vSphere Replication can protect individual virtual machines and their virtual disks by replicating them to another location.

When you configure replication, you set a recovery point objective (RPO) to determine the period of time between replications. For example, an RPO of 1 hour seeks to ensure that a virtual machine loses no more than 1 hour of data during the recovery. For smaller RPOs, less data is lost in a recovery, but more network bandwidth is consumed keeping the replica up to date.

Every time that a virtual machine reaches its RPO target, vSphere Replication records approximately 3800 bytes of data in the vCenter Server events database. If you set a low RPO period, this can quickly create a large volume of data in the database. To avoid creating large volumes of data in the vCenter Server events database, limit the number of days that vCenter Server retains event data. See Configure Database Retention Policy in the vCenter Server and Host Management Guide. Alternatively, set a higher RPO value.

Note: You cannot use the Site Recovery Manager interface to configure replication that uses point in time (PIT) snapshots. To enable PIT snapshots, configure replication of a virtual machine by using the vSphere Web Client. See Configure Replication for a Single Virtual Machine in vSphere Replication Administration.

To recover a virtual machine from an older PIT snapshot, you must manually revert the virtual machine to that snapshot after the recovery. See Recover a Point-in-Time Snapshot of a Virtual Machine.

vSphere Replication guarantees crash consistency amongst all the disks that belong to a virtual machine. If you use VSS quiescing, you might obtain a higher level of consistency. The available quiescing types are determined by the virtual machine's operating system. See Compatibility Matrixes for vSphere Replication 5.5 for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) quiescing support for Windows virtual machines.

You can use vSphere Replication with a Virtual SAN datastore on the source and target sites. However, you must use the vSphere Web Client to configure vSphere Replication when replicating to Virtual SAN storage. The Site Recovery Manager client does not allow you to select Virtual SAN storage when you select the target datastore.

Note: VMware Virtual SAN is a fully supported feature of vSphere 5.5u1.
  • You can use Virtual SAN in production environments with vSphere Replication 5.5.1 and vSphere 5.5u1.
  • Virtual SAN is an experimental feature in vSphere 5.5. You can perform testing with Virtual SAN with vSphere Replication 5.5.0 and vSphere 5.5, but it is not supported for use in production environments. See the release notes for the vSphere Replication 5.5.0 release for information about how to enable Virtual SAN in vSphere 5.5.


Verify that you have deployed and connected vSphere Replication appliances and Site Recovery Manager Server instances at each site.


  1. On the vSphere Client Home page, click VMs and Templates.
  2. Browse the inventory to find the single virtual machine to replicate using vSphere Replication.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine and select vSphere Replication.
  4. Use the RPO slider or enter a value to configure the maximum amount of data that can be lost in the case of a site failure.
    The available RPO range is from 15 minutes to 24 hours.
  5. Select a Guest OS Quiescing configuration, if applicable to the source virtual machine operating system.
  6. If no target file location is specified or to override the default determined by the datastore mappings, click Browse to select a target location for the virtual machine.
    Option Description
    Place virtual machine in a datastore directly Select a datastore and click OK.
    Place virtual machine in a specific folder in a datastore Select Specify datastore folder, click Browse to locate the folder, then double-click the desired folder.
  7. Select a replication destination for each media device for the virtual machine.
    The next pages are created dynamically depending on the media devices installed on the virtual machine. They might include multiple virtual drives, all of which you can configure individually. Configurable settings include whether the virtual drive is replicated, the virtual drive's replication destination, and information about how the replicated virtual drive is configured. If the disk is to be replicated, select a replication destination for the disk before proceeding.
  8. Accept the automatic assignment of a vSphere Replication server or select a particular server on the target site.
  9. Review the settings and click Finish to establish replication.
    vSphere Replication starts an initial full synchronization of the virtual machine files to the designated datastore on the target site.
  10. (Optional) Select the vSphere Replication view in the Site Recovery Manager interface.
  11. (Optional) Select the remote vSphere Replication site and click the Virtual Machines tab.
    You can monitor the progress of the initial full synchronization of the virtual machine files to the target site.