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Introduction To VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is VMware’s on-demand disaster recovery service that is delivered as a SaaS solution. This solution offers cloud economics to help keep organization disaster recovery costs under control. Based on technology from VMware’s recent acquisition of Datrium, it will enable IT and business continuity teams to easily and cost-effectively resume critical business operations into the cloud (VMware Cloud on AWS) after a disaster event in their on-premises environment.

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery can be used to protect your vSphere virtual machines by replicating them periodically to the cloud and recovering them as needed to a target VMware Cloud on AWS Software Defined Data Center. The target SDDC can be created immediately prior to performing a recovery and does not need to be provisioned to support the replications in the steady state.

Extending the current VMware Disaster Recovery solutions, building on the VMware Cloud on AWS platform, and leveraging your existing VMware vSphere on-premises capabilities, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery provides a simple to set up and easy to operate DRaaS solution.

Components of VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery solution is broken down into two main parts – the cloud-based services and the on-premises components.

Cloud Based Services

For the cloud-based service there are two components:

SaaS Orchestrator

SaaS Orchestrator is a cloud component that presents a user interface (UI) to consume the Service Offering and includes several disaster recovery orchestration capabilities to automate the disaster recovery process. It provides a centralized management dashboard for connecting your on-premises Protected Sites to the cloud-based DR resources, manages the scheduled Protection Groups operations securing your data to cloud-based storage, and orchestrates your DR plans for testing or actual failover. The SaaS-based management console will simplify DR maintenance operations, eliminating the burden of lifecycle managing the DR software. The Orchestrator also provides a direct path into creating and managing the VMC SDDC further simplifying cloud site management when needed.

Scale-out Cloud File System

A component that enables the efficient storage of backups of the protected virtual machines in cloud storage and allows virtual machines to be recovered very quickly without a time-consuming data rehydration process. It provides a sophisticated cloud-based file system datastore for holding multiple point-in-time copies of your protected VMs in native VM format and enabling the quick recovery from a Live Mount connection to the SDDC when needed for DR. The ability to power on VMs without waiting to fully rehydrate data from cloud storage to VMware Cloud on AWS, via a live mount NFS volume to the ESX hosts in VMware Cloud on AWS provides even faster recovery.

On-premises Components

For on premises there is a DRaaS Connector component available

DRaaS Connector

Connector is a virtual appliance installed in the VMware vSphere environment where the virtual machines to be protected are running under normal circumstances. This a OVA which can be deployed easily and it provides the basic vSphere snapshot and change block tracking mechanisms to transport on-premises VM data to the Scale-out Cloud File System for subsequent DR use.

Capabilities and Benefits

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery provides the following key capabilities:

  • Comprehensive SaaS simplicity across DR automation, on-demand recovery and site preparedness, the SCFS, and failback.
  • Instant power-on of VMs
  • “Live Mount” snapshots from the cloud
  • No need for VM format conversions
  • Optional pilot light clusters
  • Cost-optimized: Pay-per-use DR site in the public cloud, restarting VMs from low-cost cloud backup storage
  • Disaster & cybercrime recovery based on backups.
  • Continuous DR compliance checks
  • Automated compliance reporting
  • End-to-end security
  • A sophisticated workflow engine to easily spin up recovery plans for thousands of workloads
  • Highly efficient cloud storage layer for backups
  • A simplified pricing model
  • Minimal AWS egress charges

Key Constructs for VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution

From the SaaS Orchestrator UI you can easily begin to construct the elements required to establish your DR solution. The dashboard shown here provides the overall details of the systems and simple navigation points to protect your on-premises Sites, with Protection group policies and DR plans to automate the recovery tasks.

Protected Sites

On-premises vCenter environment where the DRaaS Connector appliance will be deployed and connect that site to a VMware Cloud DR instance in VMC. This will enable the protection of VMs in the On-Premises site to the Scale-out Cloud File System.

Protection Groups

Protection group provide the policy-based definitions for determining which VMs are selected, when they are protected (snapshot), and how long (retention) their recovery point is kept in the cloud for potential DR use. Flexible schedules and retention rules allow for near-term DR scenarios (4-hr RPO) as well as long term retention (days, weeks, months) for other scenarios like faster recovery point validation for ransomware attacks.

DR Plans

DR plans will define the orchestration steps for automated recovery. It has the complete site to site plans that capture the organizational details of the VMs that need to failover, the order of events, and any special handling (e.g., IP address changes), and notifications. Once the DR plan is defined, every 30 minutes DR health check will occur which gives the assurance that the DR plan will work when needed.

Whenever DR plans are executed – either for test or actual failover or failback – audit-ready automated audit reports are generated that will help meet internal company policies and regulatory compliance requirements.

Why the Solution Fits for Disaster Recovery?

VMware infrastructure is available on both on-premises site and SDDC vCenter for VMC on AWS and customer is already familiar with VMware infrastructure. This very valuable both during DR testing or failover since the customer don’t need to learn new operational processes and tools of a different cloud infrastructure.

With VMware Cloud DR, you will be able to manage both the cloud DR and production sites with VMware vCenter and retain access to familiar vSphere constructs – such as clusters, resource pools, datastores, virtual switches, and port groups – following a failover.

There is another important to know, DR VMC ON AWS site compute resource setup is only needed when DR strikes or when testing your DR plans. Leveraging the elasticity of cloud computing, you use VMware Cloud DR to spin up VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC infrastructure when needed so you won’t need to pay for cloud compute capacity for the non-DR situations.

Mainly the solution is very simple to set up, easy to operate, on-demand DR solution from your on-premises VMware sites to VMware Cloud on AWS locations. And this new VMware Cloud DR solution might be just the right fit for your business and budget.

Qualified and technically adept with 11 years of hands-on experience in VMware virtualization, Storage design, and network Infrastructure. He takes an innovative and pragmatic approach to analyze complex business needs, enabling him to conceptualize, design and implement cutting edge solutions based on the latest virtualization, storage, and cloud technologies.

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