What Is vSphere Replication, and How Does It Work?

Creating and maintaining multiple virtual machines (VMs) at all the levels of the computing stack is a fundamental component of any modern IT infrastructure. Replication remains the most powerful tool that organizations can use to achieve performance, availability and mobility.

vSphere Replication(VR)—a feature first introduced in VMware vSphere 5.1—augments the recovery potentials of the vSphere platform. By continually replicating a running VM, vSphere replication allows organizations to not only improve performance but also enhance availability and mobility.

vSphere Replication Defined

vSphere Replication is an asynchronous, hypervisor-based VM replicator and recovery feature of the vSphere platform. As an alternative to storage-based replication, vSphere Replication can copy a VM to another site. Users can restore their VMs through the VMware vCenter Server and vSphere Web Client.  

VMware provides vSphere Replication as a free feature for all the eligible vSphere platform licenses, including vSphere Essentials Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise and vSphere Enterprise Plus.  

vSphere Replication has two main components: an agent (a core component of the vSphere installation package) and a set of vSphere Appliances that gets deployed from the vCenter management interface. The agent transmits the changed data from a running source VM to the target VM while the virtual appliances ensure that offline disk files in the remote VM receive the replication.  

Also, the vSphere Replication Appliance helps manage the replication process, giving vSphere administrators the required visibility, they need to check the status of VMs, as well as restoring failed virtual machines.  

For example, vSphere administrators can use the vSphere Replication Appliance to choose a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) that provides information regarding the age limit of VM copies. vSphere administrators can use this information to enforce policies that ensure that VM’s data do not expire for each replication configuration.  

There are three ways that vSphere Replication can protect your VMs:  

vSphere Replication Features and Benefits

vSphere Replication removes many costly disaster recovery requirements due to its unique features such as:

vSphere Replication Use Cases

Organizations can use VR to deliver flexible, reliable and cost-efficient replication solutions for data protection, disaster recovery and data center migration. Here are the details:

vSphere Replication Limitations

vSphere Replication offers clear benefits, but it also has some downsides. There are two categories of these limitations: VM Replication and vSphere Replication Appliance limitations.  

VM Replication limitations  

The virtual machines that you’ll deploy in a vSphere Replication environment can run into problems, such as:  

vSphere Replication Appliance limitations  

Within the vSphere Replication, the vSphere Replication Appliance has architectural shortcomings that include:  

Parallels RAS – Your Ideal VDI Solution

vSphere Replication deployments are, by nature, complex and tedious. vSphere administrators must figure out not only the operational and bandwidth overheads involved with VR deployments, but also how to manage customer business expectations. In a business world that’s fast-paced and highly competitive, vSphere Replication—despite its potential benefits—may not live up to its promise.

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is an alternative for organizations that want a truly agile and scalable infrastructure to deploy enterprise-grade applications. The cloning techniques embedded in Parallels RAS simplifies the management of VMs in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment.

Parallels RAS uses the RAS VDI Agent—already installed in the Parallels RAS farm—to allow IT administrators to create and manage several VDI hosts from a single pane of glass. Once a single VM template is created, all the new virtual desktops update using the snapshot technology, thanks to the flexible cloning techniques inherent in Parallels RAS.

Parallels RAS supports many hypervisors, including VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V, and other hyper-converged infrastructures such as Scale Computing HC3, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nutanix Acropolis to manage VMs. Parallels RAS has a simple and powerful interface that IT administrators can use to manage hypervisors via their native application programming interfaces (APIs).

Besides, organizations can leverage a single Parallels RAS solution to manage VMs from different hypervisors. This provides the flexibility and agility required in managing desktops and applications in today’s highly competitive business environments. Most importantly, Parallels RAS has the necessary security features that prevent unwanted access to VMs outside the use of clients.

Easily manage your virtual machines with Parallels RAS – download your 30-day trial!