Since a couple of weeks the vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) plugin for vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is available. This plugin is a quite interesting addition to the available vCO plugins. Until recently the only way to automate SRM was using a powershell cmdlet or run a script directly against the SRM API. With the availability of a vCO plugin, you can automate SRM straight from vCO which is a great improvement and especially useful when you’re also working with vCloud Automation Center (vCAC).
Exploring the SRM vCO plugin
Let’s explore the SRM vCO plugin and see which workflows are included in the package. I have included a list of the supplied workflows on the right.
Initial configuration of the plugin is not too difficult, the plugin will leverage the SSO configuration and find the vCenter/SRM server located at the primary site. To connect to the secondary site you have to run the Login workflow. After completing the initial settings you can use the plugin to its full potential.
Included are workflows to create folder, network and resource mappings. You can also create protection groups for both Array Based Replication and vSphere Replication and add these protection groups to one of the existing recovery plans. In this way you can use the plugin for the initial configuration of SRM.
I think the most frequently used workflows in the plugin are the “Protect Virtual Machine” and “Set VM Recovery Settings” workflows. The first workflow allows you to add a virtual machine to one of the available recovery plans, with the second workflow you can configure the different per-VM recovery settings.
Using the SRM plugin in a vCAC environment
The new SRM vCO plugin is very useful in a vCAC environment. Specifically if you want to offer the portal users the option to protect their virtual machines using SRM, the plugin comes around the corner. As you might know, you can call vCO workflows as part of a VM deployment sequence in vCloud Automation Center. The WFStubBuildingMachine and WFStubMachineProvisioned stubs are fired before virtual machine creation and right after the virtual machine is deployed. This last step is of interest when you want to protect a virtual machine with Site Recovery Manager: Let a user select “protect by SRM” in the portal and subsequently fire the “Protect Virtual Machine” workflow as part of the MachineProvisioned stub. You can offer additional configuration options which are set by using the “Set VM Recovery Settings” workflow.
What’s is missing in the plugin and what can be improved
In the first version of the plugin a few things are missing. For example no workflow is included to create a new recovery plan, this would be a great addition for a future version. A workflow to remove a VM from a recovery plan is also not available currenlty. Another option I would be interested in is to trigger a failover straight from vCO.
As you can see the new vCO SRM plugin offers great functionality, the combination vCAC + SRM + vCO is very valuable. I would definitely recommend to start playing with this plugin if you want to automate and integrate SRM in your vCAC environment.
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