When you create array-based protection groups and vSphere Replication protection groups, Site Recovery Manager creates placeholder virtual machines on the recovery site. When you run a recovery plan that contains these protection groups, Site Recovery Manager replaces the placeholders with real virtual machines.
Site Recovery Manager does not create placeholder virtual machines for storage policy protection groups. This example applies to array-based protection groups and to vSphere Replication protection groups. It does not apply to storage policy protection groups. For information about how Site Recovery Manager recovers virtual machines when you use storage policy protection groups, see About Storage Policy Protection Groups.
This example illustrates the process by which Site Recovery Manager replaces placeholder virtual machines on the recovery site with real virtual machines when you run recovery plans that contain array-based protection groups and vSphere Replication protection groups.
Virtual machines replicate to the recovery site independently of Site Recovery Manager, according to the type of replication that you use.
For datastore-based replication, the storage array replicates datastores that contain virtual machine files as raw storage in the target storage array.
vSphere Replication replicates individual virtual machines by making copies of the virtual machines in the datastore that you configure as the vSphere Replication target. These virtual machine copies are not powered on.
You designate a datastore on the recovery site for Site Recovery Manager to use to store placeholder virtual machine files.
When you configure Site Recovery Manager protection on a virtual machine by adding a datastore group or an individual virtual machine to a protection group, Site Recovery Manager creates a placeholder for that virtual machine in the placeholder datastore on the recovery site.
When you run a recovery plan, Site Recovery Manager shuts down the virtual machines on the protected site, and activates the virtual machines on the recovery site according to the type of replication that you use.
For datastore-based replication, Site Recovery Manager surfaces the raw storage on the recovery site that contains the replicated virtual machines as a vCenter Server datastore. Site Recovery Manager registers the recovered datastore with the ESXi host or cluster with which the placeholder datastore is registered.
vSphere Replication powers on the copies of the virtual machines on the recovery site.
Site Recovery Manager sends a request to vCenter Server to swap the identity of the placeholder virtual machines for the replicated virtual machines that have surfaced on the recovery site.