Jul 02

VMware vSphere Replication 6.0 – Technical Overview

VMware vSphere® Replication™ is a virtual machine data protection and disaster recovery solution. It is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server™ and VMware vSphere Web Client, providing host-based, asynchronous replication of virtual machines. vSphere Replication is a proprietary replication engine developed by VMware that is included with VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions of VMware vSphere, VMware vSphere with Operations Management™ editions, and VMware vCloud® Suite editions.

vSphere Replication use cases

■ Data protection and disaster recovery within the same site and across sites
■ Data center migration
■ Replication engine for VMware vCloud Air™ Disaster Recovery
■ Replication engine for VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager™

vSphere Replication features and benefits

■ Simple virtual appliance deployment minimizes cost and complexity.
■ Integration with vSphere Web Client eases administration and monitoring.
■ Protect nearly any virtual machine regardless of operating system (OS) and applications.
■ Only changes are replicated, which improves efficiency and reduces network utilization.
■ Recovery point objectives (RPOs) range from 15 minutes to 24 hours and can be configured on a
per–virtual machine basis.
■ Compatibility is provided with VMware Virtual SAN™, traditional SAN, NAS, and local storage.
■ Quick recovery for individual virtual machines minimizes downtime and resource requirements.
■ Optional network isolation and compression help secure replicated data and further reduce network
bandwidth consumption.
■ Support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and Linux file system quiescing improves reliability of recovered virtual machines.


The VMware vSphere Replication 6.0 technical paper presents an overview of the architecture, deployment, configuration, and management of vSphere Replication..

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Apr 23

VMworld 2013: Session BCO5129 – Protection for All: vSphere Replication & SRM Technical Update

In this session you will hear about the latest updates to the vSphere Replication and SRM technologies from VMware. Majority of this session will cover how and where you can use these technologies…

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Apr 23

Deploying the vSphere Replication Appliance in the vSphere Web Client

Senior Staff Engineer Peter Shepherd explains how to deploy the vSphere Replication appliance using the OVF wizard in the vSphere Web Client. vSphere Replication is an extension to the vCenter…

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Apr 22

vSphere 5.1 Replication

What s New in vSphere [V5.1] for vSphere Replication.

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Apr 09

Introduction to VMware vSphere Replication (VR)

This video provides an example of how to replicate and recover a virtual machine using VMware vSphere Replication.

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Nov 18

VMware vSphere Data Protection How To Install Configure Backup and Restore

In this video I walk you through how to install, configure, backup and restore using VMware’s vSphere Data Protection Virtual Appliance (VDP) within vSphere 5.1.

Rating: 5/5

May 15

Using Secondary Management Network for vSphere Replication

By Sunny Dua, Enterprise Solution Architect, VMware Professional Services

As we all know, vSphere Replication uses the management interface for the ESXi servers to send the replication traffic to the DR site vSphere Replication Appliance. It is important that we understand the network flow clearly before diving deeply into configuration of the networks. The diagram below illustrates how the data flows.

Understanding Network Flow

Let’s see how the traffic flows in generic sense before we add IP addressing to it:

Network Flow

  1. Changed blocks are captured by the VR Filter on the ESXi server in the primary site.
  2. This data is sent to DR Site VR Appliance using the primary management interface of the ESXi server.
  3. The VR Appliance in the DR Site passes the data to the ESXi servers in the DR Site using the NFC Service.
  4. This data is then written on to the designated DR Site data store.

Note: Just reverse this sequence to do a reverse replication while doing re-protect in SRM.

A Real-Life Scenario

Let’s look at a real life setup and see how this replication will flow. Here’s a quick view of my setup, along with the IP addresses:

vSphere setup

Let’s look at each component one by one:

  1. This is the IP address of the vCenter Server. Notice that the IP sub-nets are different in the Primary Site and DR Site.
  2. This is the IP address of the vCenter Server. Notice that the IP sub-nets are different in the Primary Site and DR Site, similar to vCenter Server.
  3. The IP address of the VRA server is not in the same range, because you do not want to use same IP segment as the management network. In this case I have a point-to-point connectivity between the site and the IP configured is on the 10.12.12.x sub-net. This is configured on both sites, as the VRA server will receive the traffic from the ESXi servers on this interface. Remember, this appliance will connect on a virtual machine port group.The default gateway for this sub-net is at the Primary Site and at the DR Site.
  4. VMK0 is the primary management network interface. This is used to manage the ESXi servers in the primary site. Notice that ESXi and vCenter are on the same sub-net.
  5. VMK1 is configured for vMotion on a non-routable VLAN, which is why I have a completely different IP segment here.
  6. VMK2 is the third VMKernel interface I have configured. This is to use the point-to-point connectivity for vSphere Replication. I want the vSphere Replication traffic to go out of this VMK interface and reach the vSphere Replication appliance on the DR Site.
  7. One of the most important things to note that in case of ESXi, the Default Gateway will always be defined with VMK0. Hence, all the VMKernel port-groups will have the same default gateway.

The last point is the problem for me. I do not want the vSphere Replication traffic to hit the gateway ( in the DR site when the traffic is sent to the vSphere Replication appliance in that site. I want it to hit the gateway configured for 10.11.12.x sub-net. To be precise, the default gateway is

Define a Static Route

This is not possible until you define a static route to force the vSphere Replication Traffic to go through the vSphere Replication Interface (VMK2) and then hit the vSphere Replication appliance on the DR Site with the default gateway. Remember, you will have to just reverse this action and add a static route on the ESXi servers in the DR site for ( default gateway in the primary site.

Here are the commands to do define a static route:

~ # esxcli network ip route ipv4 add –gateway <Gateway for vSphere Replication Subnet> –network <IP range for vSphere Replication Network in DR Site>

So in my case I would run the following command:

~ # esxcli network ip route ipv4 add –gateway –network

You also need to add this line to the rc.local to make this setting consistent across reboots.

~ # vi /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh

Add the following line just before the exit command in the script:

~ # esxcli network ip route ipv4 add –gateway –network

Save and exit from this file and you are done on the primary site. You need to do the same on the ESXi servers in the DR site for reverse replication to work. The command for DR site ESXi servers is:

~ # esxcli network ip route ipv4 add –gateway –network

Note: Remember to add this to the local.sh script as you did in the primary site.

Now let’s see how the traffic flows in this case:

vSphere Traffic Flow 2

Here is a KB article from VMware that might help you with this setup:

Configuring static routes for vmkernel ports on an ESXi host (2001426)

Hope this makes things easy for you and allows you to setup vSphere Replication on your preferred network interface.