VMware Solutions Discussions

NetApp and VMware SRM


I'm about to implement VMware SRM between two data centers with NetApp storage at both sites. Does anyone have any experience, good or bad, with SRM installation, deployment or configuration that will help me avoid any pitfalls?



Hi Mike,

we are on the same point where you started about two years ago, can you shed some light on how was the implementation ???

Did it work well? Did it Work at all?

My main concern is that we need to replicate a 1TB volume from our main site > in Austin to our DR site in California.

The replication (snapmirror rate) is about 11G per hour over a wan acceleration (riverbed) and I worry that it would take to much time to replicate changes. I would prefer having the possibility to replicate ONLY  the relevant guest machines , without changing my current data stores. Does anyone know such tools?




Would LREP be able to do this to external USB drive? Check the toolchest for the download and documentation.

I am sure I read somewhere that you could get LREP working for snapmirror somehow. Would be interesting to know if it works.



LREP doesn't support volume SnapMirror.

Here is some trickery how to do the VSM baseline to a USB drive (not supported of course 😞




Definitely not supported, I have used this trick for a while   My key concerns with it are that a USB drive can drop bits though (but so could tape) and any blocks on a NetApp controller are RAID_DP protected, lost write protected, checksumed, etc... but not the image file to other media.  So a swing system is always our recommendation...but when not possible.

Some use cases we have seen... like you said where no tape an no swing system (although as mentioned in the forum you need room to write the base mirror as a single file).  Other cases are if you have a FAS270 swing system that doesn't support dedup (or a swing system that doesn't support dedup the size of the source system) then you can smtape from the source to a file on the swing system (even if over the dedup size of that system since it write a snapmirror image - so you can still use a controller that doesn't support all the source features when written to an individual file... aka using an older fas like a usb drive) then copy that image back on the target (need 2x the space to do that on each side to hold the image).  Another use case is if ndmp backup is so slow (millions of files) and the backup software doesn't support smtape (or if nfs/cifs backup is slow) you can image the volume to one file then back it up (but no single file restore...but still a way to backup with a more painful restore).

I'll post my example from the vsim but with the new smtape commands since store and retrieve were a part of 7g ontap when the other post was listed.

Example with the 8.1 7-Mode VSIM

Source Controller

# create the test volume

vsim-7m-1> vol create test aggr1 2g

# write a file to the volume just to show it arrives on the target

vsim-7m-1> wrfile /vol/test/file1

# create the smtape target volume (could be any volume with room though)

vsim-7m-1> vol create /vol/smtape aggr2 2g

# diag mode and dump the test volume

vsim-7m-1*> priv set diag

vsim-7m-1*> smtape backup /vol/test /vol/smtape/smtape_dump

Target Controller

# create the smtape restore volume

vsim-7m-2> vol create smtape aggr2 2g

# copy the snapmirror image from source to target (USB drive or other controller to copy the file)

host# mount /mnt/1

host# mount /mnt/2

host# cp /mnt/1/smtape_dump /mnt/2/

host# ls -l /mnt/2

drwxrwxrwx  2 root  wheel     4096 Jun 11 10:54 .snapshot

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  2101248 Jun 11 10:58 smtape_dump

# create and restrict the volume to cascade

vsim-7m-2> vol create test aggr1 2g

vsim-7m-2> vol restrict test

# diag mode and restore the volume

vsim-7m-2> priv set diag

vsim-7m-2*> smtape restore /vol/test /vol/smtape/smtape_dump

Job 7 started.

# check status

vsim-7m-2*> smtape status

Job ID Seq No Type    Status      Path                   Device                 Progress

     7      0 Restore Active      /vol/test              /vol/smtape/smtape_dump 1.632 MB

vsim-7m-2*> snapmirror status

Snapmirror is on.

Source                                                      Destination           State          Lag        Status

snapshot_for_smtape.392837df-b3ee-11e1-a8c5-123478563412.0  vsim-7m-2:test        Snapmirrored   00:18:38   Idle

vsim-7m-2*> vol status test

         Volume State           Status            Options

           test online          raid_dp, flex     snapmirrored=on, create_ucode=on,

                                snapmirrored      convert_ucode=on,

                                read-only         fs_size_fixed=on


# Confirm the file from the source is on the readonly target

vsim-7m-2*> ls /vol/test




# Write another file to the source then do a snapmirror update to show that there is a common snapshot for update (can snap list and see it too, but test is below)

vsim-7m-1*> wrfile /vol/test/file2

vsim-7m-2*> snapmirror update -S test

Transfer started.

Monitor progress with 'snapmirror status' or the snapmirror log.

vsim-7m-2*> snapmirror status

Snapmirror is on.

Source                Destination           State          Lag        Status  vsim-7m-2:test        Snapmirrored   00:00:14   Idle

# after update confirm both files

vsim-7m-2*> ls /vol/test






Hey Scott, thanks for the detailed procedure!

But I will explore a different approach and try to backup the vm's on the Hyper-visor level instead of the storage level.

Will update what I find...



Good idea. I would only use the method above as a last resort. But good to know how to use it if in that corner.


Hi Igal,

How about shipping the DR kit to the primary site & doing baseline replication over LAN? Or, if this isn't feasible, how about a swing filer (3rd box) for baseline transfer from primary to it, then again from swing kit to the DR?

It is hard to beat the bandwidth of the moving truck carrying lots of disks!



You right Radek, moving packets inside a truck might faster than using an ISP pipe but we don't have this pleasure.

I will probably need to use the swing box from the primary filer...




Igal, did you get an answer to this problem? I'm curious  to hear more about your network - capacity, latency, other applications sharing the network. There might be away to use the network more efficently.

You mention an ISP and alarms go off in my head. What's your packet loss rates like?



You can make a tape based baseline transfer for SnapMirror, look in here: https://communities.netapp.com/thread/18982



might be an option but we do not use tape...


The TR-3671 is good.

There is also an excellent SRM 4 doc written by Mike Laverick.  It is called "Administrating VMware Site Recovery Manager 4.0"



So....that's a rather big question as involves a lot of moving parts. Some questions to ask (or think about) are...

  • NFS, iSCSI, or FCP? That particularly involves overhead needed for SnapMirror (as LUNs requires 2x + delta by default....can do thin provisioning there with lower the fractional reserve but need to understand how thin provisioning works -- fractional reserve, snap auto-delete, volume auto-grow, etc.)
  • Licenses -- you need SnapMirror and FlexClone at a minimum.
  • VM's on multiple controllers of an active/active pair -- basically not supported. A protection group in SRM can't have VM's with vmdk's on multiple controllers.
  • VM's spread between iSCSI and NFS (most common if implementing SnapManager for SQL/Exchange and the data disks live on FC/SAS disk and connected via iSCSI while the OS/swap may live on SATA and connected via NFS).

Some good starting points for reading are....

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