VMware Replication

VMware vSphere replication creates and maintains an identical copy of a source VM on a target ESXi host. The copy of the source VM – called a VM replica – is a regular VM that is available in VMware vSphere. VM replicas remain in a powered-off state and do not consume any resources. In case of disaster, you can simply fail over to your replicas and continue business operations as usual.

NAKIVO Backup & Replication offers advanced features to automate VMware replication. You can set up policy-based replication jobs that can protect VMs matching certain parameters (size, name, location, etc.). NAKIVO Backup & Replication can scan your infrastructure for new VMs and automatically add them to the relevant replication jobs if any are discovered. You can also replicate entire VMware containers (such as resource pools, folders, hosts, clusters, etc.) and have all the VMs in a container automatically included in the replication job. With either of these methods, you can ensure that all your critical VMs are protected without having to track their protection status manually.

With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can keep up to 30 recovery points for a VM replica. Each recovery point is a regular VM snapshot. If a source VM has been damaged, you can easily return the VM replica back to a previous state from vCenter or ESXi server.

Why use VMware vSphere Replication?

VM replication protects your business-critical services from a number of problems that can occur in a data center:

  • Critical VM loss/failure due to a bad OS update, virus, or accidental deletion
  • Host/datastore failure as a result of a power loss, hardware malfunction, or infrastructure damage (such as a fire or a burst water main)
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes or typhoons

VMware vSphere replication creates copies of source VMs that can be stored locally or offsite. You can near-instantly fail over from the source VM to the VM replica. Thus, recovery times with VM replication are dramatically better than with restoration from VM backups.

Disaster Recovery

You can minimize the risk of data loss and the length of downtime with disaster recovery procedures built on VM replication.

Using VM replication, you can significantly reduce costs and the time needed to recover your virtual infrastructure, minimizing interruption of your business services. Since VM replication creates an exact copy of source VMs, resuming business services is as simple and quick as powering on the VM replicas.

RPO and RTO Improvement

NAKIVO Backup & Replication enables you to reduce your recovery point objective (RPO), which is the measure of how far back in time your VMs are reverted in case of a disaster. You can set up your replication jobs to run as often as every minute, thus obtaining a near-real-time replication and one of the shortest RPOs.

With VM replication, you can also significantly decrease your recovery time objective (RTO), which is the time period within which you aim to restore your VMware virtual infrastructure. Because your VM replicas are regular VMware VMs, disaster recovery can be achieved by simply powering on the replicas.

Failover and Failback

During a disaster, all of your virtual infrastructures can be failed over from the primary site to a disaster recovery site. When the virtual infrastructure at the primary site is restored, you may want to return workloads with the failback process. Using NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can easily transfer changed data back to your primary site and resume regular business operations.

VMware Replication Features

VMware vSphere Replication: Support for Applications and Databases

Support for Applications and Databases

To create replicas of VMware VMs, NAKIVO Backup & Replication can use the Application-aware replication mode. Unlike the crash-consistent mode, the Application-aware mode uses Microsoft’s VSS service to correctly quiesce MS Exchange, SQL, and Active Directory data. This functionality also works for other applications or databases that flush in-memory data and pending I/O operations to disk before a snapshot is made. As a result, your VM replicas are transactionally consistent.

VMware Replication: Fully-Automated VM Protection

Fully-Automated VM Protection

NAKIVO Backup & Replication allows for complete automation of VM replication jobs with the help of rule-based policies. You can set up replication policies based on VM size, name, location, tag, or any combination of these and other parameters. A policy-based job replicates all VMs that match the policy rules and scans your infrastructure periodically, adding new matching VMs to the replication scope. Thus, you can rest assured that your important VMs are always protected.

Automatic Verification of VM Replicas

Automatic Verification of VM Replicas

NAKIVO Backup & Replication can automatically verify all VMware VM replicas by powering them on (with networking turned off) and making screenshots of the booted OSes. The product sends you screenshots of the test-recovered VMs as proof you’re your VMware VM replicas are functional.

Flexible Recovery Point Retention Policy

Flexible Recovery Point Retention Policy

With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can save up to 30 recovery points for a VM replica. Using the Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) rotation scheme, you can rotate recovery points on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Thin Disks for VM Replicas

Thin Disks for VM Replicas

With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can choose to create thin-provisioned disks for your VMware VM replicas, regardless of the disk types of your source VMs. Thick-provisioned disks occupy all space assigned for a VM (including the unused space) and are hence not efficient for space utilization. Thin disks, in contrast, consume only the space needed by the data (including the operating system and applications). Selecting the option to create only thin disks for your VM replicas helps you save a considerable amount of storage space.

Staged VM Replication (Seeding)

Staged VM Replication (Seeding)

VMware VMs can often be large, and thus initial VM replication can be time-consuming. To speed up the initial data transfer, you can perform a staged VM replication. With staged VM replication you can first transfer (i.e. seed) the initial VM replicas to removable media. You would then move the VM replicas to a new location, create a new replication job with the transferred VMs as the target, and perform only incremental replication.

VMware Replication Technology

NAKIVO Backup & Replication relies on VM snapshots to retrieve data and perform replication of VMware VMs. Temporary snapshots are automatically created and discarded by the product. NAKIVO Backup & Replication supports sparse, thin, thick, and flat VM disk types. The product can replicate VMware VMs in any power state: on, off, or suspended.

The initial full replication creates a regular VMware VM that is identical to the source VM. On subsequent job runs, the product identifies changed data blocks of the source VM using the VMware CBT technology, which essentially provides information about data blocks changed since the last checkpoint. All changes made since the last replication are sent to the target ESXi host and merged into the VM replica. The previous state of the VM replica is saved as a new recovery point, which is just a regular VM snapshot.