SRDF SRA and SRM 6.5 support

Customers will be happy to learn that the SRDF SRA which supports VMware SRM 6.5 is now GA. SRDF SRA 6.3 is released in conjunction with our newest HYPERMAX OS Q2 2017 release which was announced at Dell EMC World. You can get the SRA here. As I’ve noted in other posts, our SRA is tied to our VMAX platform, not VMware’s software. This creates unavoidable gaps in SRM support which are sometimes short, or in this case a bit longer. The new SRA will be the only one to support SRM 6.5 (it is unrealistic to try and qualify older releases). With the SRA 6.3, you can also download the companion software SRDF Adapter Utilities (SRDF-AU) 6.3 here (you’ll need to expand the “ADD-ON”s section). The SRDF-AU is a GUI interface assisting in configuring the SRA XML files. It is only supported on Windows vCenters so if you are using VCSA it is not available. With that, let me segue into a quick side note.

This is the terminal release of the SRDF-AU. I have a separate post on this from last month, but the long and short of it is this product is end of life. As VMware is moving to VCSA exclusively (at some point), and this product only runs on Windows and cannot be ported, it has served its purpose. The SRDF SRA of course doesn’t need the SRDF-AU and never did. If you read the post you’ll learn about an alternative formatting tool as well as a future enhancement which will render the modification of the XML files an infrequent task. Back to the SRA…

Besides SRM 6.5 and the new HYPERMAX OS support, SRA 6.3 also supports the new VMAX 950 platform. This is our latest, high-end all flash array.

Remember that SRM 6.5 only works with vSphere 6.5 (ESXi and vCenter). This is good news actually because one of the great improvements in ESXi 6.5 is the speed of resignaturing VMFS volumes – something that is going to happen every time you run the Test Failover in SRM. I ran a quick test to show you the difference. I have the same, simple setup for both 6.0 and 6.5 environments – 2 VMFS datastores, 2 VMs, replicating with SRDF synchronously. The only difference is the version, vSphere 6.0 and SRM 6.1 on the top, vSphere 6.5 and SRM 6.5 on the bottom. Notice how the test is 3 times as fast with vSphere 6.5!  That will pay huge dividends in large environments which take far longer than my setup.

A minor note about VVols and SRM. VMware still does not support VVols with SRM and array replication, even if the vendor supports VVol 2.0/VASA 3.0 (which we don’t yet). They have only added support for their own vSphere Replication and vSAN. They’ve exposed some API calls for scripting DR, however, which I think has led to some confusion about SRM support.

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