October 10, 2022

What's New with Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication 8.6

Technical overview of what's new in Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication 8.6

This release has been a long time coming. Every release of Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication in the last few years has checked off a significant gap or frequent request. SRM & VR 8.6 is no different. In 8.3, we added integration with virtual volumes to SRM and disk resizing to vSphere Replication. We optimized vSphere Replication reprotection and increased the scale to 3,000 VMs in 8.4. And in 8.5, we added and enhanced the ability to protect and unprotect automatically and paved the way for removing storage policy-based protection groups.

With 8.6, we’re crossing off more long-time requests and doing more to make SRM and vSphere Replication easier to use, scale, and meet your DR goals.


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From early on, there has been the ability to interact with Site Recovery Manager programmatically. Site Recovery Manager supported using the SOAP API or, more recently, vRealize Orchestrator. Even vSphere Replication offered the ability to use vRealize Orchestrator to interact with it programmatically.

Despite these capabilities, a consistent request was for more accessible, industry-standard ways of working with SRM and VR. Our engineering team has met that request in the best way possible with this release. Both SRM & vSphere Replication 8.6 support a full REST API. The REST API includes most functionality to manage SRM, vSphere Replication, and their appliances. Look at what is now available:

Site Recovery Manager

  • Authentication
    • Connect, disconnect, and get info about the current session
  • Inventory mappings
    • Create, delete, modify, and get info about mappings
      • Folders
      • Networks
      • Resources
      • Test Networks
      • Storage Policies
      • Placeholders
  • Pairing
    • Create, delete, modify, and get info about pairings
  • Protection
    • Create, delete, modify, and get info about protection groups
    • Change protection settings for VM
    • Add/remove datastores from protection groups
    • Repair placeholder VMs per protection group
    • Get vVol replication group info
  • Recovery
    • Create, delete, modify, and get info about recovery plans
    • Run test, clean up, failover, and reprotect workflows
    • Get VM recovery setting info
    • Change VM priority group, dependencies, and IP customization
    • Get PGs that are part of a recovery plan
    • Get history report info
    • Get VMs that are part of a recovery plan
    • Get issues with a recovery plan
  • Replication
    • Get information about replicated array pairs
    • Get info about vVol fault domains
    • Get info about all replication groups that are part of a vVol fault domain
  • Tasks
    • Get all or specific task info
  • vCenter
    • Get all connected vCenter info
    • Get a list of all replicated VMs

vSphere Replication

  • Authentication
    • Connect, disconnect, and get info about the current session
  • Pairing
    • Create, delete, modify, and get info about pairings
  • Replication
    • Create, pause, resume, delete or modify replications
    • Get info about current replications
    • Get info about remote datastores, policies
  • Server
    • Register, unregister, or get info about VR servers
    • Update or reset connections to VR servers
  • Tasks
    • Get all or specific task info

Appliance Management (both SRM & vSphere Replication)

  • Appliance info (disks, etc.)
  • Certificate management
  • Update management
  • Task management
  • Service management
  • Configuration management
  • Settings
    • Network
    • Time
    • Syslog
    • Access

As with vSphere, SRM and vSphere Replication provide an API gateway to learn about and get started with the REST APIs. Additionally, there is detailed documentation and a series of upcoming blog posts covering details of how to use all the new APIs.

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The new REST API represents a considerable step forward in customers’ ability to interact with SRM & VR programmatically. In addition to the information highlighted above, I will release a series of blog posts over the coming weeks to walk you through all the individual APIs and how to use them. Look for the first post next week.

vSphere and vSAN 8 Interop

With the announcement of vSphere 8 and vSAN 8 and all the new goodness they contain, SRM and VR 8.6 support and are compatible with both, including vSphere Replication supporting replicating VMs running on the new vSAN ESA as well as support for replicating VMs utilizing the new vSphere 8 Datasets.

One important note about vSAN use with vSphere Replication is that vSphere Replication will use the new vSAN ESA snapshots for the two operations where vSphere Replication uses VM snapshots. The only places vSphere Replication uses VM snapshots are for multiple point-in-time rollback points at the target site. And for when application quiescing is enabled for a VM. In normal replication operations, vSphere Replication continues to use LWD as before, not VM snapshots.

Simplified Protection Groups

VMware introduced Storage Policy-based Protection Groups in SRM 6.5. Storage Policy-based Protection Groups provide an innovative and helpful way to manage VM protection in dynamic environments automatically. And they came with their share of limitations as well. Our engineering team has been working in the last few releases to add the functionality they provide to standard VM protection groups, and as of SRM 8.5, they accomplished that. As of SRM 8.5, regular protection groups support all the capabilities of SPPGs, including automatically and dynamically protecting and unprotecting VMs and supporting stretched storage.

Now we’re ready to say goodbye to SPPGs. SRM 8.6 doesn’t support SPPGs. To upgrade to 8.6, customers must migrate existing SPPGs to standard protection groups. The SRM engineering team has created a migration tool that will make this process easier, which will be available with the appliance.

Dynamic Inventory Mapping Updates

Previously Site Recovery Manager required reconfiguring protection groups when inventory mappings those VMs were using changed. With SRM 8.6, If something requires you to change mappings in your environment, SRM will automatically take that into account and update protection accordingly.

Increased Scale for vSphere Replication

It seems like these are becoming a very regular thing which is fantastic. We’re increasing the scale for vSphere Replication again, this time to 4,000 VMs per vCenter/400 per appliance. Along with this increase in the number of supported VMs are various performance tweaks and improvements.

In-product Feedback

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The Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication teams want your feedback and to know what you think. We’ve made that more accessible than ever by providing a spot for you to provide it anonymously from within the UI. This feedback goes directly to the engineering team and product management so let us know what you think so we can keep improving both Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication.

Aria Operations Updates

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We’ve continued to enhance the Aria (formerly vRealize) Operations Management Packs for both Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication, adding the following new metrics:


  • Pairing information
  • Connection status

vSphere Replication

  • Total VMs replicated
  • Total VMs added and removed
  • Total disks replicated
  • NFC replication traffic
  • LWD outgoing traffic
  • LWD incoming traffic
  • Percent of time spent in RPO violation

As you can see from the features in this release, Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication continue to be essential parts of VMware’s disaster recovery portfolio. Look for more posts in the coming weeks on migrating away from SPPGs and more details on using the new REST APIs.

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