As part of the series dedicated to the Veeam Availability Orchestrator this article focuses on the creation of the Veeam VAO Replication job. In particular this job takes care of the VMs that have been replicated to the DR Site. As such now these VMware virtual machines can be used as the scope for testing and verification without affecting the Production environment.
Is is indeed a good practice along with automatic documentation created by the Veeam VAO server itself with the latest results on the outcome of such validations.
One thing to remember is that it is possible to decide which VM replicas should be part of the scope. For this reason the Veeam VAO Replication job leverages the VMware vSphere Tags. Exactly the same tags or new ones created for purpose can be used to dictate which VMs should be part of the Replication jobs and also part of the validation scope through Veeam VAO.
vSphere Tags are a VMware best practice and help managing the entire environment more easily. Not just VMs but all sorts of objects within the virtual infrastructure. At present the Veeam VAO Replication job can leverage these tags to identify and limit the scope only to the intended VMs. It would be nice to use this feature with other object types like Host, Clusters, Switches and Datastores with more sophisticated business rules.
In this article the quick steps to create a Veeam VAO Replication job from Production Site to DR. As a side note there is one important topic to mention. At the time of writing Veeam Availability Orchestrator v 1.0 is shipping with an embedded version of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 u3. This version does not support VMware vSphere 6.7. Support for VMware 6.7 was included starting from Veeam Backup 9.5 update 4.
What does this mean?
In a nutshell when the Production environment is running on VMware 6.7 and above it would not be possible to create a Veeam VAO Replication job for the simple reason the API used from VAO to access vCenter environment can “read” up to VMware 6.5. This will be fixed in the next version of Veeam VAO.
Is there any workaround?
Yes. For the time being and assuming the Production site is already running with latest version of VMware 6.7 and latest of Veeam Backup 9.5 u4 it is still possible to create the Replication job from the Production VBR server.
Sounds good! What’s the catch?
From a design perspective if the Production VBR is down it would not be possible to orchestrate a fail-over to the replica. Which is what the Veeam VAO Replication job does! So having this in mind for these environments already running on the very latest of VMware 6.7 and Veeam Backup 9.5 update 4a the workaround is simply to create a Replication job from the Production VBR console until Veeam VAO is VMware 6.7 ready.
With this in mind the rest of the article shows the steps for creating a Veeam VAO Replication job.
Veeam VAO Replication to DR Site
On the Veeam VAO server there is a link to the embedded Veeam VBR console. From here the option to create a new Veeam VAO Replication job. In this case a test replication job with very basic options.
Next is to select the VMs that should be replicated from the Production Site to the DR Site. In this case a single Windows 2016 Server. In order to browse the virtual infrastructure content it is necessary to import this one as part of the first configuration wizard.
Next is to select which vSphere Host in the DR Site should be associated to this replica VM. This also includes the option to specify other settings like the VM folder in the virtual infrastructure, the Resource Pool and the VMware Datastore.
In the Veeam VAO Replication job settings the option to set the Repository or simply the location where the Replication job metadata is stored. From the same window also the Replica name suffix and also the number of restore points to keep in the DR site in this case.
Data transfer is always direct. This is good for Sites not geographically distant. When a public is traversed to reach the destination it is possible to optimize the traffic before traversing the public link. This is available through WAN accelerators modules in Veeam Backup server.
Application consistent VMs are available also for VM Replicas. This is particularly useful for Enterprise applications like AD, SQL, Oracle, Exchange and SharePoint. All these applications are supported. Additional ones can be supported with scripts provided by original vendors (eg MySQL, Lotus Domino etc..).
As per usual in the Schedule section the option to create custom rules on the Replication Job occurrence.
And finally a summary screen indicating the main settings for review before saving the Replication job.
Before proceeding with the Veeam VAO Replication Job it is important to make sure the vSphere Tags are assigned to this particular VM. There are two options:
- Use Veeam ONE for massive and structured vSphere Tags management
- Edit the properties of the Production VM to add the desired tag.
Either method will achieve the following. Veeam VAO Replication job will replicate these associated tags as well and will use them to identify the VM replicas for testing, validation and fail-over purposes.