VMware Solutions Discussions

DR for VMware with Site Recovery Manager


NetApp disaster recovery and backup guru Darrin Chapman recently submitted an article to Tech OnTap about major issues associated with DR planning, and how VMware's Site Recovery Manager can streamline this process. You can check out the full article at http://www.netapp.com/us/communities/tech-ontap/srm-0708.html.

Darrin would be thrilled to hear any feedback on the article, points folks find valuable, and especially questions that you might have ...



We are in the planning stage of building a DR site using a NetApp filer and VMware servers. This is meant to duplicate our production site which has 6 physical HP DL380 servers and two Microsoft clusters. Both sites will have a NetApp filer and we will use Snap Mirror to duplicate the data at the DR site.

In this case, with physical servers at one site and virtual at the other, will SRM help us to configure and manage our DR site?


I am very keen to know the answer of question asked by Mr. Thomas. Ross too 😄

In fact, I am about to ask the same question.

Hope to hear any suggestions out there 😄


Hi, my name is Jean Banko, Product Manager for NetApp SnapMirror and the NetApp DR adapter for VMware SRM. We are very excited about the response so far on customers using VMware SRM with NetApp storage and appreciate your questions.

Unfortunately, VMware SRM only works with VMware ESX servers and not physical servers. So, in this specific configuration, VMware SRM will not be able to help configure and manage your DR site with physical servers at the primary stie. If you are evaluating virtualizing your primary site and then deploy ESX for your production servers, then VMware SRM will work since both sites are virtualized.

Please keep your questions coming.



ok, this does make sence to me



Any ETA on the use of NFS datstores and VMware SRM?



We have had many customers request NFS support with SRM. VMware is looking into adding this feature in 2009.

Thanks, Jean.


Does SRM play any part in timing and initiating the snapshots for SnapMirror (i.e flushing VM's cache to disk)?


Hi Ben. The short answer is not really. Long answer is SRM doesn't manage snapshot creation, but other NetApp products do. SnapMirror does its own snapshot creation, of course, but if you need a crash-consistent snapshot copy then you'd use SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure - aka SMVI. SMVI is completely different from SRM. SMVI prompts the creation of a VMware snapshot of a virtual machine environment, which means the cache is flushed, etc. SMVI then initiates a NetApp snapshot of the VMware snapshot, resulting in a clean, crash-consistent snapshot of the virtual machine. SMVI also allows you to trigger an automatic SnapMirror update.


-Darrin Chapman



This Article is excellent and given an insight on the Vmware using snapmirror. I just couple of question,

1. When we say, in the event of disaster, SRM starts all the server & bring up the virtual environment, does it also takes care of the Application?

I mean does it bring up the Database, Application Services & Web Services??

2. Does snapmirror provided Journal based replication (Like Universal Replicator in Hitachi Disk Subsystem)??




First of all, sorry for my delay in responding here... I've spent some time on airplanes recently.

In a nutshell, the answers to your questions are 'no'. Let me elaborate a little though...

1. Essentially SRM monitors and discovers existing SnapMirror relationships with virtual machines. It replicates data and virtual machines by bringing up consistent snapshot copies of the VMs and then booting, powering, and registering servers. SRM can bring up servers in a particular order, but it doesn't actually manage the applications running on these servers. Usually with an app like Oracle or Exchange you want an administrator involved at some point anyway.

2. When replicating data SnapMirror looks at physical block maps that represent our volumes and focuses on changes at a 4K level. Unlike other replication products, NetApp starts by creating a snapshot instead of working with a live file system, thereby eliminating the production burden. Only changed data based on the snapshot copy is replicated. A technical discussion about the NetApp WAFL file system and snapshot creation plus links to detailed technical papers is featured in The NetApp DNA, a Tech OnTap article at http://partners.netapp.com/go/techontap/matl/NetApp_DNA.html.


-Darrin Chapman


I've created a SRM in a box setup with 2 netapp simulators, 2 virtual esx servers and 2 virtual domaincontrollers hosting vc and srm in vmware Wokstation 6.5 on 1 host with 6 gm ram. I've documented this. you can download the document @ www.tendam.info



Thanks for creating and distributing this valuable document on how to setup VMware SRM with the NetApp simulator.

Jean Banko


Hello Jean,

Thanks! This document is a preview for now. In a few days i hope to complete the finished document.

So stay tuned!


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