vCloud Air Disaster Recovery Tutorial 5: Performing a Planned Failover

This tutorial shows you how to perform a planned failover of a virtual machine that is being replicated. Unlike a test failover where the virtual machine on-premises is not affected, once a planned failover occurs, you must do a complete failback. There is no cleanup of the environment.

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1. Run a Planned Migration

The first task in performing a full failover of a virtual machine is to run a planned migration in the vSphere Web Client. To do this:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Web Client.
  2. On the Home tab, click the vSphere Replication icon.

  3. Click the vCenter Server that has replication enabled, and then click Monitor.

  4. On the Monitor tab, click vSphere Replication and review the available virtual machines.
  • In this example, three virtual machines have been replicated, and each of them is available for performing operations.

5. Click the desired virtual machine for failover, and then click the Run Planned Migration icon.

Before performing the planned migration, you need to shut down the virtual machine:

6. In the Planned Migration – Source VM shutdown window, select the shutdown method, and then click Next.

  • You can choose a guest shutdown with a specified timeout period, or you can elect to stop the virtual machine immediately.
  • In this example, you’ll choose the guest shutdown option with a timeout period of 5 minutes.

7. In the Planned Migration – Ready to complete window, review the shutdown settings, and then click Finish.

  • This operation initiates shutdown and starts the process of converting the virtual machine on the vCloud Air side to a fully recovered virtual machine (versus a test virtual machine).

Note: At this point, the designated virtual machine is being recovered in vCloud Air. You can see the progress in two locations on the Monitor tab page: in the Status column on left side and in the Recent Tasks pane on the right side.

2. Manage the Recovered Virtual Machine

The virtual machine has failed over and been recovered in vCloud Air – Disaster Recovery. You can now log in to vCloud Air to manage the virtual machine. To do this:

  1. If you’re not already logged in, go to and log in to vCloud Air.
  2. 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.

3. On the virtual data center’s Dashboard, click the Virtual Machines tab. Note in the Recovery Status column that the failover virtual machine displays as Recovered.

4. Move to the Replication tab. Note in the Replication Status column that the failover virtual machine is registering an RPO violation. This is because there is no replication happening.

5. Review the virtual machine’s settings: Returning to the Virtual Machines tab, select the virtual machine, click the down arrow to access the pull-down menu, and then select View & Edit Details.

  • Note: You also can double-click the virtual machine in the Name column to access its settings.

6. In the Virtual Machine Details view, click the Networks tab and verify the connection information.

  • In this example, the virtual machine is connected to the recovery network, not the test network. This is correct for a planned failover.

Note: You can change the network that the virtual machine connects to by clicking Edit Network Assignment on the Networks tab. However, for this tutorial, you will keep the virtual machine on the recovery network where it was originally assigned.

7. Power on the virtual machine: Go to the Settings tab, click the STATUS row, and then click Power On.

You can complete additional quick tests to ensure that this virtual machine is properly configured. For example, with a Windows Server virtual machine:

A. After launching the console, enter your credentials to log in to the virtual machine.

B. Access the command prompt through the Start → Run menu.

C. At the command prompt, enter ipconfig /all, and then review the configuration details.

  • There is a valid IP address on the recovery network, as well as a valid default gateway.
  • The virtual machine has all needed information to fully connect to the Internet. This virtual machine is not on a domain. It could be a web server or another machine that just needs Internet access.

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

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

3. Stop Replication

The last task in performing a planned failover is to permanently stop replication. Stopping replication simply resets the virtual machine within the vSphere Web Client in preparation for the failback process. Failback will occur from vCloud Air back to the vSphere environment.

  1. Returning to the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the Monitor tab and click vSphere Replication.
  2. Click the failover virtual machine, and then click the Stop Replication icon.

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