Example Architectural Decision – Site Recovery Manager Server – Physical or Virtual?

Problem Statement

To ensure Production vSphere environment/s can meet/exceed the required RTOs in the event of a declared site failure, What is the most suitable way to deploy VMware Site Recovery Manager, on a Physical or Virtual machine?


1. Meet/Exceed RTO requirements

2. Ensure solution is fully supported

3. SRM be highly available, or be able to be recovered rapidly to ensure Management / Recovery of the Virtual infrastructure

4. Where possible, reduce the CAPEX and OPEX for the solution

5. Ensure the environment can be easily maintained in BAU


1. Sufficient compute capacity in the Management cluster for an additional VM

2. SRM database is hosted on an SQL server

3. vSphere Cluster (ideally Management cluster)  has N+1 availability


1. None


1. Reduce CAPEX and OPEX

2. Reduce the complexity of BAU maintenance / upgrades

3. Reduce power / cooling / rackspace usage in datacenter

Architectural Decision

Install Site Recovery Manager on a Virtual machine


1. Ongoing datacenter costs relating to Power / Cooling and Rackspace are avoided

2. Placing Site Recovery Management on a Virtual machine ensures the application benefits from the availability, load balancing, and fault resilience capabilities provided by vSphere

3. The CAPEX of a virtual machine is lower than a physical system especially when taking into consideration network/storage connectivity for the additional hardware where a physical server was used

4. The OPEX of a virtual machine is lower than a physical system due to no hardware maintenance, minimal/no additional power usage , and no cooling costs

3. Improved scale-ability and the ability to dynamically add additional resources (where required) assuming increased resource consumption by the VM. Note: The guest operating system must support Hot Add / Hot Plug and be enabled while the VM is shutdown. Where these features are not supported, virtual hardware can be added with a short outage.

4. Improved manageability as the VMware abstraction layer makes day to day tasks such as backup/recovery easier

5. Ability to non-disruptively migrate to new hardware where EVC is configured in compatible mode and enabled between hosts within a vSphere data center


1. Place SRM on a physical server


1. For some storage arrays, the SRM server needs to have access to admin LUNs and using a virtual machine may increase complexity by the requirement for RDMs

I would like to Thank James Wirth VCDX#83 (@jimmywally81) for his contribution to this example architectural decision.

Related Articles

1. Site Recovery Manager Deployment Location

2. Swap file location for SRM protected VMs