Azure Site Recovery InMage Scout with VMware Series – Overview & Introduction

Last year Microsoft acquired the company InMage with its product InMage Scout. InMage Scout provides disaster recovery capabilities for a VMware on-premises to VMware on-premises scenario. Last month Microsoft has announced a VMware on-premsies to Microsoft Azure scenario which is still in preview.

-> http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2014/07/16/azure-site-recovery-now-offers-disaster-recovery-for-any-physical-or-virtualized-it-environment-with-inmage-scout-2/
-> http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2015/03/26/announcing-the-preview-of-disaster-recovery-for-vmwarephysical-servers-to-microsoft-azure-with-asr/

In the blog post series about InMage Scout I will only focus on the VMware on-premises to VMware on-premises scenario. A series about the VMware on-premises to Microsoft Azure scenario will follow afterwards.

Let us start with an overview of the InMage Scout architecture.

Overview

As you can see it in the screenshot we have four key components for an InMage Scout installation. First of all the Configuration Server, the Process Server, the Master Target and the Unified Agent. Why I did not mentioned the vContinuum server? Well it is easy to explain. The vContinuum server is not a key component of InMage Scout because you can do all the stuff that vContinuum does through the management website of InMage Scout. The management website resides on the Configuration Server. The vContinuum server is an optional component but I recommend to install it due to the easier management capabilities vContinuum will provide. Now let us take a deeper look into the single components of the InMage Scout solution.

Configuration Server:

The Configuration Server is the central component of every InMage Scout installation and it is the first component you have to install. You use the Configuration Server for management, configuration and monitoring of the whole InMage Scout installation either through the management website or the vContinuum console. As a best practice you should install the Configuration Server at your secondary site. You can have only one Configuration Server in your InMage Scout Installation. The Configuration Server also includes the Push Install service for the remote deployment of the Unified Agent.

Process Server:

The Process Server is used for caching, compression and encryption of the data of the Protected VM before the data is send to the secondary site. Typically the Process Server is the second component you have to install and it is placed at your primary site. You can have more than one Process Server at your primary site either for load balancing or for fault tolerance. The Process Server also includes the Push Install service for the remote deployment of the Unified Agent.

Master Target:

The Master Target is used as repository and for retention. The Process Server sends its data of the Protected VM to the Master Target. In the next step the Master Target creates the Replica VM in the secondary site and holds the different retention points of different Protected VMs. You need more than one Master Target at your secondary site depending on the number of the VMs you want to protect.

Some other side notes. You need different Master Targets for Windows and Linux workloads. In the case of a failover to the secondary site and you want to do a failback to the primary site again you need several Master Targets at your primary site.

Unified Agent:

The Unified Agent is installed on VMs that you want to protect and on VMs which operate as a Master Target. It acts as the communication provider between the different components in an InMage Scout installation.

vContinuum:

The vContinuum server is used for management, configuration and monitoring of V2V and P2V protections. Compared to the management website of the Configuration Server the vContinuum console provides you with an easier and better interface. You can use both management options at once. As a best practice you should install the vContinuum server in your secondary site or in other words where you have installed the Configuration Server. The vContinuum server also has the Unified Agent installed and can act as a Master Target. In an InMage Scout installation the vContinuum server is your first Windows Master Target.

Azure Site Recovery vault:

Before you can configure and use your InMage Scout installation you have to create an Azure Site Recovery vault. Then you download the vault registration key and register the Configuration Server with the Site Recovery vault. I will provide more details on that in the next post.

I hope you got a little insight in an InMage Scout installation. In the next posts of this blog series I will dive deeper into the different components and their configuration.

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