In the product FAQ documentation from VMware vCloud Availability official product introduction website, one question listed which most cloud providers frequently asking about is:

Q. Can I automate the failover order of my disaster recovery virtual machines?

A. Yes. By leveraging VMware vRealize Orchestrator you can install a plug-in and create workflows that allow you to automate the full fail over. For example, you could create a simple workflow that would power on virtual machines in a particular order. This is extremely useful if you are protecting multiple tiered application workloads.
VMware vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication allows VMware administrators to simplify the management of their vSphere Replication infrastructure by leveraging the workflow automation platform of vRealize Orchestrator.
The vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication extends automation capabilities for certain vSphere Replication operations by including them in vRealize Orchestrator workflows, some example are: (sample taken from here)
  • Auto protect groups of virtual machines
  • Failover and start virtual machines in a specific order
  • Customize virtual machine hardware settings after failover
  • Customize the failover environment
  • Orchestrate the failover of a large group of VMs using a single REST call
VMware vRealize Orchestrator provides service orchestration to automate tasks across VMware products using vCloud API, VIM API, NSX API, it can also be configured to launch some automation tasks of vCloud Director using generic HTTP-REST integration to provide vCloud Availability tenant onboarding and managing disaster recovery or failover for fully cloud provider managed services.

In this blog I’ll walk you through the major steps required to install the plug-in for the On-Premises deployment model (vRealize Orchestrator is deployed by the tenant in their on-premises data center). The tenant uses vRealize Orchestrator to configure/manage replications and test failovers.

The following graph shows the overall high-level architecture of vCloud Availability for vCloud Director (vCAV).

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I have the following environment setup, the left hand side is my On-Premise DC with vSphere Replication configured and paired with remote site vCloud Director’s OVDC (T1-OVDC).

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The paring information is shown as below:

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To begin with the vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication 6.5.1 installation, first you need to install vRealize Orchestrator (vRO marked in green color in the following graph), you can install version 7.3 or 7.4 of vRO as you wish, but please check which vSphere plug-in version is supported here.


Suppose that you have already installed vRO, we need to go through the following steps to complete the Plug-In setup.

1. Install vSphere Replication 8.1 Plug-In

My vSphere Replication appliance version is 8.1, so I will use the vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication 8.1 release runs with VMware vRealize Orchestrator 7.3.

You can download the vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication 8.1 from the download page.

Go to vRO Control Center, click “Manage Plug-Ins” to install your downloaded plug-in.

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browse to the path of your vr-8.1.0.vmoapp file.

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Accept EULA.

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then restart your vRO service.

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After you install the Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication, the plug-in automatically discovers the vSphere Replication instances on all vCenter Servers that are currently registered, you can find the vSphere Replication workflows in the vSphere Web Client:

  1. Go to vRealize Orchestrator > Workflowsview in the vSphere Web Client.
  2. Expand the hierarchy to navigate to the vRO Servers > Library > vSphere Replication folder.

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2. Configure a vCenter Authenticator

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Enter vCenter Server’s host name or IP address.

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There will be one certificate notification coming up, just accept that.

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Click “Register” button.

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Input the Administrator group in domain.

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test the connection:

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restart vRO.

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3. Install vCloud Director Plug-in

you can install vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vCloud Director 9.1 from here.
The build number is 7876914, after installing the plug-in, you can see the following info in vRO Control Center.
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4. Configuring the HTTP-REST Plug-In

(this is only required if you want to perform vCAV actions via vCD API extension, we will skip this part)

5. Configure inventory items in vRealize Orchestrator

We need to first configure two endpoints, one is for our on-premise vCenter, the other one is cloud site’s vCD endpoint before we can run vSphere Replication related workflows in vRO.

5.1 Registering On-Premise vCenter Server Node

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after this step, you can see there is a vCenter Server node showing up in vRO’s inventory tab.
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5.2 Register Cloud Site Credentials

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5.3 Register Standalone Organization (allow replication-related operations to be performed on this endpoint)

The “Register a Standalone Organization” workflow is used to register an endpoint and credentials for an organization and virtual data center in a vCloud Director instance.
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You’ll need to provide user name and login credential for your cloud VDC.
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You’ll see your cloud site’s endpoint has been created in vRO’s inventory pane.
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5.4 Registering a vCloud Director Endpoint (optional, but required if you want to perform workflows that run against virtual machines running on in this endpoint)

The “Add a Connection” workflow is used to register a vCloud Director endpoint and credentials. This step is required if we want to perform some VM configurations tasks running in vCloud Director.
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After we added a connection, you’ll see the following info in vRO inventory.
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6. Execute the Plug-in workflows

After all configurations have been done, if you have already configured some replications tasks running on-premise, then you’ll see those VMs in vRO’s vSphere Replication Inventory panel respectivly.
For example, I’ve configured the “TestVM” to be protected and replicated to the cloud.
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You will find it showing up in vRO’s vSphere Replication Inventory panel as below.
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We can then test the “Run Test Recovery to Cloud” workflow directly from vRO’s GUI.
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In our DR site, we’ll see the replicated VM in the T1-OVDC is being powered-on triggered by this workflow:
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After the VM has been powered-on in the cloud, our Site Recovery GUI will also show the status to test status “Ready”, which means this workflow has been successfully executed, this reflects that our configurations to vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication are correct.
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All out-of-the-box vSphere Replication workflows description can be found in the release notes, you can use the sample workflows individually or combine them to create custom workflows to include them in your Disaster Recovery run books. This concludes the introduction of installation and configuration for vRealize Orchestrator Plug-In for vSphere Replication for vCloud Availability, hope this help, thank you!
  1. VMware official white paper regarding how to use vRO with vCAV is here.
  2. You can find sample vRO workflows that require additional tasks during a VM failover, i.e: to Enable Guest Customization and to Update IP Address scripts here.