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VMware SRM Custom Install – Shared Recovery Site

February 23, 2014

In a few of my customer’s VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) implementations, we needed to configure a single recovery site to support two protected sites.  SRM does permit this, but it requires a custom installation.  Early in my SRM  engagements, I take steps to determine if a shared recovery site is needed or may be needed.  In either case, I perform the custom installation that permits the shared recovery site.  Here are a few keys to configuring a shared recovery site in SRM.


The first key is planning.  The main difference in planning for a shared recovery site versus a standard recovery site is that SRM must be installed twice at the recovery site (once for each protected site).  SRM must be installed into separate Windows servers at the shared recovery site.  These two SRM instances represent a single site, but will have unique SRM-IDs.   The SRM-ID can be thought of as the name of an SRM instance at the shared recovery site.  A common convention is to set each SRM-ID value to a string that combines the recovery site name and the site that the instance it protects.

For example, consider a case where the shared recovery site is called Dallas, which protects two sites called Denver and Seattle.   At the Dallas site, SRM must be installed in two Windows servers.  One SRM instance will be used to protect the Denver site and the other instance will protect the Seattle site.  In this case, a sensible choice for the SRM-IDs may be DAL-DEN and DAL-SEA.

Custom Installation

The second key is to perform the custom installation.  To perform the custom installation:

  • Using one of the Windows servers at the shared recovery site, where an SRM instance will be implemented to protect one specific site, download the SRM installer.
  • In a command prompt, change the default directory to the location of the installer.
  • Run this command to launch the wizard for the custom installer:VMware-srm-5.1.1-1082082.exe /V”CUSTOM_SETUP=1”
  • The custom installation wizard should look much like the standard installation wizard, except that it includes some extra pages and options.  The first additional page is the VMware SRM Plugin Identifier page.   On this page, select Custom_SRM Plugin Identifier.
  • The second additional page prompts the user to provide the SRM ID, Organization, and Description.  The critical value to provide is the SRM_ID, which should be set to the value that is planned for one of the SRM instances at the shared recovery site.  (For example, DAL-DEN).
  • The remainder of the installation process is identical to a standard installation.  Be sure to repeat these steps for the second SRM instance at the shared recovery site.

Connecting the Protected Site to the Correct SRM Instance

The third key is to connect each protected site to the correct SRM instance at the shared recovery site.  The main difference in connecting each protected site to shared recovery site versus connecting to a standard recovery site is to select the appropriate SRM-ID.  Begin by performing the typical steps to connect the protected site to the recovery site, which requires using the SRM plugin for the vSphere Client to select the first protected site and click Configure Connection.  In the Connection wizard, an extra page will appear after selecting the vCenter Server at the recovery site.  The extra page identifies the two SRM instances at the recovery site by displaying a list providing the SRM-ID, Organization, and Description of each SRM instance.  Choose the SRM-ID that corresponds to the SRM instance that should be used to protect the first site.   Naturally, this process should be repeated for the second protected site.

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