Cross-Cloud Disaster Recovery with VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution

December 15, 2022

Author’s Note: This post originally appeared on the author’s personal blog, and it has been reposted with permission.

Disaster Recovery is an important aspect of any cloud deployment. It is always possible that an entire cloud data center or region of the cloud provider goes down. This has already happened to most cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and will surely happen again in future. Cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud will readily suggest that you have a Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy that spans across multiple regions, so that if a single geographic region goes down, business can continue to operate from another region. This only sounds good in theory, but there are several issues in the methodology of using another region of a single cloud provider. Here are some of the key reasons which I think that single cloud provider's Cross-Region DR will not be that effective:

  • A single Cloud Region failure might cause huge capacity issues for other regions used as DR
  • Cloud regions are not fully independent. For example, AWS RDS allows read replicas in other regions, but one wrong entry will get replicated across read replicas. This breaks the notion that "Cloud regions are independent"
  • Data is better protected from accidental deletions when stored across clouds. For Example, what if malicious code or an employee runs a script which deletes all the data? In most cases, this will not impact cross cloud.

In this blog post we will see how VMware cross cloud disaster recovery solution can help customers/partners to overcome BC/DR challenges.

Deployment Architecture

Here is my deployment architecture and connectivity:

  • One VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC
  • One Azure VMware Solution SDDC
  • Both SDDC's are connected with a Megaport MCR


Figure 1: Cross Cloud Connectivity Diagram

Activate VMware Site Recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS

To configure site recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC, go to SDDC page, click on the Add Ons tab and under the Site Recovery Add On, Click the ACTIVATE button


Figure 2: VMware Cloud on AWS SRM Activation

In the pop-up window Click ACTIVATE again


Figure 3: SRM Activation

This will deploy SRM on SDDC, wait for it to finish.

Deploy VMware Site Recovery Manager on Azure VMware Solution

In your Azure VMware Solution private cloud, under Manage, select Add-ons > Disaster recovery and click on "Get Started"


Figure 4: Azure SRM Add-Ons

From the Disaster Recovery Solution drop-down, select VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and provide the License key, select agree with terms and conditions, and then select Install


Figure 5: Deployment of SRM


Figure 6: Deployment in Progress


Figure 7: Successfully deployed

After the SRM appliance installs successfully, you'll need to install the vSphere Replication appliances. Each replication server accommodates up to 200 protected VMs. Scale in or scale out as per your needs.

Move the vSphere server slider to show the number of replication servers you want based on the number of VMs to be protected. Then select Install


Figure 8: Deploy vSphere Replication on AVS

Once installed, verify that both SRM and the vSphere Replication appliances are installed. After installing VMware SRM and vSphere Replication, you need to complete the configuration and site pairing in vCenter Server.


Figure 9: AVS vCenter Console to access SRM

  1. Sign in to vCenter Server as cloudadmin@vsphere.local.
  2. Navigate to Site Recovery, check the status of both vSphere Replication and VMware SRM, and then select OPEN Site Recovery to launch the client.

Configure site pairing in vCenter Server

Before starting site pair, make sure firewall rules between VMware cloud on AWS and Azure VMware solution has been opened as described Here and Here

To start pairing select NEW SITE PAIR in the Site Recovery (SR) client in the new tab that opens.


Figure 10: SRM Site Pair

Enter the remote site details, and then select FIND VCENTER SERVER INSTANCES and select then select Remote vCenter and click on NEXT, at this point, the client should discover the VRM and SRM appliances on both sides as services to pair.

Select the appliances to pair and then select NEXT.

Review the settings and then select FINISH. If successful, the client displays another panel for the pairing. However, if unsuccessful, an alarm will be reported.


Figure 11: SRM Site PAIR

 


Figure 12: SRM Site PAIR


Figure 13:  SRM Site PAIR

 


Figure 14: SRM Site PAIR


Figure 15: SRM Site PAIR

 


Figure 16:  Pairing Completed

After you've created the site pairing, you can now view the site pairs and other related details as well as you are ready to plan for Disaster Recovery.


Figure 17:  Pairing Summary

 

Planning

Mappings allow you to specify how Site Recovery Manager maps virtual machine resources on the protected site to resources on the recovery site, you can configure site-wide mappings to map objects in the vCenter Server inventory on the protected site to corresponding objects in the vCenter Server inventory on the recovery site.

  • Network Mapping
  • IP Customization
  • Folder Mapping
  • Resource Mapping
  • Storage Policy Mapping
  • Placeholder Datastores


Figure 18: Mappings

Creating Protection Groups

A protection group is a collection of virtual machines that the Site Recovery Manager protects together. Protection group are per SDDC configuration and needs to be created on each SDDC if VMs are replicated in bi-directionally.


Figure 19: Protection Groups

Recovery Plan

A recovery plan is like an automated run book. It controls every step of the recovery process, including the order in which Site Recovery Manager powers on and powers off virtual machines, the network addresses that recovered virtual machines use, and so on. Recovery plans are flexible and customizable.

A recovery plan runs a series of steps that must be performed in a specific order for a given workflow such as a planned migration or re-protection. You cannot change the order or purpose of the steps, but you can insert your own steps that display messages and run commands.

A recovery plan includes one or more protection groups. Conversely, you can include a protection group in more than one recovery plan. For example, you can create one recovery plan to handle a planned migration of services from the protected site to the recovery site for the whole SDDC and another set of plans per individual departments. Thus, having multiple recovery plans referencing one protection group allows you to decide how to perform recovery.


Figure 20: Recovery Plan

Steps to add a VM for replication (there is multiple ways to accomplish this, but here is one option):

  • Choose VM and right click on it and select All Site Recovery actions and click on Configure Replication
  • Choose Target site and replication server to handle replication
  • VM validation happens and then choose Target datastore
  • Under Replication setting, choose RPO, point in time instances etc..
  • Choose protection group to which you want to add this VM and check summary and click Finish


Figure 21: Configure Replication

 


Figure 22:  Configure Replication


Figure 23: Configure Replication

 


Figure 24: Configure Replication


Figure 25: Configure Replication

 


Figure 26: Configure Replication

 


Figure 27: Configure Replication

 


Figure 28: Configure Replication

 


Figure 29: Configure Replication

 

Summary

Cross-cloud disaster recovery ensures one of the most secure and reliable solutions for service availability, which is why cross-cloud disaster recovery is often the best route for businesses is that it supply IT resilience and the business continuity. This continuity is very important when considering how companies operate, how customers and clients rely on them for continuous service, and when looking at your company’s critical data, which you do not want to be exposed or compromised.

Frankly speaking, IT disasters happen and happen everywhere, including public clouds (much more often than you might think). When they occur, they present stressful situations which require fast action. Even with a strategic method for addressing these occurrences in place, it can seem to spin out of control. When posed with these situations, IT leaders must keep face, remain calm and be able to fully rely on the system they have in place or the partner they are working with for disaster recovery measures.

Customers and partners with VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution can build cross cloud disaster recovery solutions to simplify disaster recovery with the only VMware-integrated solution that runs on any cloud. VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) supplies policy-based management minimizes downtime in case of disasters via automated orchestration and enables non-disruptive testing of your disaster recovery plans.

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