Ransomware Recovery with VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

In a previous post, I covered how VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery can help customer address the process of recovering workloads from a disaster.

Ransomware attacks against corporate data centers and cloud infrastructure are growing in complexity and sophistication, and are challenging the readiness of data protection teams to recover from an attack.

In this post, I will cover the Ransomware Recovery add-ons that have been recently added to VCDR and how it can help enterprise to address recovery from Ransomware.

What is a Ransomware attack?

Once ransomware enters a system, it begins encrypting individual files or complete file systems. It blocks user access until requests for payments, which are often displayed in warning messages, are fulfilled. Unfortunately, even if the organization pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that the perpetrators will provide the cryptographic keys needed to decrypt the files.

Ransomware attacks are very unpredictable. They do happen. When you think about Ransomware attacks, they come in different form and sizes, and it makes it very difficult to plan the recovery effort without the proper tooling in place.

The Cert common attack paths of a human-operated ransomware incident based on examples CERT NZ has seen is represented in the below image.

Ransomware attacks use different techniques and technics to infect your system and establish persistently, move laterally, and encrypt your data. It’s hard to know how you are going be attacked. It’s also difficult to anticipate the scale of the attack. It may be a few VMs or a large chunk of the VM estate that gets attacked.

Another factor which is difficult to anticipate is the dwell time: how long the bad code will stay on your system before you notice it is there. In smaller IT organisation that don’t have a large security team or budget, it can be up to 43 days on average. On larger enterprise, as budget increases, and the security team presence increases, tooling gets better, and the average dwell time is around 14 to 17 days.

Why should I consider VMware Ransomware Recovery?

According to NIST, a robust ransomware protection plan must have both preventative as well as recovery measures. 

Preventative measures help prevent ransomware from getting into the environment in the first place, and if it does, to contain and eradicate it before it causes widespread damage. At VMware, we have products that address this such as Carbon Black and NSX with features like NSX Network Detection and Response NDR, NSX Distributed IDS/IPS, per application micro-segmentation or multi-hop Network Traffic Analysis.

But recovery measures are always required because preventative measures cannot make an organization fully immune to ransomware, and that is what we’re addressing here – the last two stages of ransomware recovery that serves as that critical last line of defense in case all preventative measures fail.  An important point to note here is that the security team is primarily responsible for the preventative measures, but the core responsibility for ransomware recovery falls on the infrastructure team.

The threat of ransomware to the global business environment has reached epidemic proportions. According to a recent Bitdefender report, ransomware attacks grew more than 700% year-on-year in 2020, and an Atlas VPN study (via AiThority) found that ransomware attacks now command an 81% share of all financially motivated cyberattacks. 

It’s getting vital for enterprise to have a solid Ransomware recovery in place as it’s the last line of defense.

What Makes VMware Ransomware Recovery Different?

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is already a great Ransomware Recovery platform with many capabilities as best practice to implement RWR.

True Air-Gapped, immutable recovery point filesystem

No access points, no NFS Mount, no FS to browse. Data goes into our native application and there are stored in immutable format because we never do an overwrite. In addition we use a log structured file system that is totally air gapped. No one can browse, no one can delete the data.

Instant Power on

It gives us something that no cloud backup vendor can do: any backup, at any point in time can be turn on instantly without any data rehydration and zero copy. Any snapshots can be turned on and registered in the recovery SDDC running in the Cloud in a matter of seconds. Which gives a great capability to iterate. We give also automation to power off, bring up and try the next one.

Deep snapshot history

With VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, it is possible to keep a wide variety and retention of recovery points to draw from. We have deep snapshot history from hours, days, even up to months and can recover all of these snap without any RTO penalty. This is clearly important when you want to make sure you can recover your data before the bad code lands on your system.

This is critical if simply rolling back in time to a recent clean recovery point is not possible.  It is possible to bring more recent, still accessible VM instances into inventory, set them aside, and then copy their data into a clean VM recovery instance from an earlier point in time – potentially even before any attack was present.

What new capabilities were added to address Ransomware Recovery?

One of the first customer challenge in Ransomware Recovery is identifying the right recovery point candidates. That can be a daunting task as there are going to be a lot of snapshots to look at. And it’s very difficult to know when your system was infected or encrypted.

The next step after deciding which restore point to pick is validating the restore point. How do I know if this restore point is good? Maybe it’s not encrypted, but how do I know the bad actor is still there? If I’ve created a restore point and the malicious code is still there. How do I know it’s a good one? Maybe it’s not encrypted but what if the bad actors are still on the machine or if I stood up a restore point that still have the malicious code.  

In addition, to avoid reinfection, VMs need to be evaluated in an isolated environment, which can be complex to setup and maintain.

In order to address those key challenges of the Ransomware recovery, we have added very powerful capabilities to VCDR that are truly differentiated from any other vendors!

A Dedicated Ransomware Recovery Workflow

When you are experiencing a ransomware and going into the process of recovering from it, above all, there is a task which can be very time consuming which is the creation of a workflow or a runbook at the moment you realize that you have been attacked. What we are offering to customer there, is the ability to be guided through the recovery process by providing a dedicated workflow. This is an important feature in a time saving perspective especially during that stressful time.

This workflow provides the ability to run a specific dedicated Recovery Plan for ransomware recovery that includes multiple tasks. When executing these tasks, the Virtual Machines are going to move into 3 stages: In validation, Staged, Restored.

During the first step, you are going to move the VM snapshots from “in backup” stage to the in validation stage. It means that you will start them into the Recovery SDDC environment to validate them.

Just after clicking the Validation button, VCDR will use the Live Mount feature to instantly power on the selected VM snapshots in a quarantine state (snapshots will be isolated from each others). Live Mount means the ability for hosts in VMware Cloud on AWS to boot VMs directly from snapshots stored securely in the Scale-out Cloud File System which is backed by Cloud Native storage.

After, if you opt-in for the integrated security scanning, it will automatically install a security sensor (Carbon Black agent) on Windows VMs (manually on Linux VMs) and immediately begin performing a behavior analysis on the running machines. Behavioral analysis will continue running for a recommend minimum of 8 hours.

During that stage, you will be able to monitor the security events and alerts generated by the scan, change the isolation level, restore files from other snapshots and review the snapshot timeline to analyze change rate and entropy level (see below for the explanation). This will help you decide if the snapshot can be approved for production or not.

If you consider the snapshot still present a risk to host a malicious code or that there are encrypted content, you can badge the snapshot to quickly identify the infected snapshots.

Snapshot badges include:

  • Not badged: no information on the security status
  • Verified: Snapshot is safe
  • Warning: some of the data of the snapshot might be compromised
  • Compromised: snapshot has some vulnerabilities and malware infection
  • Encrypted: data in the snapshot has been encrypted

At that stage you can consider the snapshot is compromised and restart a validation process again from a different snapshot.

If you decide the VM snapshot is not compromised, you can move it to the Staged stage. The system will then power off the validated VM and take a snapshot of it to prepare it to for recovery to the protected site. For Windows VM, the security sensor will be automatically removed. For Linux VM, you will have to uninstall it prior to the staging phase.

A Guided Restore Point Selection

This means whenever you have that sea of snapshot to select from where to begin, we offer you guidance on which snapshots potentially are encrypted. So that you don’t loose time to select those that are encrypted or compromised snapshots.

This will be possible over the snapshot timeline that appears when you first start VMs in validation stage and select from the Timeline tab and when you try a different snapshot during the validation process.

Let say there have been an encryption through a malware, the guided workflow will help you pull the VMs into a guided restore point selection where you will be able to check two different metrics: Change rate and Entropy Level.

Change rate

The number of bytes changed that we divide by the time difference between the current snapshot and the previous snapshot.

Entropy level

The entropy level is a metric measuring the level of consistency between files in the disks. This is based on the calculation opf the Entropy rate which corresponds to the following formula: 1/compression ration. The Entropy rate is a number between 0 and 1, and the closer it is to 1, the higher the likelihood the snapshot has been encrypted. Sudden jumps in entropy level is a clear indication of a possible encryption.

Both metrics are calculated and displayed in the Timeline tab when you select a VM for testing.

When VCDR detects higher change and entropy rate, it can indicate that a ransomware attack encrypting the data is ongoing or has happened. It is then recommended to pick the snapshot before the onset malware activity as it may content unencrypted data.

Behavioral Analysis of Powered-on VMs

Inspection of powered-on workloads in isolation with embedded Next-Gen AV (NGAV) and Behavior Analysis helps detect abnormal activities.

This is another great differentiator. Anytime you look at competitive offering and see how scanning of snapshots is realized. Hackers know exactly how scanning for a file signature can be easily avoided. They do avoid it. Whenever bad guys go after systems they use file less method: they work in memory, they elevate their privileges.

When you start a VM in ransomware recovery on the recovery SDDC, a next generation antivirus that is using ML/AI scans for known vulnerabilities and for malware signatures, and a deep behavior analysis begins of all running software and processes on the VM guest OS, looking for suspicious behavior.

The Vulnerability tab shows a list of all found vulnerabilities with their CVE number and a link to the vulnerability article in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database. 

Once the vulnerability scanning completes, you can remediate them by patching the VM directly from the IRE and execute a new scan once the remediation is completed.

The behavioral analysis is conducted in parallel and it analyzes VMs and their guest files for abnormal behaviors like processes that make outbound connections or malicious interference with the Windows registry.

The results of the malware scan and behavior analysis displayed in the Alerts tab and ranked according to severity, with a higher score being worse than a lower score.

If you opt-in for the integrated analysis that is powered by Carbon Black, you can also view VMS in the Carbon Black Cloud console for further analysis.

An Isolated Recovery Environment (IRE) & push-button VM Isolation levels

One other important differentiator is that you can provision an On-Demand Isolated Recovery Environment (IRE) – a quarantined or sandboxed environment – on VMware Cloud on AWS for testing and validating the recovery points.

VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC works very well as an isolated environment and it offers a great on-demand option to help save money. You have the choice to consume it on-demand or as a Pilot Light to have two nodes minimum waiting for the DR event to happen. The Pilot Light option is a better option when you are looking for the lowest RTO.

With VMware Cloud on AWS is a “safe” place to spin up VMs to prevent your production environment from seeing reinfection, it’s a true sandbox environment.

Having this dedicated, secure environment for validation and testing is critical for preventing reinfection of the production workloads, and we’re able to bring this up on-demand, as a fully VMware-managed environment.

Additionally, we have push-button VM network isolation levels that allows you to easily assign network isolation policies to VMs to prevent lateral movement of the malware within the Isolated Recovery Environment. This is possible through the use of NSX Advanced Firewall within VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. We offer user a push button method with 7 preconfigured isolation levels to take all the work out of the administrator.

Please note that VMs always start in isolation mode which means those VMs can only connect over the internet to the NGAV Tools (integrated security and vulnerability servers on Carbon Black Cloud) and to basic network services like DNS and NTP, all other north/south or east/west network traffic is limited through NSX Firewall rules. Changing the isolation is always possible by changing the network isolation rule.


66% of organizations woke up to a ransomware attack in the last year. In 65% of those organizations, attackers got past the security defenses and actually encrypted data for ransom. Ransomware attacks against corporate data centers and cloud infrastructure are growing in complexity and sophistication, and are challenging the readiness of data protection teams to recover from an attack.

In order to solve these key challenges, VMware offers a solution that addresses both the on-demand disaster recovery use case, as well as the next-gen ransomware recovery use case.

When it comes to the ransomware recovery use case, we have very powerful capabilities that are truly differentiated from anything that is out there today.

We offer a lot of capabilities to address the challenge:

  • Deep snapshot history from hours, days and months
  • Recovery from any snapshots without any RTO penalty
  • Air-gaped and Immutable by design system
  • Instant Power-On
  • File/folder Restore
  • Isolated Recovery Environment (IRE)
  • Restore point validation with Embedded Behavioral Analysis
  • Push-button VM Isolation levels

A proper ransomware recovery solution requires security, backup, networking, compute and storage to come together. VMware has uniquely taken all of these elements, as well as the best practices when it comes to recovering from ransomware attacks, and put them together into a cohesive and integrated solution that helps customers minimize data loss and accelerate recovery.

Using VMWare Cloud DR to protect VMs in an SDDC. (Part 3 – Plan and Test DR)

In the previous post I have showed you how to create Protection Groups for my VMs. It’s now time to create the DR strategy and run a Test Failover and real Failover.

Planning the DR strategy

The DR strategy is enforced through the concept of DR Plan where we are going to help plan the different parameters that sustains the strategy including defining the protected resources, the orchestration order of the recovery process, and several additional options when the failover executes like changing the IP adresses or executes scripts.

Create a DR Plan

A DR plan defines the orchestration configuration for implementing the disaster recovery Strategy.

The following operations are allowed under the DR plan section:

  • Configuring DR Plans – require defining where you want your protected data moved to when the plan runs.
  • Viewing DR Plans – shows the currently defined plans along with plan summary information: the current status, protected and recovery sites, and the last run compliance check results.
  • Activating DR Plans – can be in an active or deactivated state.

In order to create a DR Plan, I need to click on Create plan from the DR plans Menu.

The List of already created DR plans appears.

Just give it a name and choose between using an existing recovery SDDC (Pilot Light) or make the SDDC deployed when a DR occurs.

In the next step, I have to select the source SDDC that is going to be my Protected site in this scenario.

I chose the Protection group I defined earlier.

Next steps are to map the different resources (datastores, folders, resource pools, virtual networks…) from the Protected to Recovery site.

It’s very important to map differences between the sites for smooth recovery, ensuring that vSphere configurations and parameters are mapped consistently between sites.

For folder, I have mapped my Workloads folders on both sites.

I kept the same mapping for the Resource pools and picked Compute-ResourcePool as this is where workloads are running in a SDDC.

For the segments, I have mapped the source segment to a different subnet in the recovery SDDC.

Keep in mind that Test and failover mappings can be different by unselecting the Same for test and failover button. Maybe you want to use a different subnet for testing (for instance an isolated one).

If you do a test, it will then follow the mapping setup in the Test mapping tab.

Next thing is the IP address mapping rules that’s helping to change the range of IPs, subnet masks and DNS settings at failover time. It does that by interacting with the VMTools in the VM while it’s running.

You can change the IP/mask/DGW/DNS address on a range basis or an Individual IP addresses basis.

Next thing is the ability to execute a script of any language for both Windows and Linux machine types from a script host. The script can be executed at a specified time from this script VM. The script VM need to be running in the Recovery SDDC and available from the vCenter of the recovery SDDC . You will call the script from the VM with any parameters you want to be running during the failover sequence.

To finish, the Recovery Steps will specify the order in which you want your VMs to be recovered.

There are different  options under the Recovery Steps.

  1. Choose a step which can be executed for either whole protection groups or an individual VM under the protection group.
  2. Select the Power action for recovered VMs.
  3. Select Pre-recover or Post-recover actions from the drop-down menu which can be running scripts which were saved under step 4 above.

For exemple, I chose to recover one VM first (could be a DB for instance), add a delay of 30 seconds, recover the remaining VMs (could be the remaining App VMs) and ask for a validation.

Lastly after you build the plan you can configure alerting.

Please note that vCDR uses the AWS mail service to send alerts. Recipients must respond to an email address verification Request before getting email from vCDR.

I did receive that email:

The validation occurred after I clicked on the link above:

Now it’s time to test the Plan and execute a failover.

Validating compliance of a DR Plan

In order to make sure the failover going to work, vCDR is performing a couple of compliance check. Continuous compliance checks verify the integrity of a DR plan and ensure that any changes in the failover environment do not invalidate a DR Plan’s directives when running.

Once a DR Plan is completed, the ongoing compliance checks runs every half an hour. It’s checking all the steps in the DR plan including the mappings, the source and destination environment availability and it keeps tracks of the mappings.

As I have opted in for it, at the end of the compliance check, I have received a Report by email with all the results of the checks.

The report shows a folder mapping that wasn’t including the VMs in my Protection Group so I did add the root folder in the mapping.

I forced a new compliance check by clicking the right arrows button.

There were still an error related to the proxy agent VM that vCDR automatically deployed in the SDDC.

Indeed there is a Cloud PRXY DR VM that have been created on my recovery SDDC as you can see.

This proxy VM is attached to a newly deployed network.

The created network is dedicated to the cloud DR proxy VM and it has the following subnet:

Executing a Test

Every plan has the option to do a Test Failover or an actual Failover. The difference between a Failover and a Test is that a fail back will be required post a Failover where in a test you are just bringing a copy of your VM in the cloud and a fail back is not needed because you don’t want to overwrite the existing VMs on premise.

A failover means the production is down, so during a failover you actually take the VM to DR Site up and running. During a failover you will be ask which recovery point you want to pick.

A test failover runs in the context of its own test failover environment, specified by the DR plan’s test mapping rules. The results of the test failover do not permanently affect a target failover destination.

In order to test my plan, I just clicked on Test from the DR Plan menu.

The DR Test ask for which recovery Point within your catalog you want to pick.

You cab select any one of them in the entire protection Group. We can go back to any recovery point.

I have followed the wizard and first selected Ignore all errors.

With the Test, I had the option to run the VMs directly from the cloud backup which is the Cloud Filesytem sitting on top of S3 or to do a Full storage migration to the Recovery SDDC. The latest one means just after the VMs will be registered in the Cloud, they will be “storage vMotioned” from the SCFS into the vSAN Datastore of the SDDC. Obviously running the VM from the Cloud backup will not be as fast as all flash vSAN.

I kept Leave VMs and files in cloud backup for this test.

I confirmed that I wanted to kick off the test by writing TEST PLAN and clicked Run test.

After the test started, it has populated the VM in the Recovery SDDC.

So I have launched the Recovery SDDC vCenter from vCDR portal and could copy the credential as they are captured in it (very handy!).

I could see the my Two VMs in the Protection Group have been restored.

Once the test is over, you have to clean up the test by undoing the tasks, unregistering the VMs and revert back to initial state.

The clean up process is deleting the VMs from the SCFS as you can see.

The two VMs get unregistered from my vCenter.

Everything that have been done during my failover test is documented and is available through a pdf report where every steps is detailed.

I have generated it from the DR Plan Menu.

The Pdf report was autogenerated and downloaded in my local folder.

The report has multiple pages and is quite detailed as it includes the results of my test, the workflow steps, mappings and the time that it took per VM to come up, …

This is a great document to share with compliance people inside the organization.

That concludes my latest post of the year. Enjoy en of Year Celebration and see you next Year!

Using VMWare Cloud DR to protect VMs in an SDDC. (Part 2 – Protecting VMs)

In the first post of my series on Using vCDR to protect VMs in an existing SDDC, I have showed you how to configure an existing SDDC as a Protected Site.

Next thing to do is to start selecting the list of VMs running into the cloud that you want to protect with vCDR in a Recovery SDDC.

Protecting VMs running in the SDDC

It’s possible to protect VMs with vCDR by leveraging the concept of Protection group.

A Protection Group helps create a collection of VMs replicated to the cloud which can be then used as a group for recovery. You can create multiple groups of VMs through multiple Protection Groups.

Create a Protection group

Creating a Protection Group is very simple!

I have just clicked on the button Create protection group from my SDDC in the Protected sites menu.

I am then presented with a wizard to name the Protection Group, select my source SDDC vCenter and define Group membership.

In order to select the list of VMs, I have to create one vCenter query that defines the protection group’s dynamic membership.

A vCenter query is defined using:

  • VM Name pattern: a name pattern is a regex entry that supports wildcard and exclusion
  • VM Folder: a folder where my VMs run
  • VM Tags: vSphere Tags for quickly identifying the logical membership of VMs

The vCenter queries are evaluated each time a snapshot is taken and define the contents of the snapshot.

There is an option to use High-frequency snapshots. This option is really interesting as it brings RPO to as low as 30 minutes and allow for 48 snapshots a day.

There are a few caveats for enabling hfs such as vCenter and ESXi host version that must be updated to vSphere 7.0u2c+.

I was able to select it with the current version of my SDDC after launching a compatibility check.

I choose the following pattern for my VMs : *deb* in order to pick only my test Debian VMs.

I checked by clicking on the Preview VMs button.

It is important to mention that any additional VMs that are going to match that pattern will be automatically added to the group.

I can also do the same by selecting a VM folder.

Setting up a backup Policy

Once you have your VM selected, next step is to define a backup Policy with specific snapshot/replication schedule and retention time.

Snapshot schedule will define how frequently you want to take snapshots of the VMs defined in the group. You also define how long you want to retain those snapshots on the SCFS by selecting the right retention time.

I have been doing a lot of backup solution configuration in my past job as a EMC technical Consultant and I remember a few best practices that I wanted to share with you.

Forming a good Backup Strategy, you would implies

  1. Determine what data has to be backed up
  2. Determine how often data has to be backed up
  3. Test and Monitor your backup system

From the backup perspective and in order to fulfil common RPO needs, I have established the following schedule (it has to be adapted to workloads criticality):

  • 4 hours with 2 Days retention
  • Daily with 1 Week retention
  • Weekly with 4 Weeks retention
  • Monthly with 12 Months retention

The minimum replication (best RPO possible) is 30′ but here I didn’t choose this frequency. The more you replicate, the more you keep it in the cloud, the more capacity you would need on the cloud site for recovery perspective.

Important: Research indicates most victims of ransomware don’t discover that they have been compromised until an average of 3-6 months after the initial infection, so choose the retention period accordingly. 

Once you have defined your replication strategy and protection schedule for your group of Virtual Machines, the snapshots/replicas are going to start populated in the protection group.

I can click on any snapshots and see the VMs inside.

I have the option to restore any image of my VM back to on-premise. This an image level backup so this is going to overwrite the VM on-premise. So the VM has to be powered down before doing so.

Configuring a recovery SDDC

VCDR provides two deployment methods for recovery SDDC.

  • On-demand: also known as “just in time” deployment
  • Pilot Light: a small subset of SDDC hosts ready to take over the VMs in case of a DR for workload with lower RTO needs

For this post, I already have configured an SDDC in a different region and AZ for the purpose of recovering my test VMs.

As you can see there is a single host in it. It always possible to scale it up and add additional hosts in it. You can always create a single node SDDC for DR testing and then scale it up later.

You can also customize the recovery SDDC from here by adding new network segments, Compute Gateway FW rules, NAT rules or new Public IPs for instance.

To bring every thing together and finalize the DR Strategy, I need to create a DR Plan and test it.

I will cover that in the final post of my series.

Using VMWare Cloud DR to protect VMs in an SDDC. (Part 1 – Deploying vCDR)

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is currently the solution that has the most interest from my customers and partners. It’s a solution that offers the best way to deliver an on-demand easy-to-use cost effective DRaaS solution for workloads running on-premise.

A few months ago, it added the ability to protect cloud workloads running in VMware Cloud on AWS with inter-region DR failover (i.e. failover from one region to another region).

Very recently, the solution has now the ability to protect cloud workloads running in VMware Cloud on AWS with intra-region DR failover (i.e. failover into a different availability zone (AZ) within the same region).

Let’s see how we can leverage this to protect workloads.

Deploying vCDR in VMC on AWS

Accessing the vCDR dashboard

First of all I need to access the CSP Console and locate the VMWare Cloud DR tile under the My Service menu.

If I click on the tile here it brings me to VMware Cloud DR landing page.

As you can see it looks very similar to the CSP page. The development team have been doing a great job integrating vCDR in the Services portal.

Currently the dashboard is showing you the health capacity and especially the number of protected VMS, the number of Protection groups, as well as the replication direction of each of your protected sites and recovery SDDC.

In my current Demo environment, there are 3 protected on-premise sites and one recovery SDDC (CSLAB-M17).

Fan in architecture model is supported: 3 sites and 1 SDDC currently protected to CSLAB-M17

The cloud backup site where the Scalable Cloud Filesystem stands is CSA-VCDR-SCFS.

On the left, I can see the replication events and any recent alarms and alerts displayed.

Adding the SDDC as a new Protected site

In this lab, the Scalable Cloud File system has already been deployed. So we can directly jump into the deployment of the vCDR connector on my VMC on AWS SDDC by clicking the Set up a protected site link menu.

Here I choose VMware Cloud on AWS and Click Next.

The list of SDDCs in my organization are then displayed. I can see that only the SDDC that is in a different AZ from my SCFS can be used. So I picked the SDDC in US East North Virginia region.

Here I am presented with two choices: manually create the Gateway Firewall rules or leave vCDR automatically add the right rules. The DRaaS Connector is a VM that has to be deployed on a Compute segment in the SDDC. I decided to choose Automatic and pick the default segment of my SDDC. Obviously it’s up to you to choose another segment dedicated for it.

If you are not sure which option to select, see Network Considerations for a Protected SDDC for more information.

To finish the site creation I clicked Setup.

After a few seconds, the SDDC (JG-LAB-TEST) appears as a Protected Site.

Deploying the DRaaS Connector in the newly protected SDDC

Once the site is configured, the next step is to deploy the DRaaS connector which would enable the SaaS orchestrator communicate with the Protected SDDC vCenter. Refer to the Documentation for the VM CPU and network requirements

This process is quite straight forward. Just click on the Deploy button.

You will presented with a screen that explains every steps.

First of all you have to download the virtual appliance that will enable connectivity from the SDDC to the Cloud filesystem, second connect on the console to finish setting up the IP and to enter the Cloud orchestrator FQDN.

Make a note of the Console credentials, which you need to log in to the VM console: admin/vmware#1. Also copy (or write down) the Orchestrator Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN), which you need when you configure the connector in the VM console

A few things you need to know:

  • Do not name the DRaaS Connector VM using the same naming conventions you use to name VMs in your vSphere environment.
  • Avoid giving the DRaaS Connector VM a name that might match the VM name pattern you use when you define protection groups.
  • If you are deploying the DRaaS Connector to a VMware Cloud SDDC with more than one cluster, you must choose a cluster to deploy the connector VM on. Each cluster in your SDDC must have the connector VM deployed on it in order for the VMs running on the cluster to be added to protection groups and replicated to a cloud backup site.
  • Do not use non-ASCII characters for the connector name label.

After downloading the OVA by using the URL, I have uploaded the OVA to a Content Library in my SDDC. And started the deployment of the OVA.

I gave it a name.

The only Resource pool that I can choose is the Compute-ResourcePool.

The Storage datastore can only be WorkloadDatastore.

I have chosen the default compute segment (sddc-cgw-network-1).

I am then presented with the final page of the wizard and I click finish to launch the deployment.

After a few seconds, the Connector Virtual Machine appears in the inventory. I just started the VM to be able to continue the setup.

Finishing configuring the Cloud Connector in the SDDC

Second phase of the deployment is to setting up the networking.

Once the VM has started, I have had to open a console from vCenter in order to finish the configuration I have had to connect with credential presented is the latest window: admin/vmware#1.

I have typed ‘a’ to start Static IP allocation and entered a new IP address and subnet mask plus a DNS IP address (I picked the google one).

Next step is to enter the Cloud Orchestrator FQDN.

And to achieve the configuration the site specific pass-code…

and the site label (I kept the same name as the VM).

After a few seconds, I received a Success message to inform me that the setup was achieved.

To finish this phase, I have checked that the right firewall rules have been created in my SDDC.

With the newly added rule, the segment where the Cloud Connector runs has access to the Cloud Orchestrator in the cloud with SSH and HTTPS, to the SDDC vCenter, and to the Auto-support server in HTTPS. Finally it has also access to the scalable Cloud File System on the port TCP 1759.

That’s conclude the first part of this very long series of post on vCDR.

In my next post I am going to show you how to start protecting VMs in the Protected SDDC!