Replication

What is Replication?

Replication uses one of your snapshot schedules to automatically copy snapshots to a destination volume in a remote data center. The copies can be recovered in the remote site in the event of corrupted data or a catastrophic event.

Replicas let you

  • Recover from site failures and other disasters quickly by failing over to the destination volume
  • Failover to a specific point in time in the DR copy

Before you can replicate, you must create a snapshot schedule. When you failover, you’re “flipping the switch” from your storage volume in your primary data center to the destination volume in your remote data center. For example, your primary data center is London and your secondary data center is Amsterdam. In the case of a failure event, you’d fail over to Amsterdam – connecting to the now-primary volume from a compute instance in Amsterdam. After your volume in London has been repaired, a snapshot is taken of the Amsterdam volume in order to fall back to London and the once-again primary volume from a compute instance in London.

 

How do I…(Note: Unless otherwise noted, the steps are the same for both Block and File Storage.)

Determine the remote data center for my replicated storage volume?

SoftLayer's worldwide data centers have been paired into primary and remote combinations.
See Table 1 for a complete list of data center availability and replication targets.
Note that some cities, such as Dallas, San Jose, Washington, D.C., and Amsterdam have multiple data centers.

*All data centers in this region have encrypted storage.

Table 1
US 1 US 2* Latin/South America Canada Europe Asian Pacific Australias

DAL01
DAL05
DAL06
HOU02
SJC01
WDC01

SJC03
WDC04
DAL09
DAL10
DAL12

MEX01
SAO01
TOR01
MON01
AMS01
AMS03
FRA02
LON02
MIL01
PAR01
OSL01
HKG02
TOK02
SEO01
SNG01
CHE01

SYD01
MEL01

 

*All data centers in this region have encrypted storage.

Create an initial replication?

Replications work off of a snapshot schedule. You must first have snapshot space and a snapshot schedule set up for the source volume before you can replicate. You’ll receive prompts letting you know space needs to be purchased or a schedule set up if you try to set up replication and one or the other is not in place. Replications are managed under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage from the customer portal.

  1. Click on your storage volume.
  2. Click on the Replica tab and click the Purchase a replication link.
  3. Select an existing snapshot schedule that you want your replications to follow. The list will contain all of your active snapshot schedules. Note: You can only select one schedule even if you have a mix of hourly, daily, and weekly.  All snapshots captured since the previous replication cycle will be replicated regardless of the schedule that originated.
  4. Click the Location drop-down arrow and select the data center that will be your DR site.
  5. Click the Continue button.
  6. Enter in a Promo Code if you have one and click the Recalculate button. The other fields in the dialog box will default.
  7. Click the I have read the Master Service Agreement… check box and click the Place Order button.

 

Edit an existing replication?

You can edit your replication schedule and change your replication space from either the Primary or Replica tab under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage from the customer portal.

 

Edit a replication schedule

You are actually changing a snapshot schedule because your replication schedule is based on an existing snapshot schedule. To change the replica schedule, e.g., from Hourly to Weekly, you must cancel the replication schedule and set up a new one.

Changing the schedule can be done on the Primary or Replica tab.

  1. Click on the Actions drop-down menu from either the Primary or Replica tab.
  2. Select Edit Snapshot Schedule.
  3. Look in the Snapshot frame under Schedule to determine which schedule you’re using for replication. Make the changes to the schedule that is being used for replication; e.g., if your replication schedule is Daily, you can change the time of day replication is to take place.
  4. Click the Save button.

 

Change replication space

You primary snapshot space and your replica space must be the same. If you change the space on the Primary or Replica tab, it will automatically add space to both your source and destination data centers. Be aware that increasing snapshot space will trigger an immediate replication update.

  1. Click on the Actions drop-down menu from either the Primary or Replica tab.
  2. Select Add More Snapshot Space.
  3. Select the storage size from the list and click Continue.
  4. Enter in a Promo Code if you have one and click the Recalculate button. The other fields in the dialog box will default.
  5. Click the I have read the Master Service Agreement… check box and click the Place Order button.

 

See my replica volumes in the volume list?

You can view your replication volumes from either the Block Storage or File Storage page under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage. The LUN Name will have the primary volume’s name followed by REP. The Type is Endurance(Performance) – Replica, the Target Address is N/A because the replica volume is not mounted at the replica data center, and the Status is Inactive.

 

View a replicated volume's details at the replica data center?

You can view the replica volume details on the Replica tab under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage. Another option is to select the replica volume from the Block Storage or File Storage page and click on the Replica tab.

 

Specify host authorizations prior to failing over to the secondary data center?

Authorized hosts and volumes must be in the same data center. You can’t have a replica volume in London and the host in Amsterdam; both have to be London or both have to be Amsterdam.

  1. Click on your source or destination volume from either the Block Storage or File Storage page.
  2. Click on the Replica tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Authorize Hosts frame and click on the Authorize Hosts link on the right side of the screen.
  4. Highlight the host that is to be authorized for replications. To select multiple hosts, use the CTRL-key and click on the applicable hosts.
  5. Click the Submit button. If you have no hosts, the dialog box will offer you the option of purchasing compute resources in the same data center or you can click the Close button.

 

Increase my snapshot space in my replica data center when I increase space in my primary data center?

Your volume sizes must be the same for your primary and replica storage volumes; one cannot be larger than the other. When you increase your snapshot space for your primary volume, the replica space is automatically increased. Be aware that increasing snapshot space will trigger an immediate replication update. The increase to both volumes will show as line items on your invoice and will be prorated as necessary.

 

Click here for how to increase your snapshot space.

 

Initiate a failover from a volume to its replica?

In the case of a failure event, the Failover action lets you initiate a failover to your destination, or target, volume. The target volume will become active, the last successfully replicated snapshot is activated, and the volume is made active for mounting. Any data written to the source volume since the previous replication cycle will be destroyed. Be aware that once a failover is initiated, the replication relationship flipped. Your target volume is now your source volume, and your former source volume becomes your target as indicated by the LUN Name followed by REP.

Failovers are initiated under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage from the customer portal.

Before proceeding with this process, it is recommended to disconnect the volume. Failure to do so, will end with corruption and/or data loss.

  1. Click on your active LUN (“source”).
  2. Click on the Replica tab and click the Actions link in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Failover.

You will receive a message across the top of the page stating the failover is in progress. Additionally, an icon will appear next to your volume on the Block Storage or File Storage indicating that an active transaction is occurring. Hovering over the icon produces a dialog indicating the transaction. The icon will disappear once the transaction is complete. During the failover process, configuration-related actions are read only; you cannot edit any snapshot schedule, change snapshot space, and so on. The event is logged in replication history.

Another message will let you know when your target volume is live. Your original source volume’s LUN Name will be followed by REP and its Status will be Inactive

  1. Click the View All (Block or File) Storage link in the top right corner.
  2. Click on your active LUN (formerly your target volume). This volume will now have an Active status.
  1. Mount and attach your storage volume to the host. Click here for instructions.

 

Initiate a fallback from a volume to its replica?

Once your original source volume has been repaired, the Fallback action lets you initiate a controlled fallback to your original source volume. In a controlled fallback,

  • The acting source volume is taken offline;
  • A snapshot taken;
  • The replication cycle completed;
  • The just-taken data snapshot activated;
  • And, the source volume made active for mounting.

Be aware that once a fallback is initiated, the replication relationship is once again flipped. Your source volume is restored as your source volume, and your target volume once again is the target volume as indicated by the LUN Name followed by REP.

Fallbacks are initiated under Storage, Block Storage or File Storage from the customer portal.

  1. Click on your active Endurance LUN (“target”).
  2. Click on the Replica tab and click the Actions link in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Fallback.

You will receive a message across the top of the page stating the failover is in progress. Additionally, an icon will appear next to your volume on the Block Storage or File Storage indicating that an active transaction is occurring. Hovering over the icon produces a dialog indicating the transaction. The icon will disappear once the transaction is complete. During the fallback process, configuration-related actions are read only; you cannot edit any snapshot schedule, change snapshot space, and so on. The event is logged in replication history.

Another message will let you know when your source volume is live. Your target volume will now have an Inactive status.

  1. Click the View All (Block or File) Storage link in the top right corner.
  2. Click on your active Endurance LUN (source). This volume will now have an Active status.
  3. Mount and attach your storage volume to the host. Click here for instructions.

 

See my replication history?

Replication history is viewed on the Audit Log via the Account tab under Manage . Both the primary and replica volumes will display identical replication history, which includes

  • Type for replication (failover or fallback)
  • When it was initiated,
  • Snapshot used for the replication
  • Size of the replication
  • When it completed

 

Cancel an existing replication?

Cancelation can be performed either immediately or on the anniversary date, which causes billing to terminate. Replication can be canceled from either the Primary or Replica tabs.

  1. Click on the volume from the Block Storage or File Storage page.
  2. Click on the Actions drop-down on either the Primary or Replica tab.
  3. Select Cancel Replica.
  4. Select when to cancel – Immediately or Anniversary Date and click Continue.
  5. Click the I acknowledge that due to cancellation, data loss may occur checkbox and click Cancel Replica.

 

Cancel replication when the primary volume is cancelled?

When a primary volume is canceled, the replication schedule and the volume in the replica data center are deleted. Replicas are canceled from the Block Storage or File Storage pages.

  1. Highlight your volume on the Block Storage or File Storage page.
  2. Click the Actions drop-down menu and select Cancel Block Storage or Cancel for file storage.
  3. Select when to cancel the volume – Immediately or Anniversary Date and click Continue.
  4. Click the I acknowledge that due to cancellation, data loss may occur checkbox and click Cancel.