Highly available key management in IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions

IBM Cloud’s KMIP for VMware offering provides the foundation for cloud-based key management when using VMware vSphere encryption or vSAN encryption. KMIP for VMware is highly available within a single region:

  • KMIP for VMware and Key Protect are highly available when you configure vCenter connections to both regional endpoints. If any one of the three zones in that region fail entirely, key management continues to be available to your VMware workloads.
  • KMIP for VMware and Hyper Protect Crypto Services (HPCS) are highly available if you deploy two or more crypto units for your HPCS instance. If you do so and any one of the three zones in that region fail entirely, key management continues to be available to your VMware workloads.

If you need to migrate or failover your workloads outside of a region, your plan depends on whether you are using vSAN encryption or vSphere encryption:

When you are using vSAN encryption, each site is protected by its own key provider. If you are using vSAN encryption to protect workloads that you replicate between multiple sites, you must create separate KMIP for VMware instances in each site, that are connected to separate Key Protect or HPCS instances in those sites. You must connect your vCenter Server in each site to the local KMIP for VMware instance as its key provider.

When you are using vSphere encryption, most VMware replication and migration techniques today (for example, cross-vCenter vMotion and vSphere replication) rely on having a common key manager between the two sites. This topology is not supported by KMIP for VMware. Instead, you must create separate KMIP for VMware instances in each site, that is connected to separate Key Protect or HPCS instances in those sites. You must connect your vCenter server in each site to the local KMIP for VMware instance as its key provider, and then use a replication technology that supports the attachment and replication of decrypted disks.

Veeam Backup and Replication supports this replication technique. To implement this technique correctly, see the steps that you must take as indicated in the Veeam documentation.

Note that this technique currently does not support the replication of virtual machines with a vTPM device.

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