Friday, April 12, 2013

How to configure Vsphere Replication 5.1

Steps Involved:

1. Download the replication appliance from

2. Burn it into a dvd (optional).

3. With the vSphere Client, install via ovf. The appliance will default to 2 cpus and 4 gbs of ram. It will have two virtual disks, a 2gb disk and a 10gb disk. It is based on Suse Linux 11.

4. The wizard will ask for network related settings and a password. I used vmware1! for the root account. It did not have the same requirements as the vmware data protection appliance.

5. Boot up the appliance.

6. Connect to the appliance through your browser. Use https and point to port 5480.

7. Log in as root with the password selected by you in step 4.

8. Four tabs will appear (VR, Network, Update and System). Nothing to change on the first tab. The Network tab allows you to change the network related settings of the appliance. The third tab allows you to view the version of the appliance and update it. The system tab allows you to reboot or shutdown the appliance.

9. Connect to the vcenter server using your browser. Use https and port 9443. Log in to the web client. You will notice the client plugin for replication configured automatically.

10. Click on the Replication tab in the web client. Take a look at your settings.

11. Click on the vcenter server, click on VMs and Templates, expand your vcenter server and datacenter and find the virtual machine to be replicated.

12. Right click on the virtual machine (xp1 in my case) and select All vSphere Replication Actions.

13. Select Configure Replication.

14. In the wizard, select your vcenter as the Target Site.

15. Select a different datastore as the Target Location.

16. Lower the RPO time to 15 minutes to speed up this test. Four hours is the default.

17. As soon as you finish the previous step, verify that a new folder exist on the second datastore. This folder contains the shadow vm, which is two files (the .vmdk and -flat.vmdk).

18. Wait a few minutes, log into the virtual machine and make some changes for testing. Create folders, remove folders, add software; your choice.

19. Wait some time and notice how new files appear in the folder of the shadow vm.

Recovery Steps:

1. Connect to the vcenter server via the web client.

2. Click on Vsphere Replication.

3. Click on Sites.

4. Select your site.

5. Click on Incoming Replications.

6. Right click on the virtual machine to be recovered.

7. Select Recover.

8. Recover the virtual machine in a different folder.

Note: This task was done without shutting down the virtual machine to begin with. The new vm was recovered in a folder called Recovered VMs. The virtual machine boots up without network connectivity to prevent network conflicts.
How to configure VDP (Data Protection 5.1)

Today, I decided to finally configure the new Data Protection appliance that was introduced in vSphere 5.1. This appliance replaces the older Data Recovery appliance that has been available for several versions. This new appliance has been touted as more robust and reliable than the previous one and leverages EMC's technology (Avamar).

What follows are the steps involved:

1. Download the appliance from

2. Burn it into a dvd (optional).

3. Install the VDP appliance via ovf/ova. On the vSphere Client, click on File and select Deploy from OVF.

4. During the configuration wizard, provide the network related information of the appliance. It will ask for the ip and netmask of the appliance, the dns server and gateway.

5. Boot up the appliance. The appliance defaults to 4 virtual cpus and 4gb of ram. I decided to lower the number of cpus to 2 since I was only going to use it a few times. I did notice through esxtop that the appliance was often using 100% of the cpus allocated. Do not lower the cpu and memory settings in a real environment !

Note: I tried that again with VDP Advanced 5.5 and the number of vcpus can't be lowered any more. If you do, the installation will fail.

6. Add the dns records for the appliance to your dns server prior to the original boot. This is critical since the initial configuration will not succeed if the hostname is not resolvable. I spent over an hour troubleshooting this since I added the records while the vm was up. Somehow the appliance would not be able to resolve its name until eventually I rebooted the appliance.

7. Launch your browser and connect to https://ip_of_appliance:8543/vdp-configure

8. Log in as root//changeme.

9. Verify the ip, gateway, mask, name and dns records.

10. Specify the timezone for the appliance.

11. Specify who is the vcenter server and sso server. Provide user names and passwords that will be used by the appliance to register and authenticate itself. The password of the appliance can be changed, it needs 9 characters with no special characters. I used Vmware123.

12. Reboot the appliance. The appliance will take about 30 minutes to reboot. If the console is opened, it will show a series of 5 and 10 minute steps needed for the initial setup and configuration.

13. Use your browser and connect to https://ip_of_appliance:8543/vdp-configure to verify that the services have started. Through this url, the password of the appliance can be changed, as well as changing the information of the vcenter and sso servers if something changes in the environment.  Four tabs will appear (Status, Configuration, Rollback and Upgrade).

13. Log into the web client by specifying https://ip_of_vcenter:9443/vsphere-client to create your backup jobs. The vsphere client can't be used for this.

14. The client plugin will show up automatically. Five tabs will appear (Getting Started, Backup. Restore, Reports, Configuration).

15. The Configuration Tab allows you to specify if emails are to be sent and to specify the Backup Window. The Backup tab will allow you to specify which vm to back up. The Restore tab allows you to select which vm to restore. The Reports tab shows how many jobs have succeeded and which jobs have failed (if any).

Testing the Restoration of the vm.

1. With the web client, click on the restore tab of vdp.

2. Select the vm that was protected to begin with.

3. Click on the restore icon. Click on Next.

4. Deselect Restore to the Original Location.

5. Give the vm a new name (xp1_new) and select a datastore for the recovery.

6. Click on Finish and wait until the restore is done.

7. A new virtual machine called xp1_new is created.

8. Power on the xp1_new virtual machine and verify that it worked.