VM Replication Is The New P2V (Planning V4DR and V4BC)
Because of the prevalence of virtual infrastructure these days, I’ll make the argument that virtual machine (VM) replication, both for business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) purposes, is the new P2V (physical to virtual migration) project. Not in the literal migration of physical to virtual, but in the same P2V concepts of infrastructure consolidation and capacity planning. I’m also talking similarity of process and in the frequency in which it is occurring. Simply put, IT shops that performed P2V migrations several years ago are now exploring how they can accomplish their DR site fail over or their BC needs with their virtual machines.
Let’s call these new generation of projects V4DR (virtualization for disaster recovery) or V4BC (virtualization for business continuity).
If I rewind 3 to 5 years ago in my career, capacity planning for server consolidation was a weekly project and topic of discussion. Customers were either in the process of converting physical servers to virtual machines or they were exploring the possibility to do so. In both cases, capacity planning scenario spreadsheets and reports were frequent “ground zero documents” to almost every project plan I was involved in.
Just like P2V projects, VM replication today also requires some of the same considerations for job scalability and times to complete – i.e. using multiple hosts as targets and making sure the network can support getting the job done as quick as possible. Not to mention ip addressing, VLAN assignments, and application connectivity after the fact. Thank goodness we no longer have to deal with hardware drivers and other unneeded software a second time. Hopefully, VM alignment is a thing of the past too!
I’m not seeing the same “ground zero documents” for replication projects, however.
Use the same capacity planning tools?
So, I’ll ask the question:
are the existing capacity planning tools we have used previously for our P2V migrations good enough to help today with the V2V replications needed for our new V4DR and V4BC?
In theory they should be: monitor the virtual machines for several weeks and then determine the capacity and resources needed at the DR site. Leverage the capacity planning scenarios in these tools for reports like “What If I lose a Host?” or “What If I add X number of VMs?”.
Replication Capacity Planning
My point is, I think most look at today’s capacity planning tools as either no longer useful since the migration is over, or useful just for primary site capacity purposes. Looking at the output of these tools a little differently could also provide secondary site planning. A report like “What if I lose a host?” could also be viewed as “Can I consolidate my VMs on even less hosts for DR?”. “What if I add X number of VMs?” could also be viewed as “How much capacity do I need to purchase at my DR site?”.
Is what we have today good enough to be reused , or do we need a whole new version of capacity planning and virtualization assessment tools? Call the new tools Cloud / Hosting / DR/ BC / Replication Capacity Planners? Take your pick!
I’m curious. What tools that exist today do you think are already providing output that is useful for V4DR or V4BC planning? Leave a comment!
disclaimer: I work for Veeam Software. Veeam Backup and Replication is a VM replication solution. Veeam Reporter has Capacity Planning reporting capabilities.