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Site Recovery Manager

Create VMware vSphere Site Recovery Manager 8.1 Replication Protection Group and Recovery Plan

We have been covering some facets of VMware’s Site Recovery Manager 8.1 that allows organizations to have a fully automated and orchestrated solution for vSphere recovery at the site level. It has tremendously powerful functionality allowing organizations to bolster their BC/DR and achieve a much higher level of resiliency. Additionally Site Recovery Manager allows businesses to test their DR plans by simulating failovers, etc. As we have already taken a look at installing SRM 8.1 and creating Site Pairs, let’s now look at how to Create VMware vSphere Site Recovery Manager Replication Protection Group and Recovery Plan to take a look at this process.

Creating a VMware vSphere Site Recovery Manager 8.1 Replication

The first thing we need to do to start thinking about protecting virtual machines at the site level is replicating the virtual machine to a secondary site.  We have already looked at how we setup the site pair.  After the two sites are connected, you can then create replication connections between them.  Let’s take a look at creating a replication job.  Click the Replications tab and then select the +NEW button under Forward replications.

  • ***Note*** – A reverse replication of a virtual machine happens when a recovered virtual machine needs to be replicated back when the primary data center is back online.
Creating a new forward replication with VMware Site Recovery Manager 8.1

Next, you need to select the Virtual Machines that will be included in the replication.

Choose virtual machines to protect with VMware Site Recovery Manager replication

The Target site is the configuration of the recovery site for the replication operation.  The default selection is the Auto-assign vSphere Replication Server.

Choose the target site where virtual machine will be replicated

On the Target datastore screen, choose the destination storage where the replicated virtual machine will be replicated.  You can choose to Select seeds if you have seed data in the recovery site.  The seed data will avoid copying unnecessary base images over the network and will allow you to only have to replicate the data that has changed, resulting in a fraction of the network traffic required.  This is certainly desirable if replication is to happen over WAN links.

Select the target datastore for the virtual machine replication

By default, on the Select seed screen, the virtual disk that is discovered for the virtual machine will be shown.  Select the The selected seeds are correct checkbox.

Confirm the Seed Drive detected at the recovery site

The RPO screen allows choosing how frequently the virtual machine is replicated.  This lowers the amount of data that will be lost in the event of a site failure, however, will increase the frequency of replication.

Configure the Recovery Point Objective RPO for replication settings

For now, I am not adding it to a protection group at least in this wizard.

Configuring the protection group settings for the new replication

Click Finish to finish out the process.

Finishing the replication configuration in Site Recovery Manager 8.1

Notice the replication will show as Not Active since it is not synchronized.

New replication created but not active in Site Recovery Manager 8.1

After synchronization, the Status will show to be OK.

Replication status is ok after syncing

Create VMware Site Recovery Manager Protection Group

Next, let’s look at the wizard to create Site Recovery Manager Protection Groups.  The protection group creates groupings of virtual machines that are connected to a recovery plan.  The recovery plan is the mechanism that.

Creating a new protection group in Site Recovery Manager

Creating a new protection group containing the direction of the DR flow.

Select the Name and Direction of the protection group

On the Type screen, you can choose:

  • Datastore groups (array-based replication)
  • Individual VMs (vSphere Replication)
  • Storage Policies (array-based replication)

Here in the lab, I am using Individual VM (vSphere Replication).

Select the type of protection group created in Site Recovery Manager

Choose the Virtual Machines to include in the protection group.

Select the virtual machines included in the protection group

Since I don’t have a recovery plan as of yet, I am choosing to go ahead and create it during the wizard.

Adding the protection group to a new recovery plan in Site Recovery Manager

Ready to complete the new protection group creation.

Ready to Add the new Protection Group

Be sure to create the required mappings such as NetworkFolder, and Resource mappings and Placeholder Datastores or you will receive the error:

Resource mapping error

Under the Site Pair tab, you will find the Network MappingsFolder MappingsResource Mappings, and Placeholder Datastore configuration.

Creating mappings and placeholder datastores

Creating network mappings…

Creating Recovery Networks Mappings

Creating Folder Mappings…

Creating Folder Mappings

Creating Resource Mappings…

Creating Resource Mappings between protected and recovery networks

If you receive the error and didn’t create the mappings, you can rerun the wizard or just edit your protection group and let it finish and it should create successfully.


The process to Create VMware vSphere Site Recovery Manager 8.1 Replication Protection Group and Recovery Plan is straightforward in the web UI for Site Recovery manager.  I found the whole process to be very intuitive and didn’t really see any issues.  The only thing with the flow of the process is the wizard doesn’t necessarily tell you all the prerequisites such as the network, folder, and resource mappings or placeholder datastore needing to be in place.  You have to create those and then will not encounter issues when running the wizards.  Next, we will take a look at testing the recovery plan and executing a recovery plan to see what is involved with using Site Recovery Manager 8.1 to fail over a production site to a recovery site.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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