Advanced SRM Deployment with SRDF SRA

Right before the holidays I was involved in some communication with a large customer of ours who is in the middle of a consolidation exercise. They have a bunch of vCenter/SRM setups with the SRDF SRA and are looking to reduce that number. It’s a complicated process as you might imagine, particularly as there are many arrays involved, each representing different applications (no direct relationship with each other though). What they want is the ability to parallelize the failover of multiple protection groups from these different arrays. Now if you are familiar with a typical SRM SRDF SRA setup, there are 2 sites, each with the following components: vCenter, SRM, Solutions Enabler, and the SRDF SRA (SRDF Adapter Utilities optional). However, VMware offers any number of deployments which permit more than one SRM installation to be used with a single vCenter. The most common configuration, and I think the first they came out with, is a shared recovery site where you would have 2 vCenters each with their own SRM on the Protection site going to a single vCenter with 2 SRM installations at the Recovery Site. I took this image directly from the VMware docs. Note that this does not include the Platform Services Controller setup which also can be varied and is covered in the docs (as usual click on images to enlarge, use back button on browser to return):

vmware_image
For this large customer this configuration needs to be adjusted since they want to consolidate into a single vCenter at both sites. Here is my attempt to remove the second vCenter from the image:customer_image

I found this configuration intriguing since, well, I don’t often have a good excuse (nor the time) to build things like these but it gets a lot easier to justify up the chain when I have to be able to answer customer questions on it 🙂  So I thought I’d share my setup – I’ll just cover the specific setup pieces that are different than a normal installation and then provide a demo running through the environment and executing two recovery plans (as simultaneously as I can through GUI) which are mapped to different SRMs.

Just an aside – the setup is to demonstrate multiple-SRM configurations. Given my configuration with 3 arrays, I actually could have added another array manager and enabled the new array pair, keeping to a traditional 2 site configuration but that’s not what we’re here for…

Software versions

I am using vCenter 6.0, SRM 6.1.1, SRDF SRA 6.2, Solutions Enabler 8.3, and the latest HYPERMAX OS 5977 Q3 SR. These are the latest components Dell EMC supports for this configuration.

Setup

Let’s start with my hardware environment. I have 3 VMAX All Flash arrays in my configuration. I decided the easiest setup would be to build a SYNC relationship between 2 of the arrays and an ASYNC relationship between the third array and one of the 2 arrays in the SYNC relationship. There are 2 devices in each relationship. I presented these devices (R1) to a single vCenter and created 4 datastores. On each datastore is a single VM. I separated out the SYNC and ASYNC VMs into their own resource pools, however the customer used separate clusters/hosts. The location of the VMs is pertinent to the resource mappings that you configure in SRM. The resource mappings will limit what VMware looks at and potentially may save some time in the running of the recovery plan. Here is a table of my configuration which can be referred to when watching the demo.

env_tableWith the devices, datastores, and VMs squared away, we can look at the software installations. In this particular SRM configuration I need 4 VMs, 2 of which are the vCenters (noted above as dsib2013 and dsib2014) with SRM, and 2 VMs which will house the 2 additional SRM installations only (one for the Protection site and one for the Recovery site). Here are the VMs and the software I put on each one.

I’m going to skip the installation of the vCenters as they proceed as any normal, 2-site SRM environment setup. There is nothing you have to do differently to enable the multi-SRM configuration that follows. So let’s move on to the additional VMs, dsib2015 and dsib2016. In the table above you’ll note that each VM has 3 software components – SRM, Solutions Enabler, and the SRDF SRA. It is while installing SRM that we need to adjust some values. Below I have 4 of the screens that are most pertinent. During the installation for the extra SRM Protection site (dsib2015) I select the PSC that I used for the Protection Site (dsib2013) .  Be sure to select the correct PSC otherwise in step 2 you will not see the right vCenter. In step 3 I confirm my local host is set properly. Note in this screen that the Local Site Name is set to the Protection Site host (dsib2013). If you want a different name (and you really should I was just lazy) change it here. Don’t worry if you forget or just plow through like I did. Within SRM 6.1 you can simply right-click on the name and change it. I adjusted mine to dsib2015 and dsib2016 respectively which will be clear in the demo.

extra_protectionStep 4 in the image above gives you the option to create a custom Plug-in ID. As you can see I set that to dsib2015 to differentiate it from the initial SRM configuration where I used the default Plug-in ID. Be sure when installing the second recovery site, you use the same Plug-in ID name as you did in the first.  VMware even warns you below the field:

extra_recoveryAfter the SRM installations are complete, the Dell EMC software can be installed. Each VM with SRM will require that, first, Solutions Enabler (SE) is installed and then the SRDF SRA. As with a typical two-site implementation, SE will need Gatekeepers to the local VMAX AFA. In my environment then, each SE installation has a local array: dsib2013 to 497, dsib2014 to 498, dsib2015 to 230, and dsib2016 to 497. Be sure to also create the device/consistency group on each SE install for both R1 and R2. Note that I am not using the SRDF Adapter Utilities, rather I simply edited the XML files. Theoretically the Utilities could be used, though the SMI-S locations would have to be adjusted separately for each SRM pair and then the resulting XML files copied to the appropriate directories on each VM.

The final task that is required is to pair the SRM sites. The process is exactly the same as for 2-site except you will be pairing an extra set of sites. When you login to SRM instead of the usual 2 sites, you now will have 4:

srm_sitesI’m not going to step through pairing but assume you know how that works. The one thing I will point out is in reference to the Plug-in Identifier I talked about above. See below when I do my pairing for that site, my Plug-in ID is shown so I know I am using the right one.

plug-in_idOf course the usual post-pairing tasks will need to be done – adding array managers and setting up all the resource pairings.

So I’ll leave the rest in the demo. Though I don’t enjoy voice-overs, I did one for this because so much of it was just showing the setup.  I apologize for the lack of a “clean” production – I just free-formed this as if I were presenting live and didn’t edit it at all. It certainly saves a lot of time, hopefully it doesn’t hurt the quality. BTW you’ll need to use 720P – my rendering software didn’t do such a great job with clarity.

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