In a recent briefing, I got the news that VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager version 4 is about to be released. As of monday, October 5th, the new version is available for order and download. This is great news for the over two thousands customers using VMware Site Recovery Manager today!

The new version is dubbed with version number 4. As with VMware vCenter Lab Manager, the version skips a couple of numbers to align with the current release of VMware vSphere, which also has version 4. This way, it’s easier for customer to recognize compatibility between different products.

Where the previous version concentrated on providing features like support for iSCSI and Fibre Channel SANs, multiple recovery plans and testing the plans (using network bubbles), the new version is extending in line with the direction chosen.

The focus of this version is to extend already existing features or present new features in line with the product’s chosen direction. The major enhancements in this version can be summed up as follows:

  • Support for VMware vSphere 4 and VMware vCenter Server 4, as well as mixed environments
    Only mixed ESX-versions allowed though, no older vCenter version allowed. ESX 3.0.2, 3.5 and 4 are allowed.
  • Support for vNetwork Distributed vSwitches (no enhancements on the layer 2 and 3 network reconfiguration, though)
  • Support for VMware vCenter Server Linked Mode
  • Support for replicating NFS datastores (mainly for EMC and NetApp storage). No word on inter-protocol replication, though (for instance: NFS to iSCSI).
  • All the Storage Replication Adapters (SRA) are being scrutinized all over again by the VMware SRA certification team to ensure complete compatibility and support for NFS.
  • Shared Recovery Site
    This feature enables the multiple-to-one scenario with your Disaster Recovery plan. Many protected sites can fail over to a single recovery site, thus eliminating the one-to-one relationship in previous versions. This enables organisations to create more cost-effective Disaster Recovery plans, whilst not compromising on performance and scalability. This feature requires a single vCenter and SRM instance on the shared recovery site, and the plugin at this site is extended to create a simple and easy way to administer all relationships between a single protected site and the shared recovery site. A vCenter / SRM configuration is still needed on each protected site, obviously. Another remark is that three-way (one-to-many) configurations are still not possible. Each site is either a protected site or the recovery site, where only the recovery site can protect multiple sites.
  • Increased scalability. Version 4 can protect up to a thousand virtual machines, whereas the previous version would only go up to five hundred. There is improved possibility to create groups or otherwise subdivide virtual machines with the Site Recovery Manager console.
  • Pricing will not be changed, it is still $1750 per processor

A couple of downsides are noticable, too. I did not hear about any support for VMware View, specifically for linked clones. Also, virtual machines protected with Fault Tolerance will not be configured for FT after a fail over. Also, failing back a site still requires that you break replication, setup plans and schedule a controlled failover. Good news though, automatic failback has been added to the roadmap, which means it could be release in the next version, anywhere up to 2 years from now… The same goes for host based replication, by the way.

Check out the release notes here!