Data Centre Migration Strategies – Part 1 – Overview

After a recent twitter discussion, I felt a Data Centre migration strategies would be a good blog series to help people understand what the options are, along with the Pros and Cons of each strategy.

This guide is not intended to be a step by step on how to set-up each of these solutions, but a guide to assist you making the best decision for your environment when considering a data centre migration.

So what’s are some of the options when migrating virtual machines from one data centre to another?

1. Lift and Shift

Summary: Shut-down your environment and Physically relocate all the required equipment to the new location.

2. VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)

Summary: Using SRM with either Storage Replication Adapters (SRAs) or vSphere Replication (VR) to perform both test and planned migration/s between the data centres.

3. vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC)

Summary: Using an existing vMSC or by setting up a new vMSC for the migration, vMotion virtual machines between the sites.

4. Stretched vSphere Cluster / Storage vMotion

Summary: Present your storage at one or both sites to ESXi hosts at one or both sites and use vMotion and Storage vMotion to move workloads between sites.

5. Backup & Restore

Summary: Take a full backup of your virtual machines, transport the backup data to a new data centre (physically or by data replication) and restore the backup onto the new environment.

6. Vendor Specific Solutions

Summary: There are countless vendor specific solutions which range from Storage layer, to Application layer and everything in between.

7. Data Replication and re-register VMs into vCenter (or ESXi) inventory

Summary: The poor man’s SRM solution. Setup data replication at the storage layer and manually or via scripts re-register VMs into the inventory of vCenter or ESXi for sites with no vCenter.

Each of the above topics will be discussed in detail over the coming weeks so stay tuned, and if you work for a vendor with a specific solution you would like featured please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Example Architectural Decision – Datastore Heartbeats for Clusters protected by SRM

Problem Statement

To enhance the isolation detection abilities of vSphere to minimize the chance of false positive isolation responses  Datastore Heartbeats will be used. What is the most suitable configuration of Datastore Heartbeats for an environment using SRM?


1. SRM solution must not be impacted

2. Maximum vSphere environment availability


1. Site Recovery Manager 5.1 protects virtual machines in the cluster/s

2. Appropriate isolation address/es have been configured OR the default isolation address is suitable

3. As all storage is presented via Active/Active storage controllers

4. There are some datastore which are not replicated

5. Isolation response is set to “Shutdown”


1. None


1. Minimize the chance of a false positive isolation event

2. In the event of isolation, automate the recovery of VMs

Architectural Decision

Use Datastore Heartbeats to enhance the isolation detection capabilities of vSphere.

For each cluster where SRM is used, Configure Datastore Heartbeating to Manually select two non replicated datastores per cluster as the heartbeat datastores


1. Datastore heartbeating frequently writes to the datastore selected for heartbeating so in the event the network is down, isolation, partition or failure can be properly determained. As a result, during a SRM recovery, datastores need to be un-mounted from the failed site and the Datastore heartbeating may cause one or more datastores to fail to unmount due to I/O on the datastore

2. Datastores failing to un-mount will cause one or more of the SRM recovery steps to report as failed, selecting non replicated datastores prevents this impacting SRM

3. The environment benefits from increases resiliency as a result of datastore heartbeats being used

4. There is no negative impact to the SRM solution


1. Each cluster will need to have one or more non replicated datastores if Datastore Heartbeating is to be used

2. Additional configuration required to manually select non replicated datastores for heartbeating


1. Do not use Datastore heartbeating

2. Use Datastore Heartbeats and have datastores automatically selected

Relates Articles

1. Example Architectural Decision – Host Isolation Response for FC Based storage


Example Architectural Decision – Storage I/O Control for Clusters Protected by SRM (Example 2 – Use SIOC)

Problem Statement

In an environment with one or more clusters with virtual machines protected by SRM, What is the most appropriate configuration of Storage I/O control?


1. SRM solution must not be impacted


1. vSphere Version 4.1 or later

2. FC (Block) Based Storage OR NFS (File) based Storage

3. Number of datastores is fairly static


1. Storage I/O control can prevent unmounting of datastore during a Recovery which can lead to errors being reported by SRM


1. Where possible ensure consistent storage performance for all virtual machines

Architectural Decision

Enable and Configure Storage I/O control for all datastores.

Set the congestion threshold to 20ms

Leave the shares value default

Add a Step to each SRM recovery Plan as Step 1 and Select the Step Placement of “Before selected step”.

Configure step type as “Command of SRM Server” and execute the Scheduled Task which will disable SIOC prior to executing a SRM recovery


1. The benefits of Storage I/O control can still be achieved without impact to the SRM solution

2. SIOC will not impact SRM failover as it will be disabled automatically as part of the SRM recovery plan

3. In the event the Protected site or is lost, SIOC will not prevent failover


1. Increased complexity for the SRM solution

2. An additional step to excecute a “Command of SRM Server” is required

3. A Scheduled Task will need to be setup and configured with setting “Allow task to be ran on demand”

4. A script to disable SIOC will need to be prepared and configured with all datastores


1. Enable Storage I/O control and leave default settings

2. Enable storage I/O control and set share values on virtual machines

3. Enable Storage I/O control and set a lower “congestion threshold”

4. Enable Storage I/O control and set a higher “congestion threshold”

5. Disable Storage I/O control

Relates Articles

1. Example Architectural Decision –  Storage I/O Control for Clusters Protected by SRM (Example 2 – Don’t Use SIOC)