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Site Recovery Manager Updated

Monday was a busy day for virtualization. I was happy to see a lot of products receive updates, and vCenter Site Recovery Manager 4 delivers the big news from VMware. Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a managed failover from one vCenter cloud to another site's inventory of hosts and storage.

SRM is a boon for many situations, as it allows this failover to occur much quicker under the right circumstances. I've mentioned both the PlateSpin Forge device and Vizioncore's continuous protection options for vConverter as solutions for remote data center protection of workloads, but these don't offer as broad of a reach as SRM. The differences revolve primarily around the fact that SRM will literally fail the whole data center over versus failing over individual workloads.

SRM version 4 introduces the following new features:

  • Support for vSphere: This is a natural progression that allows the current version of vCenter (version 4) to be supported with SRM. This can allow many organizations to proceed with the upgrade to vSphere with this support.
  • Support for NFS-based storage: Fibre channel or iSCSI systems were previously the only supported storage options. The NetApp community will rejoice in this news.
  • N:1 failover: This is a big point, as SRM can now provide managed failover for a number of hot sites to a single cold site or single shared recovery site. Previously, each managed site needed a cold site.

SRM still misses the distinction of being the one-size-fits-all solution for site failover in my opinion. The first shortcoming is the magical arrow on the whiteboard that goes from one datacenter to another for the storage replication. SRM doesn't manage the storage replication for the virtual environment.

The other shortcoming (likely related to my first point) is that SRM does not have a managed fail-back option. This means that if your disaster recovery site becomes fully production-class, you may have to stay there for a while.

SRM still is a pretty good offering for the scope of its protection, and the new features will be a welcome addition to the installations that use the feature.

Are you using SRM or going about it another way? Drop me a note or write a comment below.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 10/06/2009 at 12:47 PM


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