Test Failover

Failover testing is an essential component in disaster recovery planning. You can use the Disaster Recovery wizard to perform non-disruptive testing of your disaster recovery system. During a test failover operation, all the steps are the same as for failover. However, instead of starting after they are recovered to the DR site, the VMs and vApps are placed in a paused state. At the end of test failover, the wizard automatically removes all VMs, vApps, and storage recreated on the DR site.

After initial DR configuration, verify that failover works correctly by performing a test failover. We recommend you also do a test failover after you make significant configuration changes in a DR-enabled pool.

To perform a test failover of VMs and vApps to a secondary site:

  1. In XenCenter, select the secondary pool, and on the Pool menu, click Disaster Recovery to open the Disaster Recovery wizard.

  2. Select Test Failover and then click Next.


    If you use Fibre Channel shared storage with LUN mirroring to replicate the data to the secondary site, break mirroring before you attempt to recover data. This action gives the secondary site Read/Write access.

  3. Select the storage repositories (SRs) containing the pool metadata for the VMs and vApps that you want to recover. By default, the list on this wizard page shows all SRs that are currently attached within the pool. To scan for more SRs, choose Find Storage Repositories and then select the storage type to scan for:

    • To scan for all the available Hardware HBA SRs, select Find Hardware HBA SRs.
    • To scan for software iSCSI SRs, select Find Software iSCSI SRs and then enter the target host, IQN, and LUN details in the dialog box.

    When you have selected the required SRs in the wizard, click Next to continue.

  4. Select the VMs and vApps that you want to recover.

  5. Click Next to progress to the next wizard page and begin failover prechecks.

    Before beginning the test failover process, the wizard performs pre-checks. For example, the checks ensure all the storage required by the selected VMs and vApps is available.

    1. Check that storage is available. If any storage is missing, you can click Attach SR on this page to find and attach the relevant SR.
    2. Check that HA is not enabled on the target DR pool. To avoid having the same VMs running on both the primary and DR pools, disable high availability on the secondary pool. This action ensures that high availability does not automatically start the recovered VMs and vApps after recovery. To disable high availability on the secondary pool, click Disable HA on this page. (If the wizard disables high availability at this point, it is enabled again automatically at the end of the test failover process.)
  6. Resolve any issues on the pre-checks page, and then click Failover to begin the test failover.

    A progress page is displayed showing whether recovery was successful for each VM and vApp. Failover can take some time depending on the number of VMs and vApps you are recovering. The following actions occur during this process:

    • Metadata for the VMs and vApps is recovered from the replicated storage
    • VMs and vApps are re-created in the DR pool
    • SRs containing the virtual disks are attached to the re-created VMs
    • The recovered VMs are placed in a paused state. The VMs are not started on the secondary site during a test failover.
  7. After you are satisfied that the test failover was performed successfully, click Next in the wizard to have the wizard clean up on the DR site:

    • VMs and vApps that were recovered during the test failover are removed.
    • Storage that was recovered during the test failover is detached.
    • If the wizard disabled high availability on the DR pool at the prechecks stage to allow the test failover to take place, it is enabled again.

    The progress of the cleanup process is displayed in the wizard.

  8. Click Finish to close the wizard.

Test Failover

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