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

Before you begin

Verify that you have deployed a vSphere Replication appliance at both sites.

About this task

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.

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 configure virtual machines to replicate to a Virtual SAN datastore on the target site. See Using vSphere Replication with Virtual SAN Storage for the limitations when using vSphere Replication with Virtual SAN.


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.


  1. On the vSphere Web 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 All vSphere Replication Actions > Configure replication.
  4. Select the target site.
    • If you have already connected the source and target sites, select the target site from the list.

    • If you have not connected the source and target sites, and the target site is local, select the target site from the list.

    • If you have not connected the source and target sites, and the target site is remote, click Add Remote Site and enter the IP or name, and credentials to connect to the site.

  5. Accept the automatic assignment of a vSphere Replication server or select a particular server on the target site.
  6. Select the target location datastore. Optionally, you can select the virtual machine storage policy.
  7. If you select Advanced disk configuration, you can configure the virtual machine's individual disks one at a time.

    For each disk you can select its virtual format, storage policy, and specify a datastore where it is replicated. Disable replication of the disk by deselecting Enable disk replication.

  8. Select a Guest OS Quiescing configuration, if applicable to the source virtual machine operating system.
  9. 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. Optionally, enable point in time instances and specify instance retention policy.

    The available RPO range is from 15 minutes to 24 hours.

  10. 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.