vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Tutorial 6: Failing Back to vSphere On-Premises

This tutorial shows you how to fail back a virtual machine from vCloud Air Disaster Recovery to vSphere on-premises. It assumes you have already installed and configured vCloud Connector between your on-premises environment and vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery.

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1. Prepare for Failback


Some failback operations are performed in vCloud Air, which requires the vCloud Connector Server to be connected to the vCloud Air Node. As shown in the following image, this tutorial assumes that this connection has already been established:



Stop the Virtual Machine in vCloud Air

To shut down the virtual machine:

  1. Open the vSphere client.
  2. In the Home view, under Solutions and Applications, click the vCloud Connector icon.



  3. In the Browser pane, expand the appropriate node and select the Disaster Recovery virtual data center. Then, in the Inventory pane, click the vApps tab to display the replicated virtual machines.
  • Here you can see the three virtual machines, including one that had previously failed over to vCloud Air (highlighted at the top of the list).




4. Still in the Inventory pane, select the virtual machine that was failed over and then click the Power Off icon.



Rename the Original Virtual Machine

Remember that you already have a virtual machine in the vCenter inventory with same name as the replicated virtual machine in vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery. To keep the inventory current and easy to navigate, you need to rename the original virtual machine so that you can bring the replacement virtual machine back with the same name. You do this series of steps in the vSphere Web Client.

5. Moving to the vSphere Web Client, on the Inventory tab in the left pane, click the original virtual machine, and then select Rename.



6. In the Rename dialog box, enter a new name for the original virtual machine, and then click OK.

  • TIP: You can simply add a description like RECOVERED to the original name.


Stop Replication

Once the original virtual machine is renamed, the next task is to stop replication. Note that there actually is no replication happening at this point, but you need to take this virtual machine out of the replication service inventory so that it can be restarted later. This series of steps simply reconfigures the virtual machine and brings it back to a state where you can use it later.

7. Select the recovered virtual machine, and then click the Stop Replication icon.



8. In the Stop Replication dialog box, click OK.

2. Execute the vCloud Connector Copy


At this point, you can initiate a standard vCloud Connector copy from vCloud Air back to vCenter on-premises. You do this series of steps in the vCloud Connector client.

  1. Returning to the vCloud Connector client, in the Browser pane, select the desired node and cloud. Then, in the Inventory pane, click the vApps tab and select the virtual machine to be copied.



  2. From the Actions pull-down menu, select Copy.



    This initiates the Copy Wizard for the copy operations. Complete the wizard as follows:

  3. In the Copy Wizard – Select a catalog window, select a vCD catalog for the export, and then click Next.
  • For this example, the vCD catalog is named Demo-Catalog.



4. In the Copy Wizard – Select a target window, enter information as follows, and then click Next.

  • Cloud: Choose a target cloud. (For example, you can select your vCenter Server for the virtual machine.)
  • Name: Edit the virtual machine’s name so that it matches what it was originally. This keeps the inventory list clean when the virtual machine comes into the database.
  • Select a folder: Choose the folder where the virtual machine will be placed.



5. In the Copy Wizard – Select Resources window, select a resource cluster where the virtual machine will be sent once it is back on-premises. Then, click Next.

6. In the Copy Wizard – Select storage window, enter information as follows, and then click Next.

  • Select virtual disk format: Choose thin or thick provisioning.
  • Storage: Select where the virtual machine will be stored.



7. In the Copy Wizard – Deployment options window, choose whether or not to power on the virtual machine after deployment, and then click Next.

  • Remember that you do not power on the virtual machine if you will complete additional configuration after it moves over.

8. In the Copy Wizard – Ready to complete window, review the settings, and then click Finish.

  • Remember that you do not power on the virtual machine if you will complete additional configuration after it moves over.


Note: At this point, the virtual machine is being exported from vCloud Air. After export, copying through vCloud Connector will start, followed by importing to vCenter on-premises. You can see the progress in both the vCloud Connector client and the vSphere Web Client:



3. Configure the Virtual Machine


After the virtual machine has been transferred from vCloud Air to vCenter on-premises, you need to modify its settings so that it can be powered on in its original state. When the virtual machine was copied over, it adopted some default settings; you will change these settings in the vSphere Web Client. Then, you’ll run a set of command prompt tests to verify the settings.

Reconnect to the Correct On-Premises Network

To configure the connection to the on-premises network:

  1. Returning to the vSphere Web Client, on the Inventory tab in the left pane, expand the desired resource cluster, and then select Virtual Machines.
  • This displays the cluster’s virtual machines in the right pane.



2. Click the virtual machine, and then select Edit Settings.

  • Remember to choose the imported virtual machine with the original name, not the renamed one.




3. In the Edit Settings window, change the settings as needed, and then click OK.

  • In this example, you’ll change the Network adapter setting: When the virtual machine was imported, it attached to the default VM Network, which is not where it started. You need to select its original port group for communication. Here, it is vxw-dvs-25-virtualwire-4-sid-500…, a distributed switch on vSphere.


4. Power on the virtual machine: Click the virtual machine, and then select Power On.



5. Review the virtual machine’s status and settings: On the Inventory tab in the left pane, click the virtual machine. Then, in the right pane, click the Summary tab.



Verify IP Address Assignment

At this point, you can examine the settings inside the virtual machine to ensure that everything transferred correctly and that it can communicate with not only the Internet but also other on-premises machines, such as the domain controller. (Note that this tutorial uses a Windows Server virtual machine and DHCP.)

  1. After launching the virtual machine’s console, enter your credentials to log in.
  2. Access the command prompt through the Start → Run menu.
  3. At the command prompt, enter ipconfig /all, and then review the configuration details.
  • Notice there is now an IP address for the on-premises network (192.168.1.254).
  • All local settings, including the domain controller and DNS server (192.168.1.41 and 192.168.1.42, respectively), are active.



4. Again at the command prompt, ping an outside IP location to verify that you receive a response.

  • In this example, we ping yahoo.com to access the Yahoo site.


5. Once more at the command prompt, enter the IP address for the local domain controller.

  • Again, in this example, the domain controller address is 192.168.1.41.
  • It is important to verify this connection because in a failover and recovery situation, the virtual machine could be connected here when the failed site comes back online.



6. Review the virtual machine’s status and settings: On the Inventory tab in the left pane, click the virtual machine. Then, in the right pane, click the Summary tab.

4. Restart Replication


The final task for failing back is to restart replication. This tutorial demonstrates the seed option, which can save time during the replication process. To set up replication, you'll use the vSphere Web Client. Then, you can monitor replication progress in both the vSphere Web Client and vCloud Air.

Configure Replication

To define replication settings:

  1. Returning to the vSphere Web Client, on the Inventory tab in the left pane, click the virtual machine, select All vSphere Replication Actions, and then select Configure Replication.



    Replication Wizard. Complete the wizard as follows:

  2. In the Configure Replication – Replication type window, select the type of replication to configure, and then click Next.
  • In this example, you'll replicate to a cloud provider.



3. In the Configure Replication – Target site window, select the target site where the virtual machine will be replicated, and then click Next.



4. In the Configure Replication – Target location window, select the location for the target vApp, and then click Next.

  • In this example, you'll choose to use replication seeds. This option works because you now have a virtual machine in vCloud Air- Disaster Recovery to replicate back to.



5. In the Configure Replication – Replication seed window, select the correct virtual machine container, and then click Next.

  • Here, you'll select the container for the Demo1 machine (vmtm-DR2C-Demo1...).



6. In the Configure Replication – Replication options window, select a guest quiescing method, if desired, and then click Next.

  • Notice that when a Windows virtual machine is used, the option for Microsoft Shadow Copy Services (VSS) is available.



7. In the Configure Replication – Recovery settings window, set an RPO value, and then click Next.



8. In the Configure Replication – Ready to complete window, review the configuration settings, and then click Finish.

Monitor Replication Progress

Behind the scenes, the replication process is now using the virtual machine in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery as a base to compare against the virtual machine you want to replicate. A full replication of this virtual machine took approximately 51 minutes. Using a seed, this process will be faster (approximately 27 minutes). Importantly, it also will save storage space. For this reason, you should use replication seeds if you want to reuse storage instead of reserving new space. However, if you want to maintain a virtual machine for testing or demonstration purposes, use the standard storage policy option instead.

Regardless of the replication option you choose, you can view the replication progress in the vSphere Web Client as well as vCloud Air.

9. In the vSphere Web Client, on the virtual machine's Monitor tab, note that configuration is taking place.



10. To move to vCloud Air, go to https://vchs.vmware.com/login and log in (if you haven't already).

11. From the Dashboard, click the desired virtual data center.

  • Note: The icon with the blue cloud and lightning bolt indicates a Disaster Recovery virtual data center.



12. On the virtual data center's Dashboard, click the Virtual Machines tab. Note in the Recovery Status column that the virtual machine displays as a Placeholder.

  • This shows that replication of the virtual machine has occurred from a seed, as a fourth (new) machine is not listed.

13. Move to the Replication tab. Note in the Replication Status column that the virtual machine is registering an RPO violation.

  • This is because the virtual machine is still synchronizing. When the process is complete, the violation will switch to OK.



    Note: When the replication process is complete, you can review all details by returning to the vSphere Web Client and going to the virtual machine's Monitor tab.

  • Notice that in this example, it took approximately 27 minutes for replication to complete using the seed option (versus 51 minutes using the storage policy option).
  • At this point, you are back to having the virtual machine on-premises, with replication continuing in vCloud Air Disaster Recovery.