VMware Replication via NAKIVO Backup & Replication

VMware Replication Essentials

VMware replication is the process of creating an identical copy (aka replica) of a VM on a target ESXi host. This VM replica is a clone of a regular VM which is available in the VMware vSphere inventory. A VM replica remains in the powered off state and does not consume extra resources. You can simply power it on in case of a disaster.

VMware replication can protect your business-critical services from a number of problems that may occur in your datacenter. For instance:

  • Critical VM failure or event loss due to a bad OS update, malicious attack, or accidental deletion;
  • Failure of the host datastore or the host itself as a result of a power loss, hardware malfunction, or a fire;
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, or typhoons.

VMware replication creates copies of VMs that can be stored locally or offsite, providing the ability to almost instantly recover a damaged service from the respective VM replica. Thus, recovery times with VM replication are dramatically better, when compared to those of restoring from VM backups. NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows performing custom replication.

How to Create a VMware VM Replica with NAKIVO Backup & Replication

Below you can see a simple scheme that describes how VMware replication works:

Simple VMware Replication Scheme

Let’s find out how to perform VMware replication with NAKIVO Backup & Replication step by step.

Step 1

  1. First, log in to the product’s web interface.

    To create a new VMware replication job, go to the Jobs dashboard. In the Create tab, find the Replication category and then choose VMware vSphere replication job.

    Create a new VMware vSphere replication job

    This will open the New Replication Job Wizard for VMware.

Step 2

Now you need to go through all the steps of the New Replication Job Wizard for VMware.

  1. Select the VM you need from the list. Check the checkbox to the left of this VM.

    Click Next.

    Selecting a VM from the Job Wizard’s list

    NOTE: In our example, we selected the DC1 VM. This is how it looks in the vCenter inventory.

    Original VM in the VMware vCenter pool
  2. Set up the Destination at the second step of the Wizard. The Destination is divided into three parts:
    • Container: Select the container to replicate the VM to. This can be either the same location with the original VM, or another ESXi host, or even some offsite host;
    • Destination Container
    • Datastore: Select the destination datastore for the replica VM from those available in the list;
    • Destination Datastore
    • Network: Select the network which will be used for the replicated VM;
    • Destination Network

    When all parameters are set, click Next.

    Final step in Destination dashboard
  3. At the third step of the Wizard –the Schedule –check the checkbox to the left of Do not schedule, run on demand.

    Click Next.

    Choose Do not schedule, run on demand
  4. At the fourth step of the Wizard, you can set up the Retention. In our case, we have chosen to leave the default retention value.

    Click Next.

    NAKIVO Retention policy
  5. At the final step of the Wizard – Options – you need to first specify the Job name. In our case, we named it VMware replication job.

    Click Advanced options

    Specify Job Name
  6. In the Replica Names section of Advanced options you can set the replica naming rule:
    • Append: Here you can either leave the default appendix to be added to the name of the original VM (i.e, “-replica”), or change the value as you need. You can also specify where the appendix will be added: after or before the name of the original VM;
    • Leave replica names as is: This option means that the name of the VM replica will be the same as the name of the original VM;
    • Enter custom replica names: Choosing this option, you can specify a completely new name for the replicated VM.

    Click Finish to finish creating the replication job and exit from the Wizard.

    Advanced options for replica names

Step 3

At this step, you can test the created replication job. To do this, go to the Jobs dashboard and choose the replication job you’ve just created. In the Virtual Machines section, verify the name of the original VM, which will be replicated, and in the Target Storage section, select the target storage for the VM replica.

Jobs dashboard with the created replication job

Go to Run Job and click Run.

Manual running the replication job

If the replication job finishes successfully, you will see the speed of this job in the Speed (MB/s) widget and the amount of raw data transferred to the target storage in the Transferred Data (GB) widget.

Job dashboard with completed replication job

Let’s find out how the replica is displayed in the vCenter inventory. Go to the replica destination container in vCenter, which was specified before; you will find your replica with the name you specified. In our case, it is DC1-replica. If vCenter shows the alarm notification next to the replica’s name, you don’t need to worry.

Replica in vCenter

It is still the full replica (clone) of the original VM. The vCenter alarm notification means that you have identical MAC addresses for the VM replica and the original (source) VM.

vCenter alarm notification

Concluding Thoughts

NAKIVO Backup & Replication provides the ability to replicate VMware VMs to minimize the risk of data loss and dramatically improve the time for recovery from a disaster. Being able to schedule the replication and set up the retention, you can always be sure that replicas of your critical VMs are their exact copies and reflect the actual state of the original VMs. You can create up to 30 recovery points for each VM replica with NAKIVO Backup and Replication. Every recovery point is a regular VM snapshot, and if the original VM has been damaged, you can easily return the VM replica back to the last known good state. Even if your primary virtual infrastructure site is down, and you are on a disaster recovery site, when the primary site is recovered you will be able to easily transfer changed data back to it with NAKIVO Backup & Replication and return the business to the normal functioning.

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