and implement disaster recovery.

When we talk about High Availability and Recoverability these two factors are important to discuss – Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

What are RPO and RTO?

RPO defines the amount of data an organization can afford to lose when measured against time. RTO defines the amount of downtime the organization can afford for its services before it becomes operational again.

Both RPO and RTO are defined by time. For example, an organization can have an RPO set to 4 hours and RTO set to 1 hour. This means, it can afford to lose up to 4 hours of data, but it can only afford a service downtime up to 1 hour.

RTO only defines the amount of time a service can remain unavailable but doesn’t account for the data loss. But RPO defines how much data loss can be afforded.

srm2For example RPO is 4 hours, RTO is 2 hours and WRT is 30 minutes and disaster occurs at 10 am so we need to restore data by point of 6 am and recover the site by 12 pm. And then WRT starts for checking the servers integrity site must be fully functional by 12:30 pm. MTD in this case in 2:30 hours.

WRT (Work Recovery Time) – Determines the maximum tolerable amount of time that is needed to verify the system and/or data integrity. This could be, for example, checking the databases and logs, making sure applications or services are running and are available.

MTD (Maximum Tolerable Downtime) = RTO + WRT.

There are still so many companies following manual /Traditional way for BC/DR. To orchestrate this VMware has product called Site Recovery Manager.

Site Recovery Manager (SRM)

Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an orchestration software that is used to automate disaster recovery testing and Failover. It can be configured to leverage either vSphere Replication or a supported array-based replication. SRM is a not a product that performs an automatic Failover, which means that there is no intelligence built into SRM that would detect a disaster/outage and Failover the VMs. The disaster recovery process should be manually initiated. Hence, it is not a high availability solution; it is purely a tool that orchestrates a Recovery Plan.

SRM requires both the protected and recovery sites to be managed by separate instances of the vCenter Server. It also requires an SRM instance at both the sites. SRM’s functionalities are currently only available via the vSphere Client and not the vSphere Web Client. Hence, an SRM plugin needs to be installed on the same machine where the vSphere Client is installed.

Refer to the following figure:

srm3Installing SRM on the protected and recovery sites:

vCenter SRM has to be installed at both the protected and recovery sites for the disaster recovery setup to work. The installation process is identical regardless of the site it is being installed on; the only difference is that at each site, you will be registering the SRM installation to the vCenter Server managing that site. SRM can either be installed on the same machine that has vCenter Server installed or on a different machine. The decision to choose either one of the installation models depends on how you want to size or separate the service-providing machines in your infrastructure. The most common deployment model is to have both vCenter and SRM on the same machine. The rationale behind this is that SRM will not work in a standalone mode; this means that if your vCenter Server goes down, there is no way you could access SRM. Like vCenter Server, SRM can be installed on a physical or virtual machine. Another factor that you must take into account is the installation of SRA. SRAs have to be installed on the same machine where you already have SRM installed. Some SRAs need a reboot after installation. So, it is important to read through the storage vendor’s documentation prior to proceeding to make a deployment choice for SRM. If the vCenter downtime is not feasible, then you will have to consider installing SRM on a separate machine.

Note:- SRA only required when you are using Array-based Replication to replicate from Protected Site to Recovery Site.


SRM Installation

1. Download SRM installer from VMware site and double click .EXE file to start installation process

si12. Click Run to start installation

si23. It will start SRM Installation process and Extract installation files.

si34. Click the Next button in the Welcome page.

si45. Click Next in the VMware Patents page.

si56. Select I agree in the License agreement and click Next..

si67. Change the Destination folder if required or click Next to install at default location ..

si78. If you want to use VR for VMs replication choose Install vSphere Replication, If want to use Array-based Replication choose Do Not install vSphere Replication and Click Next.

si89. Enter details of the vCenter Server to which this SRM will be registered to and Click Next.

si910. Make a selection of your choice and click on Next to continue. Here, I have chosen to let the installer generate a new certificate.  Use the second option if you already have a certificate file from your certificate authority. VMware recommends using CA-signed certificates for all its products.

si1011. Enter Organization name and Organization Unit and Click Next…

si1112. Enter Name of the Local Site and details and Click Next..

si1213. Choose Database and enter ODBC DSN details and click Next..

si1314. Click Install at Ready to install wizard to start the installation…

si1415. It will take few minutes to complete the installation

si1516. Click Finish to complete the Installation process.


When all these components are put together, a  paired site protected by SRM will look as below:-


Continue to Part – 2 for Installation repair , Site Pairing, and Installation of SRA.

Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 1

 Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 2

 Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 3

 Click here to go to vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.X – Part 4

Note :- I have used few pictures in this post from SRM book written by Abhilash GB and would like to Thank him for this 🙂

Installing Storage Replication Adapters (SRA)

My VCAP5-DCD Experience

I got so many messages to share my experience with the VCAP5-DCD. So here is my VCAP5-DCD preparation and Exam experience.

VCAP5-DCD, no need to lie, is one of the hardest certification I had to pass; by the way I passed it in my second attempt ;-).

I took this exam on 21st August, 2014. For VCAP5-DCD you need to understand all the nuances of a typical customer scenario which you will be working as an enterprise architect with focus on virtualization of course.

The exam consists of 100 questions with Single choice, multiple choices, drag-drop and 6 Visio like scenario based design questions that need to complete in 275 minutes (including 30 minutes extra for non-English country…was lucky to get this 🙂 ). The exam covers all the topics mentioned in the blueprint. VMware has been doing a good job of making sure that all they give in the blueprint is covered in the exam and also the exam live up to the “Advanced “category which these exams are part.

Make sure that you understand every aspect of a project design such as Goals, Requirements, Constraint, Risks, Assumptions in very details and have a clear understanding of what these are and given a scenario how to recognize them. Read and understand HA/DRS and Resource Pool concepts in great detail, look at all the backup and DR strategies and concepts (e.g. RPO, RTO, WRT and MTD).

There is no practical question but I would encourage people preparing for the exam to do a lot of mock design on paper in networking and storage areas with various permutation and combination of network cards , HBA and storage tiers.

Handling the time in the exam is a critical factor makes sure that you target approximately 25-30 questions per hour which will give you sufficient time in the last hour so that you don’t have to rush and you can concentrate on the Visio type Design questions and also review your answers if necessary. (Good News Review is Available now)

About the books I used for the exam, here the list:-

VMware VCAP5-DCD Exam Blueprint: –

VMware vSphere Design 2nd Edition: This is a must read not only for the exam preparation but for all the information’s needed for a good design implementation; all the components are reviewed (storage, network, compute, management …)

VCAP5-DCD Official Cert Guide: It’s the VMware Press official book on the VCAP-DCD exam. It’s a good book when you start from the beginning.

VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive: This is great to read this book wrote by Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman, it’s just the reference on HA, DRS and Storage DRS mechanisms.

Don’t forget to look at the VMware Design tool simulator for the VCAP5-DCD exam, Watch at least 3-4 times and will save time in exam.

Here are few links:-


Good luck everyone for trying to pass the VCAP5-DCD exam and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the exam 🙂

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