VMware Site Recovery Manager is a business continuity and disaster recovery solution that helps you to plan, test, and run the recovery of virtual machines between a protected vCenter Server site and a recovery vCenter Server site.

You can configure Site Recovery Manager to protect virtual machines in different ways.

Datastore groups

Protect the virtual machines in datastore groups by using third-party disk replication mechanisms to configure array-based replication. Array-based replication surfaces replicated datastores to recover virtual machine workloads.

Individual virtual machines

Protect the individual virtual machines on a host by using Site Recovery Manager in combination with VMware vSphere Replication.

Storage policies

Protect virtual machines based on their association with specific storage policies. Protecting virtual machines by using storage policies requires array-based replication.

You can use Site Recovery Manager to implement different types of recovery from the protected site to the recovery site.

Planned migration

The orderly evacuation of virtual machines from the protected site to the recovery site. Planned migration prevents data loss when migrating workloads in an orderly fashion. For planned migration to succeed, both sites must be running and fully functioning.

Disaster recovery

Similar to planned migration except that disaster recovery does not require that both sites be up and running, for example if the protected site goes offline unexpectedly. During a disaster recovery operation, failure of operations on the protected site is reported but is otherwise ignored.

Site Recovery Manager orchestrates the recovery process with the replication mechanisms, to minimize data loss and system down time.

At the protected site, Site Recovery Manager shuts down virtual machines cleanly and synchronizes storage, if the protected site is still running.

Site Recovery Manager powers on the replicated virtual machines at the recovery site according to a recovery plan.

A recovery plan specifies the order in which virtual machines start up on the recovery site. A recovery plan specifies network parameters, such as IP addresses, and can contain user-specified scripts that Site Recovery Manager can run to perform custom recovery actions on virtual machines.

Site Recovery Manager lets you test recovery plans. You conduct tests by using a temporary copy of the replicated data in a way that does not disrupt ongoing operations at either site.

In a typical Site Recovery Manager installation, the protected site provides business-critical datacenter services. The recovery site is an alternative infrastructure to which Site Recovery Manager can migrate these services.

You can use a single set of paired Site Recovery Manager sites to protect virtual machines in both directions. Each site can simultaneously be a protected site and a recovery site, but for a different set of virtual machines.

Some components in the Site Recovery Manager and vCenter Server installations must be identical on each site. Because the protected and recovery sites are often in different physical locations, some components on the protected site can be of a different type to their counterparts on the recovery site.