In an earlier post we discussed, What is Virtual Machine Replication? and what it can do for your business. Now we want to take a deeper dive into how to replicate virtual machines using NovaBACKUP software. In this post we are going to discuss VMware replication specifically, although the software is also capable of performing Hyper-V replication as well.

NovaBACKUP supports Virtual Machine Replication of VMware Virtual Machines utilizing the Virtual Dashboard feature which exists in the most recent versions.  VMware replication in the Virtual Dashboard uses the NovaBACKUP Backup / Copy Engine to copy data from either a single ESXi / vCenter host to itself or from one host to another.

Changed Block Tracking

Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is a VMware feature that helps perform incremental backups, so as to only backup the blocks of data that have changed. After clicking on a protected virtual machine, users will see an option for CBT in the bottom right of the virtual machine’s individual dashboard. Checking this box will enable CBT or show the current status of CBT on that virtual machine.

Without CBT enabled, replication jobs will be transferred in full each time the job is executed, which could increase replication time significantly.

Note: Enabling or disabling CBT may take time, as this is a VMware function change.

VMware Replication Retention

VMware backups are able to maintain a retention value in either generations (count) or days for Full or Differential backups. In order to apply retention to an Incremental backup, users will need to target the same folder as their incremental backup with a scheduled or manually run full backup job that includes a retention value.

Setting up VMware Replication

STEP 1: Select an individual Virtual Machine and select the “Replication” button

VMware Replication

STEP 2: After clicking “Replication” users are presented with the following options:

Replicate VMware Virtual Machine

Name: The name of the backup job within the Virtual Dashboard

Target VM Name: The name of the virtual machine at its destination hypervisor. This will default to whatever the current name is plus the suffix of “_rep

Destination Hypervisor: This is the destination, or target, hypervisor. This will display any currently configured VMware hypervisors. If the desired hypervisor has not already been configured, users may click the blue “+” sign to add a hypervisor at this time.

Target Datastore: The target ESXi / vCenter datastore that the user wishes this VM to be replicated to.

VM Folder: The target ESXi / vCenter datastore that the user wishes to replicate this virtual machine into.

Retention: The number of previously available versions stored on the target destination ESXi /vCenter. These are stored as snapshots within the ESXi / vCenter.

STEP 3: Next, the following screen will prompt you on how you want to run the replication job.

Replicate Virtual Machine

STEP 4: Next, you will schedule your replication job.

Schedule VM Replication

Here, users may choose to schedule the replication job in a variety of methods. If no schedule is desired, users may toggle the “Schedule” switch in the top right to turn off the scheduler. Just click Finished and you’re done.

If you are still new to virtualization and would like more information, view our Virtualization Glossary of Terms You Should Know.