Yep, my new VMware obsession is their Site Recovery Manager 5.5. Awesome piece of code, fairly easy to setup (except for some DB connectivity stuff) and easier to administer. I’ll have my own little admin guide follow this article.
I realize there are a few blogs/sites out there which guide you through the setup process but they miss the details that I believe are important to a proper installation. Along the way, I’ll try to write why a particular option is chosen and perhaps more importantly – what would happen if it wasnt chosen. All of us VMware admin/engineers/architects MUST be able to answer why something was chosen over other options and what would happen if something else was chosen instead. Without much further ado, here goes!
Prepare the SQL server and database
I chose SQL 2008 R2 Express for my test lab. You can go ahead and use SQL 2012 too if you are inclined that way.
Just make sure you go with using the “Default Instance”. I first went with Named Instance and had problems getting SRM to talk to the database server (sorry I am not an SQL guy and dont know why it didnt work – apparently other people have had this problem too, Google around if you are curious). Next, set the SQL services to run with a domain account (set the account and its password to never expire otherwise you’ll have problems!) and set startup type to Automatic (if not already that way)
Next, make sure the collation is set to the following, it’s what works with SRM. There may be other types that may work too, but I dont know of any.
Make the service account an SQL administrator. Probably overkill, ask your DB person if any less privileges work too.
Leave other tabs at their default values and click on next to start installing SQL.
Once installed, bring up the SQL Configuration Manager MMC and drill down to the following location:
ENSURE that Named Pipes and TCP/IP are enabled. It’ll give you a message that you need to restart SQL services for the change to take effect, you can do that now or perform the next step and perform all the changes in one go.
Right click on the TCP/IP bit and hit Properties. See how the “Enabled” bits are set to “No” – well, set them to “Yes” for the the IPv4 bits and IPv6 (if you use that). In addition, the Dynamic Ports field is empty and the port is set to 1433. Furthermore, ensure your firewall allows traffic on port 1433 in both directions. Finally, restart SQL services on this machine.
Next up is creating the database side of things.
– Create a login for SRM to use to read/write to the database. I used the domain-service-drsrm account I used above.
– Give the account bulkadmin rights to the database you create. Give the database an informative name.
– You should be set!
Bring out the .exe file for installing SRM and start installing. I’ll walk you along every step of the way. BTW, it doesnt matter where you install SRM first – whether it’s your prod site or your DR site. It’ll have to be installed on both sides for this thing to work!
For purposes of this home lab, I’m going with vSphere Replication for replicating my VM’s from my prod site to the DR site. For real-world scenarios, you’d likely choose to go with array-based replication if your array supports replication (most modern-day arrays do).
Next, the installer asks you to enter details of your vCenter server.
Word of advice though, see how I’ve given the IP address in the vCenter Server Address field? ENTER THE DNS NAME INSTEAD. DONT ENTER THE IP ADDRESS, because there can be problems later on if vSphere Replication uses DNS name for vCenter and you choose to enter the IP address in the above dialog box. So once again, enter the DNS name of your vCenter server. In my case, it’s vcenter.domain.local
Accept the warning about vCenter’s certificate. This warning shows up because vCenter is generating a certificate that uses it’s DNS name and is self-signed. In real world, you’d have a CA signed certificate and since the CA would be trusted (you’d hope so!), there would be no warning!
Now the vCenter username you enter in the box above – it must have admin rights at the vCenter level. If the account you specify doesnt have adequate rights, you will get the following error:
Fix the error by granting the account sufficient rights at the top of the tree (at the vCenter level in the hierarchy).
Next, choose to Automatically generate a certificate for SRM purposes. You can also use an existing certificate you have generated from your CA.
Then, in the organisation part, put in whatever value you please. It doesn’t matter.
Next, you need to punch in some information for SRM extensions.
The local site name can be anything. For simplicity’s sake, just put in PROD for your prod site and DR for your dr site. Again, it doesnt matter.
Then you come to the SQl/database part.
Choose the Client to be SQL server and click the button to create the ODBC connection to the database. Choose the SQL Native Client and follow the prompts right to the finish, it’s just a next > next > next > finish thing. Just remember the name of the System DSN (yes, you create a System DSN – not a User DSN) and put that in the Data Source Name area. I called it SRM. The credentials are what you chose when you created the database. Click Next to begin installing!
A successful installation will bring you to the Installation Completed screen. Your installation will fail if the database bits arent properly configured. The account you use to install SRM – must have bulkadmin rights. I also made it an SQL administrator, which probably takes care of everything.
Repeat the entire procedure on the other site and then we’ll get to the interesting parts – actually using vSphere Replication and SRM!