In light of many of the recent natural (and man-made) disasters around the world, risk management teams are re-assessing their Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans. Disaster recovery is often the last item on a long checklist for most businesses, but it is one of the most important. In today's competitive market, data is king and anything that gives you a competitive advantage is worth so much more than it was just two years ago. Many Fortune 500 companies have spent millions of dollars to duplicate primary data centers as part of disaster recovery plans. They have spent many millions more on software and policies to handle business continuity. These immense CAPEX and OPEX outlays are often out of the reach of small and medium businesses. How can you deploy a solid disaster recovery plan that will guarantee business continuity if your primary site (data center) goes offline?
In the last two years, I have been to many sites to plan, configure and deploy VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Currently in it's 4.1 release, SRM allows you to fail over your virtual infrastructure from one location to another. This can be between two local data centers or two very remote data centers. SRM automates the recovery process so that you do not have to manually manage all aspects of a fail over. SRM also allows you to test your recovery plans without affecting your production environment. Because the process is automated and managed by SRM, risk is greatly reduced when building out your disaster recovery infrastructure.
SRM requires several pieces of software and hardware in order to function. First and foremost, you will need VMware Virtual Infrastructure (either 3.X or vSphere 4), shared storage on a SAN that supports array level replication between sites, network connectivity between sites and the SRM software itself.
As you can see from the diagram to the left, SRM functions by mirroring your VMware virtual server environment at a remote data center. The replication of the virtual machines is handled by the storage array mirroring, and the configuration data as well as recovery plan information is handled by the SRM software. Databases in both locations keep all of this 'meta data' in sync. In the event of a disaster at the primary site (Protected Site), you can initiate a fail over to the secondary site (Recovery Site), and your environment is brought online in the secondary site. Business continues as usual until you are able to bring your primary site back online, or you build a new primary site. This is an easy, effective and proven way to build out a disaster recovery plan and maintain business continuity. SRM even supports multi-site protection to a single recovery site as shown in the diagram below. Make sure your business is protected in the event of a disaster. Contact us to have VMware Site Recovery Manager implemented for your business today.