VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) with VMware Cloud on AWS

In a recent analyst survey, 76 percent of respondents reported an incident during the past two years that required an IT disaster recovery (DR) plan, while more than 50 percent reported at least two incidents.1 At the same time, cyberattacks are on the rise, increasing business risk. In 2019, 52 percent of global enterprise network security decision-makers had experienced at least one sensitive data breach in the past 12 months.2 It is not surprising that CxOs and board members increasingly care about DR.

Although many organisations realise the importance of implementing a robust DR solution for reasons such as business continuity, compliance with industry regulations, protection against disasters, ransomware and security breaches, traditional DR solutions can be complex, expensive, and not scale or provide the required levels of protection.


With VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, VMware users have a true DR option that works automatically and on demand, regardless of the complexity of their environment

Founder and Senior Analyst

The VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery solution

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery™ offers on-demand disaster recovery to IT administrators who are responsible for IT infrastructure and services resiliency, and face DR being complex, expensive and unreliable. It also helps security and compliance teams ensure operations can resume after a disaster event. Delivered as an easy- to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution with cloud economics, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery combines cost-efficient cloud storage with simple SaaS-based management for IT resiliency at scale. Customers benefit from consistent, familiar VMware operations across production and DR sites, a pay-when-you-need-failover capacity model for DR resources, and instant power-on capabilities for fast recovery after disaster events.

On Demand

  • Instant power-on (live mount)
  • Pilot light option
  • No VM format conversions
  • Rapid ransomware recovery

Easy to Use

  • Consistent, familiar operations
  • SaaS-based management
  • Continuous DR health checks
  • Automated built-in audit reports 

Cloud Economics

  • Pay when capacity is needed
  • Efficient cloud storage
  • Simplified pricing model
  • Optimised failbacks

Key use case

Ransomware Recovery

A big challenge with ransomware recovery is determining which backup copy is clean and should be failed over. With instant power-on of virtual machines (VMs), administrators can rapidly inspect dozens of recovery points in a short period of time because there is no need to copy data or rehydrate VMs before they can be powered on. This capability is enabled via a live NFS datastore mounted by the VMware ESX® hosts in the VMware Cloud™ on AWS software-defined data centre (SDDC) cluster.

On demand

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery delivers fast recovery with zero copy and no rehydration of data from cloud storage to VMware Cloud on AWS hosts required. For achieving production-level performance, workloads can be promoted (i.e., rehydrated) to VMware Cloud on AWS hosts after initial power-on of failover VMs. Using optional pilot light clusters makes the recovery time even faster. VMs are maintained in their native VMware vSphere® format, eliminating the need for brittle and time-consuming VM disk format conversions. Instant power-on of VMs is very powerful for rapid identification of the best recovery point when recovering from a ransomware attack.

Customer scenarios

  • Establish new DR for on-premises apps (no DR solution today)
  • Replace existing DR site/solution for on-premises apps
  • Complement existing DR site/solution for on-premises apps

Easy to use

During transient events, such as DR testing or failover, customers don’t need to learn new operational processes and tools of cloud infrastructure. They can manage both the cloud DR site and production sites with VMware vCenter® and retain access to familiar vSphere constructs—such as clusters, resource pools, datastores, virtual switches and port groups—following a failover. The SaaS-based management console simplifies DR maintenance operations, eliminating the customer burden of lifecycle managing the DR software, and scales up to 1,500 VMs across multiple SDDC clusters. DR health checks occur every 30 minutes, increasing the confidence that the DR plan will work when needed. Audit-ready, built-in, automated audit reports help meet a company’s internal policies and regulatory compliance requirements. A sophisticated DR workflow engine allows users to create customised and flexible recovery plans for hundreds to thousands of workloads. The scale-out cloud file system checks the data integrity every day to confirm the backup data is ready and usable when needed.

Cloud economics

Leveraging the elasticity of cloud computing, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery spins up VMware Cloud on AWS infrastructure only during a DR testing or failover event. It utilises a highly efficient cloud storage layer for storing backups, lowering DR costs. With a simplified pricing model, customers do not need to figure out all the underlying detailed infrastructure costs (such as compute, networking and storage charges), they just need to determine how many VMs and how much total data to protect.4 Failbacks result in minimal AWS egress charges because only data deltas/changes are transferred.

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VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is an easy-to-use, on-demand disaster recovery (DR) solution, delivered as SaaS, with cloud economics.

VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is a Disaster Recovery as-a-service (DRaaS) solution that can be used to cost-effectively protect a broad set of your virtualised applications, with fast recovery capabilities. VMware Site Recovery is also a DRaaS solution that can be used to protect mission-critical applications that have a very low RPO and RTO. VMware Site Recovery Manager is an enterprise software solution, deployed and managed by you in your data centre to facilitate DR protection to a secondary DR data centre that you manage yourself.

There are three key ways in which VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery is cost-effective. First, you no longer need to own and continuously maintain a secondary DR site. Second, you can utilise an efficient cloud storage layer provided by the service to store your backups during the steady state and only consume failover compute and primary storage capacity when a disaster event occurs. Finally, this service provides an operationally consistent and familiar vSphere experience across the production and DR sites, so your IT staff doesn’t need to learn new tools.

You do not need to enable VMware Site Recovery to use VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery.

You do not need to deploy Site Recovery Manager (SRM) or vSphere Replication (VR) on your on-prem protected site to use VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery.

You need to deploy one or more DRaaS Connector virtual machines on your source site vSphere environment to connect to the VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery components. DRaaS Connector is available as an easy-to-deploy OVA. You do not need to deploy any other appliance or hardware to connect to the VMware Cloud DR components in the cloud.

The AWS account will be owned and managed by VMware, so you cannot bring your own AWS account.

Yes, the pilot light SDDC can be used for any purpose as it is a standard VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC in all respects.

Yes, you can leverage an existing VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC deployed from VMware Cloud console for recovery. Clusters and hosts added from VMware Cloud console to this SDDC are automatically recognised by VMware Cloud DR.

DR health checks are automatically run every 30 minutes to increase your confidence that your DR plan will work when you need it.

The bandwidth required for replication would depend on the number, size, change rate, and RPO of the VMs that you are protecting. Upon recovery, you only need as much bandwidth to the cloud as is needed to communicate with your live workloads from your other sites and user endpoints.

Yes, VMware Cloud DR supports an efficient, delta-based orchestrated failback back of the recovered VMs to your protected site when it becomes available again. When you are ready, you can use the VMware Cloud DR management console to initiate failback. The changed data is compressed, encrypted, and automatically sent back to the original protected site

Unlike many other cloud-based data protection solutions, VMware Cloud DR keeps your protected VMs in their native vSphere VM format which eliminates the need for brittle VM conversions that slow down recovery and make failback error-prone.

  1. Gartner, “Survey Analysis: IT Disaster Recovery Trends and Benchmarks.” Jerry Rozeman, Ron Blair. April 30, 2020.
  2. “Top Cybersecurity Threats In 2020.” Josh Zelonis, Sandy Carielli, Joseph Blankenship, Elsa Pikulik, Benjamin Corey, Madison Bakalar. January 24, 2020.
  3. 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “With costly outages on the rise, disaster recovery is still a top ” Henry Baltazar. August 17, 2020.
  4. VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC capacity for testing and failover is paid for
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