VMware has released a new version of their Site Recovery Manager (SRM) software. This major release features a new HTML 5 web user interface (UI), and SRM is now a Linux-based appliance.

Vladan Seget

Vladan Seget is as an independent consultant, professional blogger, vExpert 2009-2018, VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP, and MCSA. He has been working for over 20 years as a system engineer.

Yes, there's one less Windows system to maintain and patch. After vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), which has been running on Photon OS for a few years now, it's time for SRM.

You can now deploy SRM in an easier way, as a virtual appliance, directly from within your HTML 5 web-based vSphere client. You no longer need to set up a Windows virtual machine (VM) for your SRM deployments.

Note: The Windows installer is still available, but it seems VMware strongly deprecated it. I would not be surprised if the next version of SRM will be the last version to support Windows.

SRM 8.2 is compatible with vCenter Server 6.0 Update 3, vCenter Server 6.5, vCenter Server 6.5 Update 1, vCenter Server 6.5 Update 2, vCenter Server 6.7, vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1, and vCenter Server 6.7 Update 2.

Also, SRM 8.2 supports VCSA on both protected and recovery sites. It also integrates with the VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) stack, including vSphere, Virtual SAN (vSAN), and NSX. Admins who use vSAN and SRM can manage both their storage and their disaster recovery (DR) using a single policy-based management system via SRM.

Each SRM server supports a certain number of protected VMs, protection groups, datastore groups, recovery plans, and concurrent recoveries.

Depending on the storage technology used, for example, the total number of VMs configured for protection using array-based replication is 5,000. For further details, please make sure to have a look at the Site Recovery Manager Installation and Configuration PDF from VMware.

What's new in VMware SRM 8.2 ^

vSphere 6.7 Update 2: VMware SRM 8.2 delivers compatibility with VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 2 (the latest version). You can use and install the product on the latest 6.7 U2 release.

Photon OS virtual appliance: The Photon OS is a prepackaged Linux virtual appliance, preconfigured and simple to manage, patch, and maintain overall. It also reduces layers of complexity because the admin does not need to have Linux skills to manage it. Deployment is easy—just install the SRM virtual appliance directly from vCenter Server. This changes the workflow significantly because you don't lose time by preparing a Windows VM first and only then installing SRM on top of it.

Encrypted VMs: SRM 8.2 now supports protection and recovery of encrypted VMs—one more step toward hardened infrastructures.

New enhanced UI: Enhancements to the SRM HTML 5 UI give it a few new useful options:

  • Import or export tool: The VMware SRM 8.2 Configuration Import/Export Tool is now available in the SRM UI. You can export or import configuration from another datacenter. This is useful for archiving purposes as well.
VMware SRM 8.2 and its configuration export option

VMware SRM 8.2 and its configuration export option

  • Dark theme: With SRM 8.2 it is possible to change the color scheme to a dark mode, which is very popular in VMware products. Even Microsoft is taking the same road and offers some dark schemes in some products.
  • Storage capacity info: You can show capacity info in the Protection Groups tab in the UI.
  • Feedback to VMware: If you like, you can give product feedback within the UI—directly from the home screen.
  • API improvements and enhancements: There are some SRM public API enhancements. SRM 8.2 introduces new methods in the product's public API such as listing array manager information or listing replicated raw device mappings (RDMs).

Other enhancements: Concerning other enhancements, SRM is now able to send logs to a remote syslog server. This feature wasn't previously available, but customers have asked for integration of it as well.

VMware SRM 8.2 and syslog forwarding

VMware SRM 8.2 and syslog forwarding

New management pack for SRM 8.2 ^

As you know, VMware has also improved the integration with their flagship product called vSphere Realize Operations Manager (vROps). This takes place via a management pack, which is an add-on for vROps.

With the new SRM 8.2 release, there is a new release of the vROps management pack for it.

vRealize Orchestrator plug-in ^

There is also a new vRealize Orchestrator plug-in for SRM 8.2. This new version introduces the possibility to customize IP settings for individual VMs where it calls the Set IP Settings workflow as part of the Set Virtual Machine Recovery Settings workflow.

Also, part of the release makes it possible to add and remove datastores in array-based protection groups or remove pre- and post-power-on steps, like commands and prompts you specified earlier and that run at the VM level during recovery.

Upgrading from the Windows-based SRM ^

Yes, of course, this is possible, and there is a full procedure at VMware. Just to outline the steps, it happens similarly to how we migrate from the Windows-based vCenter to VCSA.

Before you start, you'll have to upgrade your existing SRM installation to the latest 8.2 release. You cannot migrate to the Linux appliance from older versions of SRM.

You must first deploy the Photon OS SRM virtual appliance, and then you will have to run some command-line scripts allowing you to export your existing configuration from Windows.

Only then can you import that data into your Photon OS appliance. One of the final steps is to install the new Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) and then reconnect it to the second site.

Note: An SRA is a program an array vendor provides to enable SRM to work with a specific kind of array.

You must install an appropriate SRA on the SRM server hosts at the protected and recovery sites.

Be sure to follow the full migration procedure from Windows to Photon OS for SRM as well as the system requirements and pre-migration checks and backup.

Final words ^

SRM 8.2 is a big step forward for simplified administration of another VMware product. We can see the shift in product management over several years, and it started with VCSA and the HTML 5 web-based client.

The next version of SRM is the final release that will support Windows; the release after that will be for Linux only.

SRM 8.2 now provides a GUI for the configuration import/export capability. However, for scheduling exporting the configuration, you still need to use a command-line tool.

SRM 8.2 follows closely VCSA and gives the admin the same great experience via the dark mode, the ability to provide feedback directly from the UI, and the ability to take a screenshot.

As you can see, VMware put a lot of effort into SRM and packed it with a lot of goodness.

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