VMware vSphere Replication is an extension to VMware vCenter Server that provides a hypervisor-based virtual machine replication and recovery.

vSphere Replication is an alternative to storage-based replication. It protects virtual machines from partial or complete site failures by replicating the virtual machines between the following sites:

  • From a source site to a target site
  • Within a single site from one cluster to another
  • From multiple source sites to a shared remote target site

vSphere Replication provides several benefits as compared to storage-based replication.

  • Data protection at a lower cost per virtual machine.
  • A replication solution that allows flexibility in the storage vendor selection at the source and target sites.
  • Lower overall cost per replication.

You can use vSphere Replication with the vCenter Server Appliance or with a standard vCenter Server installation. You can have a vCenter Server Appliance on one site and a standard vCenter Server installation on the other.

vSphere Replication is compatible with N-1 version of vSphere Replication on the paired site. For example, if the current version of vSphere Replication is 8.3, the supported versions for the paired site is 8.2 and later.

With vSphere Replication, you can replicate virtual machines from a source data center to a target site quickly and efficiently.

You can deploy additional vSphere Replication servers to meet your load balancing needs.

After you set up the replication infrastructure, you can choose the virtual machines to be replicated at a different recovery point objective (RPO). You can enable the multi-point-in-time retention policy to store more than one instance of the replicated virtual machine. After recovery, the retained instances are available as snapshots of the recovered virtual machine.

You can use VMware vSAN datastores as target datastores and choose destination storage profiles for the replica virtual machine and its disks when configuring replications.
Note: vSAN is a fully supported feature of vSphere 5.5 Update 1 and later.

You can configure all vSphere Replication features in the Site Recovery user interface like managing sites, registering additional replication servers monitoring and managing replications.