Before configuring replications, VMware recommends that determine storage and network bandwidth requirements for vSphere Replication to replicate virtual machines efficiently.

Storage and network bandwidth requirements can increase when using vSphere Replication. The following factors play a role in the amount of network bandwidth vSphere Replication requires for efficient replication.

Network Based Storage

Network bandwidth requirements increase if all storage is network-based because data operations between the host and the storage also use network. When you plan your deployment, be aware of the following levels of traffic:
  • Between the host running the replicated virtual machine and the vSphere Replication server.
  • Between the vSphere Replication server and a host with access to the replication target datastore.
  • Between the host and storage.
  • Between storage and the host during redo log snapshots.

Network based storage is a concern when you are replicating virtual machines within a single vCenter Server instance that shares the network for the levels of traffic listed. When you have two sites with a vCenter Server instance on each site, the link speed between the two sites is the most important as it can slow down replication traffic between the two sites.

Dataset Size

vSphere Replication might not replicate every virtual machine nor every VMDK file in the replicated virtual machines. To evaluate the dataset size that vSphere Replication replicates, calculate the percentage of the total storage used for virtual machines, then calculate the number of VMDKs within that subset that you have configured for replication.

For example, you might have 2TB of virtual machines on the datastores and usevSphere Replication to replicate half of these virtual machines. You might only replicate a subset of the VMDKs and assuming all the VMDKs are replicated, the maximum amount of data for replication is 1TB.

Data Change Rate and Recovery Point Objective

The data change rate is affected by the recovery point objective (RPO). To estimate the size of the data transfer for each replication, you must evaluate how many blocks change in a given RPO for a virtual machine. The data change rate within the RPO period provides the total number of blocks that vSphere Replication transfers. This number might vary throughout the day, which alters the traffic that vSphere Replication generates at different times.

vSphere Replication transfers blocks based on the RPO schedule. If you set an RPO of one hour, vSphere Replication transfers any block that has changed in that hour to meet that RPO. vSphere Replication only transfers the block once in its current state at the moment that vSphere Replication creates the bundle of blocks for transfer. vSphere Replication only registers that the block has changed within the RPO period, not how many times it changed. The average daily data change rate provides an estimation of how much data vSphere Replication transfers or how often the transfers occur.

If you use volume shadow copy service (VSS) to quiesce the virtual machine, replication traffic cannot be spread out in small sets of bundles throughout the RPO period. Instead, vSphere Replication transfers all the changed blocks as one set when the virtual machine is idle. Without VSS, vSphere Replication can transfer smaller bundles of changed blocks on an ongoing basis as the blocks change, spreading the traffic throughout the RPO period. The traffic changes if you use VSS and vSphere Replication handles the replication schedule differently, leading to varying traffic patterns.

If you change the RPO, vSphere Replication transfers more or less data per replication to meet the new RPO.

Link Speed

If you have to transfer an average replication bundle of 4GB in a one hour period, you must examine the link speed to determine if the RPO can be met. If you have a 10Mb link, under ideal conditions on a completely dedicated link with little overhead, 4GB takes about an hour to transfer. Meeting the RPO saturates a 10Mb WAN connection. The connection is saturated even under ideal conditions, with no overhead or limiting factors such as retransmits, shared traffic, or excessive bursts of data change rates.

You can assume that only about 70% of a link is available for traffic replication. This means that on a 10Mb link you obtain a link speed of about 3GB per hour. On a 100Mb link you obtain a speed of about 30GB per hour.

To calculate the bandwidth, see Calculate Bandwidth for vSphere Replication.