SRM: What is Site Recovery Manager Overview

In this series of SRM we will look on What is SRM and How it works. In this series we will try to demonstrate each features of Site Recovery Manager by which you can configure and use the disaster recovery solution in your virtual environment. In this post we will see about overview of the SRM and features of it. In future posts you will see more and more interesting posts on SRM.

VMware provides their own disaster recovery solution named as Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Site Recovery Manager is an automation software that integrates with an underlying replication technology to provide policy-based management, non-disruptive testing and automated orchestration of recovery plans. It provides availability for the virtual machines in the time of disaster recovery situations. So If your primary site goes down, you can easily recover your VM on the DR Site. Site Recovery Manager fulfills the needs for a variety of use cases, such as disaster recovery, disaster avoidance, planned data center migrations, site-level load balancing or even application maintenance testing.

Site Recovery Manager uses vSphere Replication and supports a broad range of array based replication solutions available from all major VMware storage partners. vSphere Replication is replication utility which provides replication capabilities for the virtual machines. SRM integrates tightly with VMware vSphere Web client and vCenter Server. It also takes advantage of SDDC by integrating NSX and vSAN. Site Recovery Manager can reduce total cost by replacing complex manual runbooks with simple, automated recovery plans that can be tested with ease and without disruption. For organizations with an RPO of 5 minutes or higher, vSphere Replication can eliminate another 20% in total cost by replacing licensing costs for array-based replication.

Features of SRM:

  • Automated orchestration of site failover and failback with a single-click reduces recovery times.
  • Frequent, non-disruptive testing of recovery plans ensures highly predictable recovery objectives.
  • Centralized management of recovery plans from the vSphere Web Client replaces manual runbooks.
  • Planned migration workflow enables disaster avoidance and data center mobility.
  • vSphere Replication integration delivers VM-centric, replication that eliminates dependence on storage.
  • Support for array-based replication offers choice and options for synchronous replication with zero data loss.

And many more good features you will find when you use the product itself.

SRM Architecture:

Below is the simple architecture of SRM where you can easily see the components used in the SRM. SRM is deployed on an existing vSphere Infrastructure where you have your Protected site (DC) and Recovery Site (DR). SRM works with the paired configuration where DC and DR Site is paired.



Site Recovery Manager 8.1 and VMware vCenter Server as well as the workloads they are protecting require infrastructure services like DNS, DHCP and Active Directory. These must be in place at both the protected and recovery sites. When you install the site recovery manager, Plugin for SRM gets installed in the Web Client.

SRM comes as an windows installer file which needs to be deployed at both sides on windows servers. In the SRM 6.x same version of vSphere is must for configuring SRM but in case of SRM 8.1  It supports multiple versions of vCenter at either site. There must be one or more vSphere hosts running version 6.0 or higher at each site. (Check for VMware Compatibility matrix for more information.)

SRM uses vSphere Replication or Array-based Replication for the replication of data between sites. It also supports stretched storage. Array-based replication and stretched storage must be
licensed and configured and the appropriate storage replication adapter must be installed on the Site Recovery Manager server at each site. When using vSphere Replication you need to deploy vSphere Replication Appliance at both the sites.

We need to do Inventory Mapping for both the sites. Inventory Mappings includes Resource Mappings, Folder Mappings and Network Mappings.

SRM uses Protection group to protect the virtual machines and Recovery plans to recover the virtual machines at the DR Site. Reprotect helps you to configure the reverse replication from DR to DC Site. You can do planned migration by running Test Recovery where VM will be started in an Isolated environment.

Site Recovery Manager supports protection for up to 5,000 virtual machines and is able to simultaneously run up to 10 recovery plans containing up to 2,000 virtual machines. Up to 500 virtual machines can be included in a single protection group and Site Recovery Manager provides support for up to 500 protection groups.

Use Cases for Site Recovery Manager:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Disaster Avoidance
  • Planned Migration
  • Upgrade and Path Testing.

SRM Licensing:

SRM requires an license to work. SRM comes with 2 license editions Standard and Enterprise. Below is the table for License Comparison.


Note: This data is taken from the VMware SRM datasheet. This may subject to change in future.

Note: In this post some of the options are related to SRM 8.1 version.

In the Next post we will see about Replication Options In SRM. In future posts we will see more on SRM Installations and Configurations as well as disaster recovery options.

Checkout Site Recovery Manager Deep Dive for Installation,Configuration and Recovery :

Site Recovery Manager Deep Dive

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Reference: VMware SRM 8.1 Technical Overview.

Image Credits: VMware.

Mayur Parmar

Hi I am Mayur Parmar. Independent Author & Founder of Mastering VMware. I am working in IT industry for more than 4 Years with knowledge of VMware , Microsoft Server's, Linux Server's.

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