Replication and Disaster Recovery Using VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (VCDR)

Introduction

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery (VCDR) protects your vSphere virtual machines by replicating them periodically to a VMware Cloud backup site and recovering them as needed to a VMware Cloud on AWS Recovery Software Defined Data Center ("SDDC").

VCDR supports two deployment modes- On-demand and Pilot Light:

  • The on-demand deployment (also known as "just in time" deployment) of a cloud DR site provides an attractive alternative to continuously maintaining a warm standby cloud DR site. With on-demand deployment, the recurring costs of a cloud DR site are eliminated in their entirety until a failover occurs and cloud resources are provisioned.
  • With a Pilot Light deployment, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery enables a smaller subset of SDDC hosts to be deployed ahead-of-time for recovering critical applications with lower RTO requirements than an on-demand approach. The Pilot Light deployment mode assists organizations to reduce the total cost of cloud infrastructure by maintaining a scaled-down version of a fully functional environment always running in warm-standby while ensuring that core applications are readily available when a disaster  occurs.

VCDR supports two different sites which can be configured as protected sites:

  • On-prem vCenter 
  • VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC

The following figure demonstrates communication between VCDR components

 

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery components work together from protected site to cloud backup to failover and failback.

 

 

Use Cases

  • Protecting Virtual machine from either one or more sites
  • Utilise the Cloud backup space to save the replicated VM from different Protected sites
  • Configure the replication of VM which has a Higher RTO as compared to critical workloads
  • Single VM Recovery from Snapshots to a recovery site or on protected site
  • Ransomware Recovery

Pre-requisites

  • User account API token
  • On-prem or VMC on AWS SDDC
  • Subscription for VCDR
  • Recovery SDDC (3 node minimum) deployed in case of Pilot Light.
  • When you deploy your recovery SDDC, it must be connected to an AWS account belonging to you, called the 'customer AWS account'.

General Considerations/Recommendations

  • When you deploy your Recovery SDDC, it must be connected to an AWS account belonging to you, called the 'customer AWS account'.
  • Since VCDR also utilises snapshot technology, ensure no overlap of backup and replication tasks are happening at the same time.
  • Deploy a minimum of 2 Connector for resilience and load balancing
  • Add additional connector for every 500 VM configured for replication

Cost Implications

  • Combination of storage and virtual machine. For detailed information, see link.
  • per-TiB charge based on the protected storage capacity
  • per virtual machine charge based on the number of protected VMs (total price = $/TiB + $/VM)

Performance Considerations

While the minimum RTO of 4 hours is configurable, also add recovery SDDC creation time when designing for On-demand use case.

Documentation Reference

VMware VCDR user guide

 

Enabling Replication Using VCDR

The following figure shows the replication and failback workflow in an on-demand SDDC Scenario. 

The following figure shows the replication and failback workflow in a Pilot Light Scenario. 

Setup a Protected Site

VCDR supports two types of protected sites for both On-Demand and Pilot Light SDDC deployment – on-prem vSphere and VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. 

On-Prem vSphere 

Before configuring the on-prem environment, note the network requirements for the DRaaS connector  and also configuring API token in the  Intro to DR document. Procedure:

  1. In the VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery UI, click Sites > Protected sites.
  2. Click the Set up protected site button in the upper right corner.
  3. In the Setup protected site dialog box, under Site types select On-prem vSphere.
  4. Enter a name for the protected site.
  5. Select a time zone from the drop-down menu, and then click the button on the right to set the time zone for the protected site.
  6. Click Setup.


VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC 

Before you set up a protected site for an SDDC, you must deploy an SDDC and have a network segment already configured for it.

When the protected site is a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC, the time zone schedule followed for snapshot/replication is dependent on the region of the source SDDC deployment. The time zone cannot be modified and you must adjust the schedule of replication accordingly.  Note:  the SDDC which is being protected should belong to the same account.

  1. In the VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery UI, click Sites > Protected sites.
  2. Click Set up protected site in the upper right corner.
  3. In the Setup protected site dialog box, under Site types select VMware Cloud on AWS.
  4. Under Cloud backup, if there is more than one Cloud backup site deployed in your environment, you can select the backup site. The backup site you select cannot be in the same AWS region where your Recovery SDDC is running.
  5. Under Time Zone, you see that the time zone is set to the same time zone as your recovery SDDC. After the protected site is created, you can change this time zone for the site.

 

 

  1. Click Next.
  2. Select an SDDC to protect. This SDDC cannot be in the same AWS region where your Recovery SDDC is deployed.
  3. Click Next.

  1. Create firewall rules. You have a choice when creating the firewall rules. You can allow the system to create firewall rules for the DRaaS Connector (recommended). Or you can manually create those firewall rules from the VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery UI. If you are not sure which to select, see Network Considerations for a Protected SDDC for more information.

 

  1. Click Setup. When the site is set up, it is displayed as a protected site.

 


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