What is our primary use case?
Our primary use is for our client. It's a system integrator frame. I have clients for whom we manage their data centers. Or, we do their integration and implementation. Basically, we use it to replicate their virtual machines, their user site, and their company site, and maybe to configure it and schedule their recovery. We use it for doing recovery tests from time to time, quarterly or yearly, for some of our clients. To test for a situation whereby a danger or a disaster could be affecting their data that is being replicated. This is good to do. Periodically, we run those tests and recover those virtual machines, and they try to work from their recovery sites to ascertain that everything is okay.
What is most valuable?
What I like about VMware is its capability to schedule, write and configure the recovery and scheduled steps, such that you don't have to come in and start manually trying to recover the entire machine. You just push a button to recover the VMware and everything is done.
What needs improvement?
What I think can be improved is the data replication aspect. For example, I know of another repetition solution called RP for VM. I don't really know how to use it since I've never used it before, but I've read about it. I know its features and I've spoken to some IT practitioners who have experience with RP for VM, who work with Dell EMC, and they gave me the feeling that RP for VM is better than VMware replication technology. The argument is that RP for VM has the ability to get your application going even when there is a loss of connectivity. Whereas in VMware you have to have something like 50% connectivity for the configuration. So in that respect, RP for VM has that feature which makes it better than VMware solutions. I guess VMware should make sure they are on top of their virtualization and data replication solution, more than every other company.
Overall, I can't point to any other thing, apart from whatever feature makes some people think artificial DNE is better than the replication application and SRM. If they can just take care of that then I don't think there's anything else.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using VMware SRM for close to 6 years now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I would say that it's stable. I think everything depends on how you design and manage your environment. For example, when it comes to data replication on the disaster recovery side, part of the challenge that most of our clients have is the link between the production site and the APR site. Sometimes the link will be having challenges and data replication won't work for a few minutes, or something like that. But I don't really think it's an issue with the VMware solution. So, I don't really have challenges with it. If you properly take care of your environment the virtual machines will not have issues. In your scenario, maybe you didn't configure your cluster very well, or your GRS is not working properly, or some virtual machines are not giving results - then most likely you are going to have challenges.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I have not scaled it before so I am not able to give feedback on that.
The environments we have deployed it on are enterprise environments, like the fashion wear industry, dotcom companies, and some other companies also.
How are customer service and technical support?
The only time we've contacted VMware support was in a case where we had some virtual machines mistakenly deleted and they needed someone who was very experienced in VMware virtualization, someone who understood working from the command line in the process. They needed to do some troubleshooting from the command line. I was very new to VMware virtualization solutions at that point, so I had to contact support. But anyway, that was a long time ago, about 4 -5 years back, and I have not been in contact with them at support.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is not that difficult. I would not say it's difficult because you just experience it when deploying some VMware solutions, especially a replication plan. The first time it's not always easy. But once you get the hang of it and get it right the first time, then you don't really have issues. Such as, do you need to go there and provide a key? I wouldn't say it's that difficult - it's not so straightforward but it's not that difficult. It's not complex for me.
I've done the deployment for different clients. So I would say the first time was not easy. But, for me to do it right now wouldn't take time.
What other advice do I have?
My advice to people considering this solution is that they should just go ahead and get it. I think that is the best virtualization solution out there. Some people say Nutanix is better. I think VMware is the best.
I would also advise making sure your virtual environment is well taken care of. I don't think there are any other challenges that you're going to have. It's necessary that when you see it side by side, to have an operations manager help you find problematic areas and possible issues you are going to encounter in the future.
On a scale of 1 - 10, I give it a 9.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?