For the years since its launch, EMC’s active/active fully-available VPLEX has been incredibly popular. Customers love what it does, technologists love talking about it. Similarly, Site Recovery Manager (SRM) has become one of VMware’s most popular products for the elegance, simplicity, testability and audit-ability. Until recently it was not possible to deploy both in one environment.
At EMC World 2012 in Las Vegas, EMC announced GeoSynchrony 5.1, the new operating environment for VPLEX. With this release we can now offer RecoverPoint replication, which enables a complete disaster recovery (DR) and disaster avoidance (DA) solution. We can finally deliver a SRM and VPLEX capabilities to the same applications in a single deployment.
This full DA/DR solution was demonstrated on stage at EMC World. The video is now on YouTube:
An offline high resolution version of the video is available here.
Prior to the introduction of the RecoverPoint VPLEX splitter, customers chose less exciting, more manually intensive solutions. For instance, DR was provided within VPLEX deployments through custom scripts that would change virtual machine registration and remove defunct storage locks. Testing was difficult. Auditing was nearly impossible. These scripts were manually maintained which could result in errors as the underlying configuration drifted. But, the solution worked well enough that we have customers in Asia Pacific that are doing this now.
With SRM we can eliminate the script management. This simplifies DR testing, enforces script/configuration consistency, and provides a report of test activities for auditing.
The new DR/DA solution views the VPLEX sites as the “protected site”, in SRM parlance. A third site serves as the recovery site for all virtual machines running on the VPLEX. For zero downtime mobility between the VPLEX sites those locations should be in the same metropolitan area. But asynchronous replication means the recovery site can be very far away.
The last point that sometimes gets dropped in EMC’s exuberance for VPLEX solutions is around networking. Active/active storage is not the only requirement to stretch a VMware vCenter datacenter or cluster over distance. You will also require support in layer two of your network. For instance Cisco OTV, MPLS, VxLAN, etc.