in the first part of the series, we provided an high-level overview of the PowerFlex 3.6 release. you can read all about it here.

now, let’s dive deeper into the integration of PowerFlex with VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager).

VMware Site Recovery Manager is a business continuity and disaster recovery solution that helps you plan, test, and run the recovery of virtual machines between a protected vCenter Server site and a recovery vCenter Server site.

You can use Site Recovery Manager to implement different types of recovery from the protected site to the recovery site.

Planned migration is the orderly migration of virtual machines from the protected site to the recovery site. Planned migration prevents data loss when migrating workloads in an orderly fashion. For planned migration to succeed, both sites must be running and fully functional.

Disaster recovery does not require that both sites be up and running, and it can be initiated in the event of the protected site going offline unexpectedly. During a disaster recovery operation, failure of operations on the protected site is reported, but otherwise ignored.

Site Recovery Manager orchestrates the recovery process with the replication mechanisms, to minimize data loss and system downtime.

  • Operates as an extension of vCenter Server
  • Automates the recovery or migration of virtual machines between a protected site and a recovery site
  • Uses array-based replication solutions from other vendors, in our case, it’s PowerFlex

Planned Migration

Planned migration is a vCenter Site Recovery Manager workflow that enables application-consistent migration of virtual machine workloads with zero data loss to the recovery site

Automated Failback

Automated failback provides an automated workflow to migrate virtual machines back to the protected site after the recovery site is restored.

About Storage Replication Adapters and Array Managers

An SRA is a program provided by a storage array vendor that enables vCenter Site Recovery Manager to work with the vendor’s array.

Functions performed by SRAs:

  • Array discovery
  • Replicated logical unit number (LUN)
    recognition
  • Initiation of recovery plan tests and
    execution

An SRA is used by an array manager, a vCenter Site Recovery Manager component that helps to identify available arrays and replicated LUNs.

  • PowerFlex SRA enables the use of PowerFlex native asynchronous replication as the replication engine for protecting VMs on vSphere datastores
  • PowerFlex SRA for use with Site Recovery Manager 8.2* or 8.3* on the SRM Server appliance
  • PowerFlex replication must be configured and working
  • At least one Replication Consistency Group containing volumes that are:
    • Mapped to ESXi hosts
    • Used to create the datastores hosting the VMs that SRM will protect


PowerFlex SRA – Architecture


Failover and Planned Migration with vCenter Site Recovery Manager Recovery Plans

Unplanned Failover – Recover from unexpected site failure:

  • Full or partial site failure

The most critical but least frequent use case:

  • Unexpected site failures do not happen often.
  • When site failures happen, fast recovery is critical to the business.

Preventive Failover – Anticipate potential data center outages:

  • Examples: hurricane, floods, forced evacuation, and so on

Initiate preventive failover for smooth migration:

  • Graceful shutdown of virtual machines at protected site
  • Using vCenter Site Recovery Manager planned migration capabilities to ensure no data loss
  • Planned Migration

Most frequent vCenter Site Recovery Manager use case:

  • Planned data center maintenance
  • Global load balancing

Ensure smooth site migrations:

  • Test to minimize risk.
  • Execute partial failovers.
  • Use vCenter Site Recovery Manager planned migration to minimize data loss.
  • Use automated failback, which enables bidirectional migrations.

Planned Migration and Application Consistency

Planned migration ensures application consistency and no data loss during migration by providing the following:

  • Graceful shutdown of production virtual machines in an application-consistent state
  • Data sync to complete replication of virtual machines
  • Recovery of fully replicated virtual machines

Recovery Testing and SRM

The ability to non-disruptively test a recovery plan is one of the most powerful features of VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Frequent testing reduces risk by reducing drift between plans and desired behavior. It also provides the confidence that if a disaster strikes you are ready, knowing how SRM and your applications will respond.
An SRM recovery plan test is designed to be as close as possible to running an actual recovery plan while not disrupting the protected VMs and not impacting replication.
From a storage perspective, SRM will utilize the PowerStore snapshots at the designated testing site so replication will still keep going on and from a network perspective, you can either designate your own dedicated vSwitches that needs to be isolated from your production network or you can use the built in SRM “auto-network”, while it’s easier to go with the latter, networking will only work between the VMs running on that host during the test since, its not connected to any physical nic so really, the latter option is more of a safety belt mechanism rather than a true test scenario so you really want to designate a real, isolated network vSwitches for the test.

PowerFlex SRA Compatibility Matrix

The following table presents the Dell EMC PowerFlex SRA Compatibility Matrix; the latest versions are recommended:

SRM
8.2 (Photon OS, build 8.2.1.4805-17078489 or later)
8.3 (Photon OS, build 8.3.0.4381-16356473 or later)

Setting Up the PowerFlex Native Replication

To use the VMware Site Recovery Manager, the PowerFlex clusters must be configured for native replication. Refer to the to Configure and Customize PowerFlex Guide for a detailed explanation of setting up the PowerFlex clusters for native replication.

Installation

  • Verify that PowerFlex clusters are configured to be fully operational, including remote systems, volume groups, and replication sessions.
  • Download the Dell EMC PowerFlex SRA file:
    Dell_EMC_PowerFlex_SRA_Linux_v.1.0.0
  • Go to SRM WEB UI https://<FQDN>/, and click Launch SRM Appliance Management.

The Welcome to VMware Appliance Management dialog box appears.

Enter your credentials (default administrator user is ‘admin’), and click LOG IN.

In the SRM Appliance Management dialog box, click Storage Replication Adapters.

Click NEW ADAPTER; the New Adapter dialog box appears.

Click UPLOAD, and in the resulting file browser, navigate to and select the Dell EMC PowerFlex SRA.tar.gz file; the upload process commences.

Close the resulting Success window, confirming a successful SRA upload procedure.

Advanced Configuration

Section Parameter Default Value Description
client
failover_timeout 10 The

failover_timeout

parameter determines how long SRA attempts to wait failover procedure before a timeout error occurs.

connection_timeout

10 seconds The

connection_timeout

parameter determines how long SRA attempts to connect before a timeout error occurs. In addition, the parameter determines how long SRA waits before making another attempt if the connection is interrupted. This parameter is measured in seconds. You can adjust this parameter according to your network configuration.

 


ssl
verify False The verify parameter determines whether SRA validates a server SSL certificate. If the parameter set to True, SRA performs the validation. If the parameter is set to False, SRA does not perform the validation. NOTE: You must adjust this parameter if you want a secure connection.
ca_path N/A The ca_path parameter

specifies a path to a root certificate.

If verify is enabled and you are using a self-signed certificate, you should export the root certificate from the storage host, place it beside the downloaded config file and set ca_path to the certificate name if you are using the Linux version. For the Windows version of the SRA, do not set the ca_path parameter. You must import the certificate through the Windows Trust Store. NOTE: You must adjust this parameter if you want a secure connection.

log

retention_time 43200 The

retention_time

parameter specify logs retention time for delete

old logs

Here you can see a demo of VMware SRM Failover with PowerFlex 3.6.

A guest post by Tomer Nahumi

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