John Skarja - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Analyst at Niagara Health System
Real User
Top 10
Easy to work with, provides extra protection during site upgrades, and the reporting is good
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the ease of upgrades."
  • "I would like to have an overall orchestration capability that would enable you to do multiple VPGs in some sort of order, with delays in between."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for disaster recovery and business continuance.

We are protecting: SQL, our file servers, and some other applications that are specific to the healthcare domain.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of providing continuous data protection, Zerto has been great. We've had no real issues and it's pretty easy to work with.

At this time, we do not use Zerto for long-term retention. It's something that we may look into, although we don't protect all of our VMs. We only have 60 licenses, but we have more than 300 VMs. We use Veeam for the actual backups at the moment, and it didn't seem practical to have two separate solutions, where we use Zerto for a few and Veeam for the rest. Licensing-wise, it was too expensive to put replication functionality on every VM, just to get a backup of it. I know that Zerto is changing its licensing so that you can get a backup only. However, when we purchased Veeam, it was for three years and we still have part of a year left. After that expires, we will revisit it.

Prior to implementing Zerto, we didn't really have any way at all if there was a disaster at one site to be able to spin things up at the other site. It would have been restored from backups, but we didn't have a backup environment at the other site that they would restore there. This meant that depending on how bad the outage was, it was going to be weeks or months to be able to get back up and running. Now we're in a situation, at least with our key applications, that we could get those back up in a matter of minutes versus weeks. There is now a much better comfort level there.

If we had to failback or move workloads, Zerto would decrease the time it takes to do so. Fortunately, we've never had an event where we've actually had to use Zerto for a live failover. We test the VPGs and get the actual individual teams that run the software involved to test everything out, to make sure it's good. Other than that, fortunately, we haven't really had a need to actually fail anything over at this point.

We have leveraged it at times to move a workload. An example of this is that we've had servers that we were initially told were going to be built at one site, but then a couple of weeks later, it's "Well, no, we want this at the other site." So, instead of having to create a new VM at the other site, decommission the old one, and all that work that's involved with that, we just used Zerto to move it. This is something that saved us a lot of time and it worked perfectly. Between building another one and decommissioning, it is probably a savings of three days' work between all of the people involved.

Fortunately, we haven't had to use Zerto to recover due to a ransomware attack. We haven't been hit with anything like that yet. That's one of the things that also made it attractive for us, was that we're able to potentially get to a point in time just before that happened.

We have also used it in a scenario where we've had a vendor doing an upgrade. We replicated it to the same site instead of the alternate site, just so that if something went wrong we'd have a more instant restore point that we could pick from versus our backups. Since our backups only run once a night, we could have potentially lost a decent amount of data. Again, the upgrade went smoothly, so we didn't have to leverage it, but if there was going to be a problem with that then it would have saved us time and potentially data.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ease of upgrades. We've updated it numerous times since we started, and we can perform upgrades, including with VMware, without impacting anything in conjunction with it.

The reporting on failovers, including the step-by-step and the times, is useful because we can run through a failover and provide reports on it.

I find Zerto extremely easy to use. Setting up VPGs, the upgrade process, failover, and testing are all super easy to do. It is all very straightforward, including the initial setup.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have an overall orchestration capability that would enable you to do multiple VPGs in some sort of order, with delays in between. For example, at least in our testing scenario, we have our domain controllers. We have to fail that over first, get those up and running before we bring up the application side so that people can log in. If there was an actual failover, there would be certain things that would have to failover first, and get them running. Then, the application would be second, like SQL for example. For our dialysis application, one would have to have SQL up and running first before that. It would be nice to be able to select both and then say, start up this VPG and then wait 10 minutes and then fire up this one.

Buyer's Guide
Zerto
June 2024
Learn what your peers think about Zerto. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2024.
793,052 professionals have used our research since 2012.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for between three and four years, since 2018

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find this product super stable and I've had basically zero problems with it. A couple of minor things came up, and support resolved them pretty much instantly. We've never actually been down with it, but one problem was where it didn't recognize our version of the VMware. It was an entry in some INI file but that was quickly resolved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would think it scales great and it's just a matter of licensing. Right now, we have just the basic license that enables us to go one-to-one. We do want to go to the one-to-many and then out to the cloud, which is an option that would be better for us. We're just waiting to get the cloud connectivity before we upgrade the license. In this aspect, it should scale well.

At this point, myself and perhaps one other person use the product. We're licensed for 60 VMs and we have just slightly less than that, in the upper 50s. I would think that our usage in the future will increase.

Every time that we have a project come along, as part of that, they're supposed to verify what the DR business continuity needs are in terms of RTO and RPO. The only option for us other than this is backups, which are up to 24 hours. If that doesn't meet the needs of a new project, we are supposed to get a Zerto license for it. It's something that should be increasing over time.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support from Zerto has been great. Anytime that we put a ticket in, they've called back very quickly, and the issues have always been resolved in less than a day. Really, it happens within hours.

It is also nice that you can open a case directly from the management console, instead of having to place a call and wait in a queue. When you open a ticket, it's created, and then they call you back. It seems to be a great process.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are currently using Veeam for backups only, whereas Zerto is used for our business continuity disaster recovery. We have never used Veeam in terms of DR. When we purchased Zerto, you had to buy a license for replication. You could also leverage it for backup, but it didn't make sense because it was more pricey than using Veeam for that.

For backups, Veeam is pretty easy to use. Backups seem slightly more complex than the DR part, at least in terms of the way Zerto is doing them. Ultimately, it's easier for me to work with than Veeam's backup, per se. But backups historically have always been a little bit more tricky.

We used to have IBM Spectrum Protect, which was a total beast. So, Veeam is much easier to use than our previous backup solution. I know Veeam does have a DR product and we've never really looked at it. So, I can't really compare Zerto to that. I know Zerto does seem to be a better solution.

Prior to working with Zerto, we didn't have a DR business continuity plan. Essentially, we had no staff working on it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. We had it up and running in no time at all, and it wasn't something that took us weeks or months to implement. The install was done in less than a day and we were already starting to create VPGs immediately.

We started off as a trial running a PoC. We had a trial license mainly because, being in the healthcare industry, we have some unique applications. The other options for disaster recovery on those were going to be pretty pricey, and then, that would be a solution just for that one particular application. At that point, we were more interested in having the backups.

We don't like having five different backup utilities and we were hoping to have just one product that would handle all of our DR business continuance needs. That seemed to be Zerto when we looked at it, so we wanted to do a proof of concept on one main application, Meditech. It is our primary healthcare information system that everybody uses. It wasn't officially a supported DR business continuity methodology for it, but we did put it through the wringer a bit during the PoC phase to make sure it worked before we were really committed.

A lot of the other applications are straightforward, so we weren't as concerned with what we were going to do after the fact. But Medtech was one of the big driving ones that needed to be tested out before we committed to purchasing it. We did make calls to other hospitals who were Meditech customers as well, that were also using Zerto, to get a better comfort level based on their experiences.

What about the implementation team?

Two of us from the company, including a technical analyst and an enterprise architect, were involved in the initial setup. One of the vendor's reps came down to assist us with the first one, and he was great to deal with. Any questions that we had, he was able to answer them right away. He didn't say things like "I'll get back to you on that". He definitely knew what he was doing.

The install was pretty basic and we probably could have done it ourselves regardless, but just to fill in some of the knowledge gaps of how it actually works under the covers, he was able to provide that and some other pointers on things.

What was our ROI?

In terms of ROI, it is hard to say. Fortunately, we haven't had any issues. Obviously, if we had an issue we would have seen ROI, but it's kind of like insurance. You pay for it and then if nothing ever happens, that's it. But, if something were to happen, then you're pretty glad that you had it in place. 

Similarly, if you have an accident with your car, it's good that you had insurance because it's saving you money. But if you never have an accident, then you're spending money. In that way, I look at any disaster recovery business continuity as insurance.

Although we've never had to use it, if we do then we will see ROI the first time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing doesn't seem too bad for what it does. I know that the license that we have is being deprecated and I think you can only get their enterprise one moving forward. I know that we're supposed to change to that regardless, which is the one that gives us the ability to move out to the cloud and do multiple hypervisors, et cetera.

Overall, it seems fair to me. Plus, that you can do backups and everything with it means that it is even of greater value if you're doing your entire environment. It could cover everything you need to cover, plus the backups, all for one price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at VMware Site Recovery Manager at that time as the other option, and Zerto seemed a lot easier to use and easier upgrade paths. Even within the path to update your VMware environment with two products, it seems like the easier of the two products.

What other advice do I have?

Now that a backup-only license will be available for Zero, switching away from Veeam is something that we'll look at when the time comes for Veeam renewals. One of the things that we'll do is a cost analysis, to see what it costs comparatively.

We are not using DR in the cloud, although we are looking at using it in the future.

My advice for anybody who is looking into implementing Zerto is to do like we did, which was to implement a proof of concept, just to feel good about the solution, that it's going to meet your needs. Feel free to reach out to other people that are in your industry, as we did with other healthcare people. There should be a decent number of people out there that are doing what you're trying to do.

Zerto seems pretty good at hooking people up with other customers that are doing the same thing they're doing, so you have a chance to talk to them directly. I've been on those calls and Zerto basically just hooks you up with that person and they don't stay on the call themselves. It's just you and them talking, so they're pretty unbiased answers from most people. I definitely suggest reaching out to Zerto to get feedback from customers. Basically, just do your due diligence and research.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Systems Engineering Manager at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Reduced our overall compute and storage footprint, while continuous protection gives us countless restore-point opportunities
Pros and Cons
  • "The granularity enables us to failover specific workloads instead of an all-or-nothing type of scenario, where you have to move your entire IP block and your data center, or you have to move large chunks of VMs. Those situations also make it prohibitive to test effectively."
  • "The replication piece with the built-in WAN compression is important because the network circuit that we send our replication traffic across isn't actually behind our normal WAN accelerators. We were able to use Zerto's built-in WAN acceleration to help those workloads compress."
  • "The replication appliances tend to have issues when they recover from being powered off when a host is in maintenance mode. Sometimes you have to do a manual task where you go in and detach hard disks that are no longer in use, to get the replication appliances to power back on. There are some improvements to be made around the way those recover."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for disaster recovery for our day-one applications that need to be up first, upon failover.

How has it helped my organization?

We previously had our Microsoft SQL Servers set up as clustered pairs, with the primary in one data center and the secondary in the other, and they were staying in sync via SQL Server Log shipping. That was not a very efficient way to get SQL servers failed over. There were also some things that weren't replicated through log shipping, such as the SQL Server Agent jobs that are defined on the server, or the custom permissions that are set up for the different roles. Zerto was able to replicate the entire server, including the jobs and the permissions, and eliminate the need for us to have that secondary server. We were able to break all of our SQL clusters and just have standalone SQL Servers. It helped to increase our efficiency with failover and reduced our overall compute and storage footprint around SQL by about 40 percent.

When failing back or moving workloads, the solution saves time and reduces the number of people involved. The time from the initiation of a failback to the completion is about five minutes for us. We've also made some tweaks in the DNS to help that to update and replicate quickly so that we're not waiting for that, even if the resource is available. As for the number of people involved, for SQL especially, it used to require getting the SQL team involved and they would do everything manually. Now, anybody can just click through the recovery wizard and perform the failover.

Our savings from Zerto are around licensing and how we structure our current environment. We were able to save money with our on-prem deployment, but we don't use it for cloud.

And in terms of downtime, every time we test a failover it's non impactful to operations, because we're able to do testing in an isolated environment. Before, if we wanted to test our failover processes it was going to create a production outage. That is no longer the case. Before, when we were doing regular DR tests, I would estimate the cost of the downtime to have been about one weekend per quarter. That's the time we would have to take to do that. Only if we were to do a live failover as a test, which would probably not be done more than once a year, would we really have to worry about impacting any operations.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features would be the

  • granular configuration of your SLAs
  • built-in WAN compression as part of the replication 
  • easy wizard-based failover.

The granularity enables us to failover specific workloads instead of an all-or-nothing type of scenario, where you have to move your entire IP block and your data center, or you have to move large chunks of VMs. Those situations also make it prohibitive to test effectively.

The replication piece with the built-in WAN compression is important because the network circuit that we send our replication traffic across isn't actually behind our normal WAN accelerators. We were able to use Zerto's built-in WAN acceleration to help those workloads compress.

The failover is important because that way I can delegate initiating a failover to other people without their having to be an expert in this particular product. It's easy enough to cross-train people.

Continuous data protection is Zerto's bread and butter. They do all of their protection through your journaling and that continuous protection gives you countless restore-point opportunities. That's extremely important for me because if one restore point doesn't work, because it is a crash-consistent restore point, you have so many others to choose from so that you really don't have to worry about having an app-consistent backup to recover from.

Zerto is also extremely easy to use, extremely easy to deploy, and extremely easy to update and maintain. The everyday utilization with the interface is very easy to navigate, and the way in which you perform testing and failover is very controlled and easy to understand.

What needs improvement?

The replication appliances tend to have issues when they recover from being powered off when a host is in maintenance mode. Sometimes you have to do a manual task where you go in and detach hard disks that are no longer in use, to get the replication appliances to power back on. There are some improvements to be made around the way those recover.

My other main inconvenience is fixed in version 8.5. That issue was moving virtual protection groups to other hosts, whenever a host goes into maintenance mode. That's actually automated in the newer version and I am looking forward to not having to do that any longer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Zerto for coming up on four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My impression of its stability is very positive. It doesn't seem to have any issues recovering after you shut down any of the particular components of the application. It seems everything comes back up and comes back online well. 

Sometimes the replication appliances will stop functioning, for one reason or another, and most of the time a power cycle will resolve that. But anytime that I do have a sync issue, support will generally be back in touch with me within the first half hour after opening a ticket. They're very responsive.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is able to take on any size environment. We don't have a huge environment here. We only use it across 20 hosts, 10 at each site. They're very large hosts. If you have more than a certain number of virtual disks protected on a single replication appliance, the replication appliance will automatically make a clone of itself on that host to accommodate the additional virtual disks. It seems to be built to scale in any way that you need it to.

While our hosts are very large hosts, we don't have any current plans to extend that deployment because we have capacity to grow within our current infrastructure footprint, without having to add on resources.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate their technical support very highly. They're very responsive. Usually within the first 30 minutes of opening the case, someone has tried to reach out to me. I will just get a screen share, or a reply to my call with an answer, or a KB article. I have a very positive impression of their support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Site Recovery Manager for several years, and I always struggled with keeping that functioning and reliable. Every time something changed within the vCenter environment, Site Recovery Manager would tend to break. I wanted to switch to a DR product that I could rely on.

In addition to Site Recovery Manager, we were also using NetApp SnapMirror. We are still using that for our flat file data which is non VM-based. We have Rubrik as our backup solution because, while we replicate our backups, there's not any automation behind bringing those online in the other sites. So it's a manual process to do disaster recovery.

We were having to utilize those solutions to do the failovers for our day-one application in SQL and they were inefficient and ineffective for that. Zerto was able to come in and target those workloads that we needed better recovery time for, or where we needed a more aggressive replication schedule. Zerto is supplementing those other solutions.

Zerto is easier to use than the other solutions. There's definitely more automation and there are more seamless failover activities.

How was the initial setup?

When I deployed the solution, it took certainly less than a day to get it up and running. The upgrade process has been fairly seamless and painless, in the past, as we have gone from one version to the next. That includes some of the features they've enhanced, where it automatically updates the replication appliances as well as the management pieces.

We have two data centers and they're both Active-Active for one another. Our deployment strategy for Zerto was to stand up a site server at each one, pair them together, and then start identifying the first workloads to add into Zerto protection. We started with our SQL environment. 

I was the only one involved in the deployment. If I had questions I would ask my account team. My sales engineer and the account rep are both very knowledgeable. But I actually didn't need to open a support ticket as part of the deployment. It was very easy and straightforward.

About five of us utilize Zerto. I am the infrastructure engineer, focusing on the compute side of the house. We've got a storage engineer. My manager is an applications delivery manager who uses it. We've got another senior network engineer who focuses more on the runbook side of things, and he uses it. And my backup, who is our Citrix guy, is starting to use it.

Zerto doesn't really require any particular care and feeding. Whenever a new version comes out that has features sets, I'll decide when I'm going to update it and do that myself. It doesn't really even require a support call. It's pretty straightforward. For each management appliance, updates have taken 10 to 15 minutes, in the past. And it's just a couple of minutes for each replication appliance.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is quite significant. The SQL cost savings alone would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. That's due to the fact that we don't need to have our SQL clustering set up as an always-on cluster, which would need to be a higher tier of Microsoft licensing. We're able to use SQL standard for everything, and that wouldn't be possible without a third-party like Zerto to do the replication and failover.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Get the Enterprise Cloud license because it's the most flexible, and the pricing should come in around $1,000 per VM.

Support is an additional cost. We are currently doing three years of support. There's an additional 15 or 20 percent of overhead during each year of additional support for each license.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely take the free trial and put it through its paces, because you really can't break anything with it, given the way that you can do the testing. It gives you a good opportunity to play with the tools without having to worry about causing any problems in the environment.

We have plans to evaluate the solution for long-term retention. I'm going to start testing some of their features once we upgrade to version 8.5, and then we'll evaluate if it makes sense to do that or not. We do have other backup products that we're evaluating alongside of that though.

The solution has not reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and DR management. We already run a very lean engineering team.

I got what I expected. I'd actually been trying to bring the product in since 2014 but I kept not getting budget funding for it. I feel satisfied with what I ended up with and I'm glad that we were able to move forward with the project.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Zerto
June 2024
Learn what your peers think about Zerto. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2024.
793,052 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Systems Architect - Cloud at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
We are able to show, at a customer-level of granularity, what a customer's RPO was at any point, in real time
Pros and Cons
  • "Four years ago when we did a PoC between two other vendors and Zerto, there were two features of Zerto that sold it, hands-down. One was the ease of creating protection groups, the ease with which our engineers could create protection, add virtual machines into the Zerto product, and get them under DR protection."
  • "The second feature that sold us was the sub-second RPO. One of the things that made Zerto's product stand out from some of the more traditional solutions four years ago was its ability to maintain sub-second RPO over a group of machines, and that group of machines could be spread over multiple storage hardware."
  • "The number-one area in which they need to improve their product is what I would call "automatic self-healing." This is related to running them at scale... We have 1,000 VRAs and if any one of their VRAs has a problem, goes offline, all of the customer protection groups and all of the customers that are tied to that VRA are not replicating at all. That means the RPO is slipping until somebody makes a manual effort to fix the issue. It has become a full-time job at my company for somebody to keep Zerto running all the time, everywhere, and to keep all the customers up and going."

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is 100 percent disaster recovery between two different geographies. We have a very large private cloud offering. We've got about 1,200 customers and almost 10,000 VMs that are under Zerto protection. Every one of those virtual machines needs to be replicated from Waltham to Chicago, from the East Coast of the U.S. to the central U.S. Likewise, we have a European business with the exact same flow, although it's much smaller as far as number of VMs; it might be a couple of hundred. That implementation is going from Berlin to Amsterdam. We've got one-way protection in two different geographies and all of those machines are under Zerto protection.

How has it helped my organization?

The number-one benefit is that for the first time we could show, at a customer-level of granularity, how a customer was protected, and what their RPO was in, real time. Each one of our 1,200 or so customers has a portion of those 10,000 VMs. For the first time we were able to tell a product leader or product manager what the RPO was on Thursday at 2:00 PM for that customer. We could say, "Hey, it was 67 seconds." Our company is very customer-centric and customer-focused. There's less interest in what the overall health is, and a lot of times there's specific interest in, "Hey, how is that customer doing?" either for performance or for RPO time.

Zerto also allowed us to easily pick groups of virtual machines, group them as a whole, and have that be segregated from the storage layer. That is the storage-agnostic benefit from their product. That agnostic feature with respect to the storage layer allowed us to group VMs by customer and not only report on RPO by customer, but also to more easily sell different RPO plans. We were able to prioritize and say, "Okay, these 10 customers have platinum and these 500 have silver."

What is most valuable?

Four years ago when we did a PoC between two other vendors and Zerto, there were two features of Zerto that sold it, hands-down. One was the ease of creating protection groups, the ease with which our engineers could create protection, add virtual machines into the Zerto product, and get them under DR protection. The other products we were looking at required work from two different teams. The storage team had to get involved. With this product, the whole thing could be done by just our virtualization team, and that was a big sell for us.

The second feature that sold us was the sub-second RPO. One of the things that made Zerto's product stand out from some of the more traditional solutions four years ago was its ability to maintain sub-second RPO over a group of machines, and that group of machines could be spread over multiple storage hardware. It was the storage-agnostic features of the product.

What needs improvement?

The number-one area in which they need to improve their product is what I would call "automatic self-healing." This is related to running them at scale. If you're a small company with 50 VMs, this doesn't really become a problem for you. You don't have 1,000 blades and 1,000 of their VRAs running that you need to keep healthy. But once you get over a certain scale, it becomes a full-time job for someone to keep their products humming. We have 1,000 VRAs and if any one of their VRAs has a problem, goes offline, all of the customer protection groups and all of the customers that are tied to that VRA are not replicating at all. That means the RPO is slipping until somebody makes a manual effort to fix the issue. It has become a full-time job at my company for somebody to keep Zerto running all the time, everywhere, and to keep all the customers up and going. 

They desperately need to work self-healing into the core product. If a VRA has a problem, the product needs to be able to take some sort of measure to self-heal from that; to reassign protection. Right now it doesn't do anything in that self-healing area.

For how long have I used the solution?

My company implemented Zerto in 2016, so we've been live with their product for a little over four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability comes back to size and scale. It depends. If you are not replicating heavy workloads—meaning you don't have a SQL server that's doing thousands and thousands of IOPS, and you don't have multiple SQL Servers on the same very large hardware blade—Zerto is incredibly stable, based on my experience with the product. 

However, we are doing that. There's a one-to-one relationship between the Zerto VRA, which is essentially their chunk of code that does the replication, and a physical server. The physical server is running anywhere from one to as many virtual servers as someone can fit onto it. And that one VRA has to manage and push all the change blocks for all the workloads running on it. So if you've got five or six really heavy workloads running, that one VRA that has to handle all of that and push it to your destination can, and does, crash. VRAs in that situation crash or become unstable. We've worked a lot with Zerto over the last two years on tweaking the VRAs with advanced settings. We've directly been involved with identifying a couple of bugs with the VRAs. When the VRAs are pushed, they can only be pushed so far and then they crash.

It does perform. However, we have VRAs that crash all the time. When we go back and we look at why they crashed it's because we're pushing them too hard. We're doing things that they would say we shouldn't be doing. They would say, "Don't set six SQL Servers on the same blade. That's too much. Don't do that."

Zerto has worked with us very effectively on identifying advanced settings that we can make to the VRAs to make them perform better, and to be more stable in the "abusive" environment that we throw at their code base.

It could be more stable for really heavy use cases like that. But Zerto would come back and say, "Well, our best practices would have you put some sort of anti-affinity rule in place so that you don't end up with that many heavy I/O machines on a single blade." They would say that doing so is not best practice; don't do it. You could say that we abused their product, in that sense. 

But it works. If you align with best practices, it's pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have no concerns about the scalability, although I should qualify that statement. Zerto can scale horizontally extremely well. They've got one VRA per blade and that one VRA is their data plane. You can scale out your environment horizontally with as many blades or servers as you want, which is how people do virtualization and Zerto will scale with you. We've never hit a limit as far as its ability to scale as horizontally.

The caveat would be, as I mentioned elsewhere, the size of the pipe in your infrastructure to handle all of that replication. But that doesn't tie to the Zerto product itself. 

In terms of the issue of VRAs crashing, you want to scale horizontally rather than scale vertically, because if you scale vertically you're packing more and more virtual machines into the same number of physical servers. You're stacking them up high rather than across. If you stack them up high you have concerns about the scalability of the single VRA. The VRAs do get overloaded. Don't pack them too high. Scale out, not up.

Zerto has spread out as a company. They've mushroomed out into other areas. They've started to develop a presence in backup and they've started to develop a larger presence in reporting. Their core product, however, is known as ZVR—Zerto Virtual Replication. We've implemented that core product 100 percent. There's no other way we could be consuming it differently or more effectively.

The newer stuff they've come out with—certainly the backup—we don't touch that at all. The backup product is not ready for prime time. It might be good for a small customer that may have 50 machines they want to back up. But for our use case, with SOC compliance, and having to report on the success of backups for recovery, and although we looked very closely at their backup and where they were going with it, it's not ready for us.

They're starting to go into Docker containers. None of our product right now is containerized.

A third area is analytics and reporting. The analytics and reporting would be the one new area that they've put focus on that we could be using more and getting more value out of. They've got a SaaS solution now for reporting called Zerto Analytics. We do use it. You turn on their core product and you tell it to send your reports to their SaaS offering. We've done that and we can consume the analytics product, but we just haven't really operationalized it yet. That, for us, has been a tool looking for a problem.

How was the initial setup?

It took us about two months to deploy the solution, but that was because we're a very conservative company. We purposely went extremely slowly. If we had wanted to go faster, it could have been done probably in a week or two, to get all 6,000 VMs under protection.

What about the implementation team?

When we deployed it, there were two dedicated people at our company who were involved, paired up with three people from a Professional Services team from Zerto. As a tertiary, we had a full-time person from our VAR, the reseller that sold us the licensing for Zerto. With that help from Zerto and the value added reseller, it only took two of us to install it to about 600 blades and probably 5,000 virtual machines.

Our experience was excellent. Both teams were great. It was a very painless rollout.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm less involved with the pricing and licensing area now. The last time I was involved was a couple of years ago. In my opinion, their model is somewhat inflexible, especially for their backup product.

One of the reasons why we didn't pursue looking further at their backup product was, simply, licensing. Today we have to buy a Zerto license for every virtual machine that we want protected by their product. We have a lot of virtual machines that aren't production and that don't need to be protected by their product. They don't need sub-second RPOs. They do, however, need to be backed up. But Zerto's licensing model two years ago was, "Well, we don't care that you just need to back up those VMs, and you don't really need to replicate them. It's the same price."

We would have had to double our licensing costs for Zerto to adopt it as a backup solution. It was just not even within the realm of possibility financially. It made no financial sense for us to move off our current backup vendor. Their inability to diverge in any way from that was rigid.

Their licensing could be less rigid and more open to specific companies' use cases.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The other two vendors we evaluated back were Site Recovery Manager by VMware, and whatever Veeam's product was at the time. We also looked at CommVault lightly, but they were never considered seriously.

What other advice do I have?

Zerto can do what it says it can do. It can absolutely provide sub-second recovery point objectives, but with a couple of caveats. The caveats tend to apply to large companies like mine, and by "large" I mean if you have over 2,000 to 3,000 virtual machines, versus a small to medium-sized company that maybe has 50 to 500. Once you cross that barrier, you're getting into a larger environment that you're trying to replicate with Zerto.

A couple things can break down. Zerto's product doesn't control the path between your source production data and the destination you're trying to send it to. There can be tons of bottlenecks on that path; you can be going around the world. If the bottleneck doesn't exist there, their product can absolutely do what it says it does. It's up to the customer. The people using Zerto have to understand that they own the bottlenecks in their environment. If there is a bottleneck between production and the targeted DR, the RPOs are going to slip. You're going to go from sub-seconds to minutes or hours. That's not necessarily a fault of Zerto's product. It's the fault of the design of the customer's environment and what they brought it into.

That doesn't just exist for the pipe between the two sites. On the destination side, the side that's receiving this data, the storage layer underneath needs to be more performant than the production side. That's somewhat of a strange concept for a lot of customers and people coming into the Zerto solution. They see the marketing side of, "10 seconds to RPO" and say, "Yeah, I want that." But what it means is that you've really got to look at your hardware and you've got to have class-A hardware the whole way through that Zerto pipeline, for their product to do what it says it does. Zerto makes that very clear. They don't recommend hardware; they're not in the business of supporting other vendors. But they have a published list of best practices. The best practices clearly say everything that I just said. They also have best practices around managing your workload I/O on the source side, so that you don't overwhelm their product.

But not everyone follows best practices. Certainly, when we implemented it we said, "Yeah, we get that. We understand what you're telling us. We understand that's a best practice, but we're not going to do it anyway, because it's too expensive," or we didn't have it in budget for that year. So we knew it  and we went in without following them. A couple of years later, when we got to a tipping point, we realized, "Okay, we need to go back and align with some of those best practices," things we didn't think that we had the time to align with back in 2016. We've made that journey painfully with their product, but they were very upfront with us on what the requirements for their product would be.

Overall, I would rate Zerto as a solid eight out of 10 for the core disaster recovery offering.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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System Engineer at American Medical Response
Real User
Enables us to move an VM from our old environment to our new environment with minimal disruption
Pros and Cons
  • "The Move feature is the most valuable feature because it allows us to move the VM from our old environment to our new environment with minimal disruption."
  • "Some of the features need improvement. One would be, as you're creating a Move group or a VPG, as they call it, it should either autosave or have the ability so that you can save it for coming back to later because if the setup times out, you lose all your work. That would be a nice improvement to have."

What is our primary use case?

We use Zerto for data migrations. We use it to move our virtual machines from one location or data center to another and eventually, we then switch that over to DR from our facility in one state to another. It's for the migration of existing VMs.

How has it helped my organization?

Zerto has improved my organization by allowing us to do several VM moves. It simply allows us to bring a server back up on the new side, which looks like a reboot of a server. It's a virtual move to the new stage, so it goes from existing VM host to new VM host on the other side.

It has reduced downtime for the servers that we migrate over. By how much is a hard number to put because we do a big group of them together, so we're able to group the move as opposed to doing more one-offs.

The amount the downtime would cost my company would strictly depend upon which servers we were moving because some don't really cost the business. There are others that would cost the business for having to be up as much as possible, 24/7.

What is most valuable?

The Move feature is the most valuable feature because it allows us to move the VM from our old environment to our new environment with minimal disruption.

It's extremely easy to use. It's pretty self-explanatory as you run through setting up your VPGs for your protection groups and then to do a migration or a test failover.

What needs improvement?

Some of the features need improvement. One would be, as you're creating a Move group or a VPG, as they call it, it should either autosave or have the ability so that you can save it for coming back to later because if the setup times out, you lose all your work. That would be a nice improvement to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Zerto for three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability has been great. We have not had any issues with that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Only two of us work on it and we're both system engineers.

We do not need dedicated staff for deployment and maintenance of the solution.

It's being used to move a total of around a couple of thousand VMs, so I don't have any issues with scalability.

Currently, we aren't planning to expand capacity because we have a total of around 500 agents to protect, so until we get the true DR, we will have to evaluate if we need to expand that. We will primarily only be using it for DR and any server migrations we may need to do from one system to another.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support has been very good and prompt to get back to us with answers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We would either use a Veeam or VMware solution, but we haven't had a real DR product outside of Veeam.

We find Zerto to be the most beneficial right now in helping us migrate from one data center to another data center for the testing environment. And for future capabilities, for a true DR scenario.

I would say it's a lot more simple to set up and maintain than VMware and Veeam.

Replacing these legacy solutions has saved us on the costs needed to manage them.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation was really straightforward and easy. We worked with one of their support engineers and we got it up and running really quickly. The deployment took around one hour. 

We didn't really have an implementation strategy. It was about getting the server manager and server up and then walk through the installation steps. We followed their guidelines.

What was our ROI?

I'm not sure if I can put a dollar amount on ROI but the biggest return is time to actually get things set up and then begin to migrate virtual machines over to the new environment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not 100% sure about the pricing because I wasn't as much part of the pricing part of it, but it fell within our budget. Its features and price are good compared to the options we were looking at.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated Rubrik and a solution from Dell. The main advantage that we found was that Zerto fit our current need for migrating from one environment to another better than others, and its good standing in the community where there are a few products.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to plan out your Move groups and work with your business to get everything validated so you can back up on the other side.

I would rate Zerto a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Rodney Carlson - PeerSpot reviewer
Rodney CarlsonSystem Analyst at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User

An additional comment that Zerto has a Long Term Recovery option built in so you could eliminate Veeam. Basically we set up a storage array, assigned it a protected share, and created a Zerto repository on it. Now our back ups both short term  and long term are covered. Zerto also has the ability to restore individual files. A nice software solution for whatever hardware you want to use.

Specialist supervisor at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Primarily used for DR situations and provides real-time backup and high uptime
Pros and Cons
  • "It provides real-time backup"
  • "It is a little expensive."

What is our primary use case?

We use it primarily for DR situations. Whenever we lose our primary location, we switch to another location. We also backup resources and migrating VMs in and out of different environments, cloud versus on-prem.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it provides real-time backup. We're in the financial industry and have to have 100 percent uptime. 

It helps us have a lot better uptime than what we would normally have. It's always real-time synced, with instant recovery. We can return to another location if power drops or generators don't work.

It gives us quick uptime. It also helps our customers maintain that trust, so Zerto really does help with trust. We generally use it on-premise.

The near-synchronous replication is really good. It gives us quick uptime. It helps our customers keep that trust in us.

We use Zerto to protect VMs in our environment. Until Zerto, I didn't pay much attention to RPOs. Zerto gives the ability to bring RPOs down to seconds. 

For certain use cases, Zerto has a better speed of recovery compared to other solutions but it doesn't tie into our SANs like Veeam does. 

What needs improvement?

It is a little expensive.

We could streamline the installation better. The other thing would be ransomware notifications, like IO anomaly notifications.  If they integrate with the SAN, that would be valuable to see in terms of snapshots.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for six to seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We came up with the new version, and it's pretty good. If there's no reason for me to say it's unstable. It's been proven so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you buy the licensing, it will scale up to size until you will spend money on it. 

How are customer service and support?

Support is helpful.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

If you want to pull from the snapshot instead of tools, then SRMs are better used for this case. It's fast and the first to market with continuous data protection.

Zerto is easier to use. There is some standup at the beginning, you must install the agents. It's easy to use when it's working right, but sometimes, it takes great effort to get it going if something goes down. 

We use another solution, Veeam. We keep them both because they're both beneficial for different use cases.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward, but if you have it the first time, you are stranded in the industry. It could take a little figuring out, but Zerto is pretty helpful.  

There have been a couple of situations which they weren't able to fix an issue right away. We move everything off to a different server until we can circle around and extend that one.

What about the implementation team?

We did it in-house.

What was our ROI?

Zerto has paid for itself in man-hours saved. 

What other advice do I have?

Zerto gives you the ability to bring RPOs in seconds. We can have instant uptime for everything. 

It's more expensive than other solutions but it's worth it for our environment. It has made it very easy to restore files because you can restore them down to the second. It's pretty simple. We have the agent and all the hosts. 

Overall, I rate the solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Ravi Theja Rachamadugu - PeerSpot reviewer
Infrastructure Architect at Krish Services Group, Inc
Real User
Application-agnostic, easy to use, and helpful for improving RPO
Pros and Cons
  • "The simplicity of use is valuable. It is easy. We just click Failover and do it. It is pretty straightforward. If someone wants to do a test failover, they log in to the console and do a test failover"
  • "I would like to request better reporting in Zerto. I can see the data that I need in the console, but if I need to put the data or the history into a report, it is difficult. It is something that auditors might require, so reporting is something that needs to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for disaster recovery. 

How has it helped my organization?

Zerto provides near-synchronous replication, but more importantly, we can see the status at seven seconds, six seconds, five seconds, and four seconds when we log in to the Zerto console. I found that amazing. There is probably no other disaster recovery solution available in the market that is providing this functionality. It is great and definitely a huge plus point for Zerto.

We do get alerts if suspicious activity is detected on a VPG, but we did not get an actual case where there was ransomware or any other kind of attack and we had to prevent that. I have not come across that with either of my clients, but we do get alerts when Zerto finds something suspicious. We go in and look at it. In some instances, because the application was writing more files, Zerto marked it as suspicious, but we never had to do recovery for security reasons.

We use Zerto with AWS as the target. We do the failover of the on-premises VMware virtual machines to the AWS cloud. I do not deal with the implementation. I only do the administration of the tool, but whatever I did as part of AWS administration in Zerto, it was pretty seamless and straightforward. I did not get any issues there. The documentation is helpful in identifying any issues.

We have about 70 virtual machines that are being protected by using Zerto. Zerto has drastically improved our RPO. It was 15 minutes previously, whereas now, it is in seconds.

Zerto has not had much impact on our RTO. RPO has changed, but RTO has been the same for us.

Zerto has not helped to reduce downtime in any situation. We have only done tests. We have not done any actual production failover because there was no need. Similarly, Zerto has not saved us any recovery time because we never had a requirement to do a recovery since we implemented the tool. It is a pretty new environment for us, so we have not had time.

Zerto has not reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and DR management. It has remained the same for us.

What is most valuable?

The simplicity of use is valuable. It is easy. We just click Failover and do it. It is pretty straightforward. If someone wants to do a test failover, they log in to the console and do a test failover. 

What needs improvement?

As a power user, I find the customization lacking. I feel it could be customized a little bit more, but Zerto is simple to use. It is easy to use. That is my main reason for using Zerto.

I would like to request better reporting in Zerto. I can see the data that I need in the console, but if I need to put the data or the history into a report, it is difficult. It is something that auditors might require, so reporting is something that needs to be improved.

The UI does crash a lot, and that is something that can be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

It has been about a year. I support multiple clients with multiple backup and disaster recovery products. I was a Storage and Backup engineer, but now, I am covering the solutions for the entire infrastructure. I work on Zerto for multiple clients. We have two clients who are using Zerto as a disaster recovery solution.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The UI does crash, but it does not affect the functionality of the software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. There could be 10 machines or 100 machines. I did not find any issues. It is pretty scalable.

How are customer service and support?

There were some issues for which we had to get responses from them. They were pretty much on the point. There were no issues. The response time was a bit slow, but their support was pretty good. I would rate them an eight out of ten.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to use Azure Site Recovery to protect all of the production instances, SAP databases, some file servers, and some basic application servers. We used to first replicate to Azure and then do a test failover and a production failover. It was a bit slow. The RPOs and RTOs were not that great, and the rate of change that Azure Site Recovery supported was not completely meeting the business requirements. The third part was that Azure Site Recovery was not application-agnostic. What we loved about Zerto was that it was application-agnostic. It did not matter to Zerto what was running behind the application. It will replicate everything across any cloud. That was our main point for going for Zerto.

Zerto was also much easier. Azure Site Recovery was a little bit hard to set up and maintain, but Zerto is pretty straightforward and easy.

I did not find much difference between Zerto and other solutions in terms of the speed of recovery. The RPO is great, but when we do a failover, it is basically the same as any other solution.

Zerto has not replaced our legacy backup solutions. Our legacy backup solution is in the same place. We are only using Zerto for DR.

How was the initial setup?

Our environment is hybrid. We are using Zerto to protect our on-prem as well as the cloud environment, but I was not involved in its deployment. 

In terms of maintenance, I never had any requirements to maintain it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Evaluation was done by someone else in the organization.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Zerto an eight out of ten. Simplicity is an advantage, but customization and reporting can be better.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Server Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
It enables us to set the IPs and map everything out in our environment prior to migration
Pros and Cons
  • "Zerto is intuitive. We could set everything up in the environment within a day and a half and start migrating on the third day."
  • "Right now, if you have an error, it creates a link that takes you to a website to review information about the problem. It would be nice if Zerto could give you information within the app instead of referring you to a web application."

What is our primary use case?

We've been using Zerto for data center migration, but we will begin using it for disaster recovery. Because of some data center issues, we're still using version 9.5. One of our data centers is at 6.5 and the other one is at 7, so we can't move any or upgrade to 10.

What is most valuable?

Zerto enables us to set the IPs and map everything out in our environment prior to migration. We can create VPGs and mass migrate applications, databases, and web clients. That was the selling point for us. The product is easy to use. We had a 30-minute onboarding process from our sales engineer, who showed us how to use it. 

We don't use near-synchronous replication yet. It will be essential when we start using Zerto for DR, but it isn't a big deal during our current migration. Once we have a DR site, it will be essential to have those time slots we can restore to in the event of malware and ransomware. 

What needs improvement?

Right now, if you have an error, it creates a link that takes you to a website to review information about the problem. It would be nice if Zerto could give you information within the app instead of referring you to a web application.

For how long have I used the solution?

Zerto for two years.

How was the initial setup?

Zerto is intuitive. We could set everything up in the environment within a day and a half and start migrating on the third day.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Zerto 10 out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Lead Systems Engineer at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good for protecting VMs, has useful, near-synchronous replication and helpful documentation
Pros and Cons
  • "The time it takes to fail a server over to DR has been great."
  • "There are a lot of features that it has that we don't use since we are on prem."

What is our primary use case?

I use Zerto for disaster recovery. 

How has it helped my organization?

The time it takes to fail a server over to DR has been great. We've seen a reduction in time spent. We can do it in minutes. Being able to go back to certain snapshots, to failover to another location, and then go back to specific snapshots is quite useful. We can roll back easily. 

What is most valuable?

The off-site replication is excellent. We have workloads that aren't DR-aware. Being able to replicate it to other data centers is great. We don't have another way to do it, currently. 

The near-synchronous replication is good. You get five-second data points. It's not something we advertise to our customers, the developers, however, we've had instances where we needed to go back two hours, prior to a file being deleted, and it's helped. 

We're protecting our VMs with Zerto. It's positively affected our RPOs. It meets the objective. It's the only way we can have a solution for certain applications where we send an entire application to another data server. 

What needs improvement?

It's a great product. There are a lot of features that it has that we don't use since we are on prem. We strictly use it for DR between our data centers. There are a lot of cloud plugins that they have that we don't use. Our use case is limited. It does everything we need it to.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for probably four or five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of Zerto is good. We didn't have any issues. Our biggest challenge was trying to get to the clients and I was waiting on an upgrade path - from Windows to Linux. Now there is an upgrade path. Honestly, that has been the biggest challenge we've had for five years. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of Zerto is good. You can easily protect other clusters and VRAs. It's very flexible.

Our current environment has 45 VRAs in each cluster. We have two replica pairs, two sites that mirror each other. 

In total, we have 70 ESX hosts.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is great. They've shown us many things about the manager that we didn't know about. Every time I call, I take notes. They are very knowledgeable and the knowledge-based articles on the site are also helpful. Even if I thought something was broken, they've always managed to fix it. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to use VMware's SRM. With SRM, for us, it was overly complex. We used an array-based replication with SRM. We had issues where the storage team would go to do work on the array and they would fail the machine over and it wouldn't be right. We would have outages. Every time we did a failover it was a process and we would be missing rules.

This is not array-based and we can test our failover in a sandbox without taking the system down. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial deployment was easy. We deployed VRAs to the host from the manager. It works very well. The amount of VRAs you have to deploy and the amount of time it takes is minimal. It took us about an hour. 

What was our ROI?

I can't speak to if the company has witnessed any ROI. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't follow the licensing. It was bought for us and we use it. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated SRM and a few others. I can't remember which ones we tested. We've been on Zerto since version six. 

The selling point for us, coming from SRM, is that SRM was tied to vCenter. We had to pay attention to versions and there were a lot of ways you had to make sure the versions were correct and it was overly complex for what we needed. We simply needed to replicate a virtual machine and that was it. Zerto stood out as it was easy.

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend the solution to others. I'd rate the solution ten out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Zerto Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
Updated: June 2024
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Zerto Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.