Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication

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In the previous post, we took a look at how to Replicate On-Premises VMware VMs to Azure with Azure Site Recovery. Azure Site Recovery provides a powerful way to interact with your VMware environment and replicate virtual machines to the Azure cloud with little configuration or complexity. I like how Microsoft has provided the appliance as an OVA download to quickly get the Azure Site Recovery configuration server up and running with the customizations and setup needed to configure Azure Site Recovery. We looked at deploying the OVA and some of the initial requirements and considerations. In this post, we will look at how to configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication.

Prerequisites for Azure Site Recovery Configuration for VMware

Before beginning the configuration process of your Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server, there are some steps you need to complete before moving forward with setting up Azure Site Recovery. Microsoft provides tutorials and walk throughs on how to accomplish these. You need to:

Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication

Let’s look at the process where it picks up after the deployment of the OVA appliance and finishing out setting up the Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server.

The OVA appliance deployment, will deploy a Windows Server 2016 server with fairly beefy hardware specs so be advised from a resources standpoint.

The-Azure-Site-Recovery-VMware-VM-hardware-after-deployment Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
The Azure Site Recovery VMware VM hardware after deployment

Once you boot the Windows Server appliance, you will see the initial configuration of the Windows Server 2016 image begin with the customized settings for getting Azure Site Recovery up and running. First, enter the computer name.

Naming-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Naming the Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server

The wizard will then check connectivity to the Internet.

Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server-verifying-Internet-connectivity Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server verifying Internet connectivity

You will be prompted to login to Microsoft Azure with your Azure credentials.

Sign-into-the-Azure-Portal Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Sign into the Azure Portal

Next, you will see the “connected to Microsoft Azure” with your credentials. The server configuration will finalize this initial setup.

Successfully-connected-to-Microsoft-Azure-during-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server-setup Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Successfully connected to Microsoft Azure during the Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server setup

The configuration of Azure Site Recovery specifics now launches. The initial phase of the setup wizard is related to prerequisites. The first part of the configuration has to do with network connectivity and allows you to configure your NICs and port for connectivity and replication traffic. The default port is 9443.

Setting-up-network-cards-for-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Setting up network cards for the Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server

Connectivity and NICs are configured. Ready to move forward.

Connectivity-and-network-cards-are-now-configured Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication

I had let the Microsoft Azure session timeout. So needed to sign back in.

Prompted-to-sign-in-again-to-Microsoft-Azure Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Prompted to sign in again to Microsoft Azure

After signing back into Microsoft Azure, you will need to choose your subscription, Resource group, and finally the Recovery Services vault for use with Azure Site Recovery.

Signed-into-Azure-subscription-resource-group-and-recovery-services-vault-chosen Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Signed into Azure subscription resource group and recovery services vault chosen

Interestingly, Microsoft here prompts you to install MySQL third-party software instead of SQL Server Express, etc. Click to accept the third-party license agreement and then click the Download and Install button. MySQL will download and install.

Install-MySQL-as-part-of-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server-installation Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Install MySQL as part of the Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server installation

Installation of MySQL completes successfully.

MySQL-installation-completes-successfully-for-Azure-Site-Recovery-configuration Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
MySQL installation completes successfully for Azure Site Recovery configuration

The next phase is validating all prerequisites needed to complete setup.

Validate-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-configuration-settings Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Validate the Azure Site Recovery configuration settings

Now, we get into the vSphere specific configuration that allows Azure Site Recovery to connect to your VMware vSphere environment and have hooks into the vSphere layer for VMs, etc. Click the Add vCenter Server/vSphere ESXi server to add your vCenter or ESXi host.

Configure-vCenter-Server-or-ESXi-user-credentials-for-connecting-with-Azure-Site-Recovery Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Configure vCenter Server or ESXi user credentials for connecting with Azure Site Recovery

Here, I am configuring the connection to the vCenter Server which is preferred.

Add-vCenter-Server-add-vSphere-ESXi-host-dialog-box Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Add vCenter Server add vSphere ESXi host dialog box

***Note*** – Above I am using the SSO Admin for simplicity, however, it is preferred you setup a specific user account with only the permissions needed in the vSphere environment. This includes the following permissions to note.

TaskRole/PermissionsDetails
VM discoveryAt least a read-only user

Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Read-only
User assigned at datacenter level, and has access to all the objects in the datacenter.

To restrict access, assign the No access role with the Propagate to child object, to the child objects (vSphere hosts, datastores, VMs and networks).
Full replication, failover, failbackCreate a role (Azure_Site_Recovery) with the required permissions, and then assign the role to a VMware user or group

Data Center object –> Propagate to Child Object, role=Azure_Site_Recovery

Datastore -> Allocate space, browse datastore, low-level file operations, remove file, update virtual machine files

Network -> Network assign

Resource -> Assign VM to resource pool, migrate powered off VM, migrate powered on VM

Tasks -> Create task, update task

Virtual machine -> Configuration

Virtual machine -> Interact -> answer question, device connection, configure CD media, configure floppy media, power off, power on, VMware tools install

Virtual machine -> Inventory -> Create, register, unregister

Virtual machine -> Provisioning -> Allow virtual machine download, allow virtual machine files upload

Virtual machine -> Snapshots -> Remove snapshots
User assigned at datacenter level, and has access to all the objects in the datacenter.

To restrict access, assign the No access role with the Propagate to child object, to the child objects (vSphere hosts, datastores, VMs and networks).

The connection to VMware vSphere vCenter Server is made. We are ready to move forward.

vCenter-Server-connection-added-to-Azure-Site-Recovery-Configuration-Server-ready-to-continue Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
vCenter Server connection added to Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server ready to continue

Next, Azure Site Recovery configuration wizard will prompt you to Add virtual machine credentials. This is to install the Azure Site Recovery Mobility Service on virtual and physical servers that you want to protect. Alternatively, you can check the box not to provide the virtual machine credentials and do this manually.

Configure-virtual-machine-credentials-to-install-Azure-Site-REcovery-mobility-service Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Configure virtual machine credentials to install Azure Site Recovery mobility service

Both the vSphere credentials and the virtual machine credentials configuration is complete. We are now ready to Finalize configuration.

Ready-to-finalize-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-configuration Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication
Ready to finalize the Azure Site Recovery configuration

Once you click the Finalize configuration button, the server will finish writing the changes and finalizing the settings.

Finished-applying-the-configuration-to-the-Azure-Site-Recovery-configuration-server Configure Azure Site Recovery Configuration Server for VMware Replication

At this point, we are now ready to start creating our replication policies in Azure.

Wrapping Up

Azure Site Recovery for VMware provides a great way to quickly stand up an Azure Site Recovery appliance. After deploying the OVA, the initial configuration wizard helps you enter in the remaining configuration needed. In the next part, we will take a look at actually creating the replication policy and getting an initial replication seed of a virtual machine from the on-premises VMware vSphere environment.