Configure Virtual Protection Groups

Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs) protect vApps in vCloud Director. These need to be configured to enable replication between sites.


Topics


About Virtual Protection Groups

For ease of recovery, vApps (containing VMs) are protected in virtual protection groups (VPGs). This ensures that:

  • They are failed across and protected all as one group.
  • The fail over timing is consistent to the same point in time. This is particularly important if the applications within the VPG are dependent on each other.

 

When a VPG is created, a replica of each VM disk in the VPG is created under a Virtual Replication Appliance (VRA) on the recovery site. These replica virtual disks are populated with the data in the protected VMs. They synchronise the protected VMs with the recovery site replicas. After the initial synchronisation, only the writes to disk from the VMs in the protected site are sent to the remote site. They are stored in journals at the remote site for a specified period by the VRA. See Journals below. Once completed, they are promoted to replica virtual disks managed by the VRA.


Guidelines for Configuring VPGs

The following guidelines apply to configuring VPGs:

  • A VPG must include at least one vApp (containing at least one VM). After creating a VPG, you can add or remove vApps as required.
  • In some cases having a single vApp per protection group (VPG) provides more flexibility. Exceptions to this are where a group of VMs need to be protected in lock step, and should be in the same group. However, if one machine fails they all need to be recovered.
  • You can only protect a vApp (containing a VM) in a VPG when the VM has no more than 60 disks.
  • You can protect a single VM in several VPGs, up to a maximum of three VPGs. VPGs that contain the same VM cannot be recovered to the same site.
  • Protecting VMs in several VPGs is enabled only if the protected site, recovery site and the VRAs installed on these sites, are of version 5.0 and higher.

How to Configure Virtual Protection Groups

Follow the steps below to configure a VPG and to add the VMs you want to protect.

 

Note: It is recommended that you only add one VM at a time and allow replication to complete before adding more.  

1. From the Silver-lining DR self service portal, click New VPG.

 

 

 

2. The Create VPG window appears. Complete the fields and either:

  • Click Save and go to Step 4 below, or
  • Change the default values of the VPG definition. Select Custom in the Service Profile drop-down field, then click Advanced Configuration.

 

 

3. If you have selected Advanced Configuration, the Create VPG wizard will appear. Use the table below as a guide to complete each screen within the wizard, then click Done. 

 

 

Use the following table to complete each screen in the Create VPG wizard.

 

Screen What to Enter
General

Specify a name to identify the VPG and assign a priority for transferring data from the protected site to the recovery site when there is limited bandwidth, and more than one VPG is defined on the protected site.

  • High Priority: When there are updates to VMs protected in VPGs with different priorities, updates from the VPG with the highest priority are passed over the WAN first.
  • Medium Priority: Medium priority VPGs will use whatever bandwidth is left after the high priority VPGs have used it.
  • Low Priority: Low priority VPGs will use whatever bandwidth is left after the medium priority VPGs have used it.

Updates to the protected VMs are always sent across the WAN before synchronisation data, such as during a bitmap or delta sync. During synchronisation, data from the VPG with the highest priority is passed over the WAN before data from medium and low priority VPGs.

VMs
  • Select the vCD vApps being protected and click the right arrow to add these to the VPG.
  • To define the boot order and boot delay to apply to the VPGs during recovery, select Define Boot Order.
Replication
  • Select the VPG replication settings, such as the recovery site, host and storage, and the VPG SLA.
  • You can specify the period between tests in the Test Reminder fieldSee Run a Test Failover to find out about failover testing of VPGs.
  • SLA information includes the default journal history settings and how often tests should be performed on the VPG. The defaults are applied to every VM in the VPG but can be overridden per VM, as required.
  • Cloud service providers can group the VPG SLA properties together in a service profile. When a service profile is used, the VPG SLA settings cannot be modified unless a custom service profile is available.
Storage Select the default recovery settings. These are applied to every virtual machine in the VPG.
  • Failover/Move Network: The network to use during a failover or move operation in which the recovered VMs will run.
  • Failover Test Network: The network to use when testing the failover of VMs in the recovery site. CCL recommends using a fenced-out network so as not to impact the production network at this site.
Recovery

Recovery settings include the networks to use for recovered vApps and the scripts that should be run either at the start or end of a recovery operation. 

NIC

Specify the network details to use for the recovered vApps after a real or test failover or migration.

Backup

By default, backup is off. To specify the backup properties that govern the VPG backup, including the repository where the backups are saved, toggle OFF to ON and enter the following information:

  • Target Repository: The name of the repository where the offsite backups are written.
  • Retention Period: The length of time to keep offsite backups, up to a maximum of one year.
  • Run Job Every: The date and time to start the backup.
  • Retries: Whether to rerun the backup job automatically if the job fails. If you select this option, you must also define the number of retries that will be attempted and the time to wait after a job fails before running the backup job again.
  • Post-Backup Script: The information about a script that should run at the end of the recovery process.


Note: You can protect most types of vApps running in a vCenter. However, you cannot protect vApps with VirtualEthernetCardLegacyNetworkBackingInfo NICs or IDE devices. Protected vApp VMDK descriptor files should be default disk geometry settings.


Both the disk geometry and BIOS geometry are written in the descriptor file under ddb.geometry.sectors and ddb.geometry.biosSectors respectively. If these values do not each equal 63 then there may be recovery issues unless you configure the VPG using pre-seeded volumes.

Summary Review the summary of the VPG settings.

 

4. Once you have completed the VPG Wizard screens (described above), the VPG will be created. The protected vApps are synchronised with the replication vApps at the recovery site. This process may take some time, depending on the size of the vApps and the bandwidth between the sites. You can see the status in the VPGs tab or click the VPG link to open a tab specifically for the VPG.

 

5. Once synchronized, the vApps in the VPG are fully protected and the delta changes to these vApps are sent to the recovery site. The VRA on the recovery site includes a complete copy of every vApp in the VPG.

 

 

6. To view your protected VMs In CloudCreator, navigate to the The Compute Overview Page shown below. The protected VMs are indicated by the Silver-lining DR icon .

 

 

A notification of the VPG configuration will appear in the Recent Events panel on the CloudCreator dashboard.

Journals

Journal retention is chosen by selecting one of the three pre-defined "service profiles" 

  • “Revera – 3 Day Journal” – to be set as default 
  • “Revera – 2 Day Journal”
  • “Revera – 1 Day Journal”

 

Each profile sets the maximum retention on the VPG. The default service profile is to store journals for 3 days. 

 

Important: There is a charge associated with storing journaling at a recovery site. If a Revera vCD is the recovery site, this additional space will be charged as per our storage consumption pricing.

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