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.
Download the Zerto Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: March 2023
Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, specializes in data protection and empowers customers to run a business by simplifying the protection, disaster recovery, and mobility of on-premises and cloud applications. Zerto uses advanced hybrid cloud IT technologies to recover and protect business-critical applications in on-premises and cloud environments, enabling them to deliver continuous service without compromising security. Zerto’s foundation is based on continual data protection (CDP) technology. Users can benefit from a single, unified, and automated recovery and data management experience across all virtualized or container-based workloads.
Zerto's native clustering technology creates a resilient, fault-tolerant system that automates recovery of critical virtual machines while supporting software updates, new OS releases, and upgrades. With native clustering, a creation, migration, or deletion of a virtual machine is automatically replicated to all nodes in the cluster. This creates an automated failover and availability solution with the features of high-end dedicated servers running at a fraction of the cost.
Zerto has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:
Reviews from Real Users
Zerto stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its disaster recovery abilities and its ease of use. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:
Justin C., Director of IT at Arnott Inc. writes of the solution, “If we had to deal with a ransomware event, Zerto would be one of the first things I would use, because it is going to be the fastest to restore data to a certain point. If there were a fire in our building, Zerto would be a big thing too, because we would shut down everything that's in our building… It's definitely going to be one of our prevalent DRBC layers of protection."
Brad W., Vice President of Information Technology at a financial services firm, notes, “The file restoration is very helpful. They've improved it over the years to make it a lot more user-friendly and easy to do, which I appreciate. So, we use that quite a bit. The failover process is quite simple and intuitive. Even the configuration and setup are pretty easy to do.”
Zerto was previously known as Zerto Virtual Replication.
United Airlines, HCA, XPO Logistics, TaxSlayer, McKesson, Insight Global, Spirit Airlines, Tencate, Aaron’s, Grey’s County, Epiq. JLL, KIND Snacks, Kingston Technologies
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have been using Zerto for between three and four years, since 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are using it to protect all our on-premise virtual workloads, which includes mission-critical applications, line of business applications, and several unstructured data type repositories for disaster recovery.
It is our sole disaster recovery solution for what it does. It is protecting all the workloads at SmartBank.
Both of our data centers are on-premise and in colocations. Our plan over the next year or two is that we will very likely be shifting to DR in the cloud.
We had a ransomware event on one of our file servers. We detected that event very quickly using other methodologies. However, because we had Zerto in place on that server, within about 30 minutes from seeing the problem, we were able to go back and recover that machine before that ransomware event had happened. This is a great example of the solution's ability to restore so quickly that it really helped us.
Because of its ease of use, it has increased the number of people in IT who can failback or move workloads. This used to be something that was done only by our infrastructure team, because it was manual processes and complex. We now have the virtual protection setup so effectively, and Zerto does it so effectively, that we have now been able to get another three or four people from other groups of our IT company trained on how to do recovery operations. This helps us tremendously when we are doing recovery because there are just a lot more people who might be available to do it. On average, we have saved two hours per workload, and we have hundreds of workloads. We have taken about a two-hour process down to about 10 minutes in terms of recovery. Zerto is really good at what it does. It has been tremendous.
We can have a single person restoring scores of machines as well as doing DR. Backups are still managed separately. In our case, we did not reduce staff. Our staff was already kind of a limiting factor. We put Zerto in to enable our staff to do more, not to reduce our staff. Therefore, we have tremendously reduced the amount of workloads being handled by specialists.
The most valuable features are the ease of use, i.e., the relatively low complexity of the solution, as well as the speed and effectiveness of the solution. This allows us to protect our workloads with extremely small latency, making it very easy for us to monitor and recover. So, we are very happy with it.
In terms of Zerto providing continuous data protection, I would rate it as a nine out of 10. It is incredibly effective at what it does. I really have no complaints.
I would like to see more managed service= options. While Zerto isn't doing this a lot, there are a ton of third-parties who are doing managed services with Zerto.
For this company, we have only been using it for about six months. However, I have used it at two other companies for a total of about four years.
It is stable.
For our current needs, the scalability seems excellent. The scalability of the solution is really more of a function of your bandwidth and the amount of virtual resources you can point at it. I don't think there is any conceivable scalability limit.
Probably 10 people on my team touch Zerto in a meaningful way:
The heavy lifting is done on the infrastructure side, but the other teams monitor, maintain, and most importantly, test it. This is a big deal because we previously had the infrastructure team do all the testing for us before Zerto. Now, the business unit managers directly in IT can do their own testing, which is a big change for us.
Their technical support is excellent. They have a great support portal, which is easy to use. They are very responsive and generally able to help us with any configuration or performance issues that we run into.
Our previous product was VMware Site Recovery Manager. We switched to get a less complex system that could protect our workloads better and enable faster recovery. Those were kind of the main reasons why we switched.
The initial setup was straightforward.
We deployed Zerto initially with a VAR. They explained the process very well. It was just an initial installation service which included some training. Then, we took over the management of it and have been managing it in-house ever since.
We have seen ROI. The biggest way that we have seen it is in avoided downtime. We have had outages before, and we count downtime in terms of dollars spent. We have cut that down so dramatically, which provides us a very quick ROI. We have drastically reduced the amount of time it takes us to recover workloads, from an average of two hours to an average of 10 minutes.
We measure our downtime in thousands of dollars per minute. While it depends on what is down and who it is impacting, we take in an average of $1,000 a minute at a minimum. So, 120 minutes of downtime at $1,000 is $120,000 per workload that is down, and that can add up very quickly.
My only business complaint is the cost of the solution. I feel like the cost could be a tad lower, but we are willing to pay extra to get the Premium service.
Zerto does a per-workload licensing model, per-server. It is simple and straightforward, but it is not super flexible. It is kind of a one size fits all. They charge the same price for those workloads. I feel like they could have some flexible licensing option possibly based on criticality, just so we could protect less important work. I would love to protect every workload in my environment with Zerto, whether I really need it or not, but the cost is such that I really have to justify that protection. So, if we had some more flexibility, e.g., you could protect servers with a two-, three-, or four-hour RPO at a certain price point versus mission-critical every five minutes, then I would be interested in that.
The costs are the license and annual maintenance, which is the only other ongoing fee. I would imagine a lot of customers also have an initial project cost to get it implemented, if they choose to go that direction, like we did.
We do not currently use it for long-term retention. We have another solution for long-term backup retention, but we are in the second year of a three-year contract, so we will evaluate Zerto when those contracts are up. We will probably test it out. It is certainly something that we will look at. We will also plan to vet having backup and DR in one platform.
The incumbent was Site Recovery Manager, so we evaluated them as an incumbent. We also evaluated Veeam Disaster Recovery Orchestrator. We use Veeam for data backup, and they have a disaster recovery piece. It would have been an add-on to our Veeam, so we evaluated that while also looking at Zerto.
It would be ideal to integrate your backup and disaster recovery into a single solution, so that is a pro whichever way you go with it. Zerto certainly has an answer for that, but so did Veeam. Zerto's replication is superior to anyone else's out there. It's faster, simpler, and effective. I don't think I could get as low an RTO and RPO with any other solution other than Zerto.
When comparing this solution to Site Recovery Manager, pay special attention to the fact that Zerto is hypervisor-agnostic and hardware-agnostic. It is a true software-based solution, which gives flexible options in terms of the types of equipment that they can recover on and to. Ultimately, it is very flexible. It is the most flexible platform for system replication.
I would definitely advise them to give Zerto a chance and PoC it, if they desire. It is the best solution in the marketplace currently and has maintained that for quite some time.
I would give them a nine (out of 10). I really love the solution. I want more Zerto, but I can't afford more Zerto. I would love to protect everything in our environment, but we do have to make a business decision to do that because there is a requisite cost.
We use the solution for two different data center sites. Inside the data centers we use VMware virtualization, NSX stretched VLANs and Dell servers. There are many servers, storage, virtualization, and a myriad of operating systems such as Red Hat and Windows Servers.
We use Zerto to replicate our VMs from one site to the other, where we don't want to have to pay for two licenses of the same thing. We also do this to have high availability or to have the disaster recovery version of a piece of software. It is a benefit to be able to use Zerto to replicate that VM at the second site, and not have to power it on or anything. We know that it's always replicated on the other site. We currently use the solution for disaster recovery only but we are looking at longterm backup retention in the future.
I think it's perfect for providing continuous data protection for us, it is excellent.
The most valuable feature is how simple it is to implement and how quickly you can get up and running at the second site. The solution is also extremely easy to use, for example, You just log onto the console and you can do a test failover with a few clicks. You can run a failover test for your auditors or your management. Afterwards, you can get a report on how easy it was to failover a specific application and the VMs associated with that application.
In future releases, doing backups of the environment we need to be able to do hot backups of the database. Granular based backups of the OS, versus taking a backup of the entire VMDK. Currently, I don't think we are able to do all that right now. Having an agent-based backup is a benefit because you can back up the OS files, and If you have an agent for the database, you can do a hot backup of the database and restore it. You then would have the ability to do an entire VMDK backup. I don't think that they have the ability to do a hot backup of a database itself via an agent or something similar.
I have been using this solution for four years.
We have a couple hundred people using the solution within the organization. The solution is very stable, you set it up and you can forget it. When we have had issues where we lost the connectivity to a data center, we were easily able to bring up the VMs of a data center that was available using Zerto.
It's very easy to add new hosts and the VRAs get to pull it out automatically. It's very easy to scale, at more sites. We are already increasing and adding more data centers that Zerto can protect for us. We are very pleased with it.
The customer service is stellar. They always answer and they are very helpful. I have had very good relationships with the sales executives and sales engineers. If the team at the technical support cannot get an issue solved, then our pre-sales engineers will get on calls with us and help us sort through problems. They have been great.
We were using SRM, VMware's Site Recovery Manager before we switched to Zerto. We did the switch because we were impressed with the demo that was given to us. Additionally, SRM was very complicated and cumbersome.
The setup was easy and demo replication was simple too. The initial process started by us building out the VMs of the virtual machines, as per their requirements. We deployed the manager, based on all the log information of the vCenter. You then select the data storage and it installs the VRA out on your environment. Once that is done, you put together the virtual protection groups and you build out your replication site, it is very easy.
Our deployment took about a month to go through everything with three different staff members and for the maintenance, we have one technician. Make sure that we grouped everything properly together, based on the network and its functions, and how it should be brought back up etc.
I have saved days and even weeks of working time from using the solution. We are in the process right now of designing a new cloud infrastructure for one of our environments to utilize Zerto to replicate our VMs to our cloud. It is going to be a huge time saver, probably saving us a couple hundred thousand dollars. We've definitely seen some good return on investment with it. Our auditors are impressed by it.
This solution is far less expensive than SRM and NetBackup. After the standard licencing cost there is an annual support contract, nothing that we were shocked about.
We have also used NetBackup but Zerto was much easier to set up.
When trying to think of improvements I cannot think of anything to critiques at this time because it does behave so amazingly well. I've been involved with other SRM implementations and SRM is very complicated to put together and to configure, whereas Zerto is just so easy out of the box. Overall, the solution probably has saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars or maybe millions.
Some of the important lessons we have learned are you need to plan your DR carefully. That is the most important. Also, make sure that your applications are grouped together, be cognizant of the different virtual networks they go into. For example, If you have a web frontend DMZ that goes into one component, where the application and the database are in another place. You need to be careful on what networks you are sending them to at the replication site, be aware of that.
I highly recommend Zerto. I speak about the product all the time. I think that it is priceless what it does for us.
I rate Zerto a ten out of ten.
We are using it for disaster recovery for our day-one applications that need to be up first, upon failover.
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.
The most valuable features would be the
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.
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.
I've been using Zerto for coming up on four years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We use it for disaster recovery. We use it for some testing. And we use it for hot backups on databases.
This past summer we had multiple hurricanes down south. We host for our clients, and what we did was proactively move them from their location down south up to our Boise data center in Idaho. We were able to do that with Zerto.
When you need to fail back or move workloads, Zerto decreases both the time it takes and the number of people involved. I was actually part of a project to move a data center, and we used Zerto to move it. We moved 20,000 virtual machines and the downtime was just a reboot of each machine. Before, it probably would have taken at least six people in multiple teams to do it, whereas in this move it was just two engineers from the same team who did it.
In addition, we recently had a corrupt database that we recovered using Zerto. If we didn't have Zerto, we would have had to do a restore and we would have had a loss of data of up to 24 hours, because the backups were done every 24 hours. In this case, we were able to roll the database back to a point in time that the DBAs deemed had good data. There was very little data loss as a result. Using Zerto in that situation saved us at least eight hours and from having to use multiple teams.
In that situation, for the recovery we would have done a restore from backup. The problem is we would have had X amount of hours of data loss. I don't know how long it would have taken the DBAs or our developers or app owners to reproduce the information that would have been lost. That could have ended up taking days. I've seen it take days in the past to recreate data that was lost as part of the recovery process.
Another point is that the solution has reduced the staff involved in overall backup and DR management. The big thing is that it reduces the teams involved. So rather than having the SAN team involved, the backup team involved, and the virtualization engineers, it ends up being just the virtualization engineers who do all the work. It has reduced the number of people involved from six to eight people down to a single engineer.
The most valuable features of this solution is the ease of use. In the event of a disaster, you don't need a technical person to actually run the software. You can bring anybody in, with the right instructions and credentials, and they can run the solution.
Having been in disaster situations myself, one of the things that a lot of companies miss is the fact that, during a test, it's all hands on deck, but during a disaster not all those hands are there. I don't know what the statistics are, but it's quite infrequent that you have the ability to get the technical people necessary to do technical stuff. I was also part of the post-9/11 disaster recovery review, and one of the key conversations was about situations where an organization had the solution in place but they didn't have the people. Their solutions were quite complex, whereas with Zerto you can do it with a mouse. You can do it with non-technical staff, as long as you have your documentation in proper order.
I've been doing disaster recovery for 20 years and, in my opinion, the solution's continuous protection is the best on the market. The ability to do the split-write, without any interruption to the production server, and the ability to roll back to any point in time you desire, are two really key features. The back-end technology, the split-write and the appliances, they've got that down very well.
There's room for improvement with the GUI. The interface ends up coming down to a personal preference thing and where you like to see things. It's like getting into a new car. You have to relearn where the gauges are.
I'd also like to see them go to an appliance-based solution, rather than our standing up a VM. While the GUI ends up depending on personal preference, the actual platform that the GUI is created on needs to go to an appliance base.
Another area for improvement I'd like to see is the tuning of the VRAs built into the GUI. It's a little cryptic. You really have to be a very technical engineer to get that deep into it. I'd like to see a little better interface that allows you to do that tuning yourself, rather than trying to get their engineer and your engineer together to do it.
I've been using Zerto for five years.
We had a rough start, but in defense of that, we were doing a lot of going long-distance with what we had.
The thing that I liked most about the problems that we had was that Zerto wasn't afraid to admit it. They also weren't afraid to put us in touch with the right staff on their side. It wasn't a big deal for me to talk to their developer. Normally, when you're at that level, the developers are shielded from customers, whereas with Zerto it was a more personal type of service that I got. We had a problem and they put me in touch with the developer who developed that piece of the solution and we brought it to resolution.
It's very scalable. We grew from just a few hundred to a few thousand pretty quickly, and there were very few hiccups during that process.
Out of the gate, when you call their number, they could do better.
The thing is that I've developed such a good relationship with all of them, at all levels at Zerto, that I know who to call. If you're off the street and you call in, you're going to get that level-one support who's going to move you through it. When I call in, they put me right through to the level-two support and I move from there. It's like any support, if you know the right people, you can skip the helpdesk level and go right into the engineering.
The disaster recovery solution for the company I'm currently with was the typical restore from backups. They were using SAN replication as part of it.
Personally, I've used many solutions over the years, starting with spinning tape, boot-from-disk, and then as we virtualized the data center, we started doing SAN-based replication. I've deployed and supported VMware Site Recovery Manager under different replication solutions, and then moved into Zerto. Prior to Zerto I used several different vendors' products.
Having been in disasters, living in Florida and experiencing them, I understand what it takes to recover a data center. I worked for my city in Florida and volunteered in the emergency operation center. Not only did I sit in technical meetings on how to recover computers, but I also sat in meetings on how to recover the city. So I have a different perspective when it comes to disaster recovery. I have a full view of how and what it takes to recover a city, as well as how and what it takes to recover a data center. Using that background, I pull them together.
As a result, I first look for a solution that works. That's key. If it doesn't work, it's out the door. The second factor is its ease of use. It has to be very easy to use, just a few clicks of the mouse and you're able to do a recovery. Zerto meets my requirements.
Not only was the initial setup simple, but upgrades actually work and backward compatibility during the upgrades work. I've been doing IT for 25 years and it's one of the few solutions that I have come across where backups work, not only doing the actual backup, but they're compatible with what you have in place. Upgrades are very impressive and very seamless.
I started with working with Zerto during the 4.5 version. Right after we deployed that we went to 5.0. The length of time really varies depending upon your engineering platform process. I did the PoC and all the documentation, and then I did the deployment into production. I spent a few days on the PoC because I needed to know what its performance impact was going to be on the host, on the VMs. Then I had to see what the replication impact was going to be as well.
And documentation took me a couple of weeks. Because I've been in disasters, when I do documentation I do it so that I can hand it to anybody, literally, including—and I've done it—to the janitor. I've handed the documentation to the janitor and I've had them sit down and do a recovery. I'm picky on documentation.
The actual sit-down at the keyboard to do the deployment, after everything was in place, including getting a service account, getting the VM deployed, etc., was quick. In one day we had it up and running.
I tend to do it myself because I'm old-school. I want to know how it works right from the ground up so that if I have to do any trouble shooting, I know where not to go to look at things. If you understand how something works, you can troubleshoot a lot faster.
I'm the lead architect, engineer, and troubleshooter. We have about four other people who are involved with it. We have several people because of our locations. We have more here, in the Idaho area, than we do in our other data center. We have one down in the southeast, hurricane area, of the United States. They're not expected to do a whole lot of disaster recovery, whereas we are.
I don't dive too much into the pricing side of things, but I'd like to see better tiering for Zerto's pricing. We do multi-tier VMs. I don't think I should be paying a penalty and price for a tier-three VM where I don't need a really tight SLA like I do for a tier-one.
Also, if we're looking to replace the data center backup solution, I have VMs that I may not need for a week in the event of a disaster. I'd like to see a backup price per VM, rather than the tier-one licensing that I currently pay for, per VM. I'd like to see better tiering in regards to the licensing.
We have Commvault, Cohesity, and Veeam. Veeam is probably the closest to Zerto for ease of use. The problem is that Veeam doesn't have the technical background of the split-write that Zerto has. Veeam can be very painful. It can't protect any VM in your infrastructure. Its process of doing snapshots is very painful. Whereas with Zerto, it doesn't matter how busy the VM is, it can protect it. Veeam does not do it that way, but its GUI is pretty easy to use. But again, if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter how easy it is.
Commvault and Cohesity are both complicated solutions. Cohesity is like Veem, it is snapshot technology. Its GUI is okay but it's a little cryptic and that's the thing that I don't like about it. With 25 years of doing IT, I can tell that the interface that Cohesity designed was done by Linux engineers. It's very kludgy with multiple clicks. You've got to know where to go. With Zerto, it's plain and it's simple to use.
Do your homework. Do a PoC. Make sure you have technical people doing your PoC, people who can dive deep into the technology. If you do your due diligence on the PoC, it will win every time. We did the PoC against five other products, and no one could touch Zerto on the technical side of it, at all, and that's besides the ease of use.
What I've learned from using it is to make sure you're able to tune the replication. Like any replication, if you're doing boot from stand or you're replicating your launch from place to place, you have to tune it. I was fortunate. I've been tuning replication for many years. If you're doing long distance, you have very high latency and you need to compensate for that. I worked with Zerto developers and we were able to tune replication to meet our site-to-site requirements. That was a key thing, and that's missed a lot of times. When people deploy the solution, they're not always keeping up with the SLA, and it has nothing to do with how it was deployed. It has to do with the pipe and the latency between site-to-site. That tends to be missed when deploying replication.
It is on our drawing board to look at Zerto for backups and long-term retention. I would say we're going to end up using it. It makes sense, at least from my standpoint, to keep things simple. It already has the data, so why not use it to move it wherever?
When it comes to the fact that it provides both backup and disaster recovery in one platform, I had never thought about the backup piece. When they announced it, it just made sense to me as an engineer with a logical mind. "Hey, I'm already holding the data, shoveling it across states. Instead of putting it here, why not put it over here at the same time?" So I was very excited about a two-for-one product. My company has backup solutions and they're struggling with them. I'm looking to replace their backup solutions with Zerto, probably in 2021.
We're also still looking at doing DR in the cloud rather than in a physical data center. We've done some testing with it. In my previous company we were using it and deployed it around the globe. Due to border restrictions, we had to go to the cloud with it. It was big because we were able to go to the cloud and we didn't have to stand up another data center. I'll be conservative and say that it saved us a few million dollars.
I give Zerto a nine out of 10. The only reason that I'm not giving it a 10 is that I'd like to see the GUI made into an appliance.
It's on-prem only, and we're replicating part of production data centers to the DR location. We use it 100 percent for DR. Zerto, as a product, has a lot of capabilities, but we're only using it to replicate servers for disaster recovery, on-prem.
Providing DR for the entire organization is a big improvement, compared to the previous way we did DR. With the old DR tool we identified the systems that we wanted to protect and we installed agents and installed a server in the remote location and pretty much treated every physical and virtual server the same way. That tool was agent-based and required installation and maintenance of a server on the remote site. Now, the effort involved is a fraction of what it was before. We just click the VMs that we want to protect and they are protected.
Zerto has reduced the number of staff involved in DR.
It has also helped to reduce downtime. With our old solution, something that took 10 to 15 minutes of outage, required one reboot, which took less than a minute, with Zerto. That amount of downtime would have cost our company a couple of thousand dollars.
Zerto's support for different hypervisors is a valuable feature because we have a mixed bag. We have VMware and we have Hyper-V. For us, that was extremely critical when we made the decision. We wanted a single tool that is able to replicate all our virtual servers. At this point, I think the only tool on the market that can do that on-premise is Zerto.
It does a great job of continuous data protection. That's why we're using it for DR. It has the journal, the recovery points. It's doing its job. It's a good tool.
It's extremely easy to use with a very intuitive interface. You can set up a VPG (virtual protected group) and add VMs to it in a couple of clicks. Everything is in a single dashboard and you can do everything from there. If you need some granular information, you click the Analytics and get your RPO or RTO and how much data you would lose if you do a DR at this point in time.
They definitely have room for improvement in a couple of areas. One is role-based access control. Right now, they don't have an identity source so they use the identity of the vCenter or the VMM. If they connected to an identity source like Active Directory and allowed for granular roles and permissions, that would be an improvement.
Another area of improvement is support for clusters. They have very limited support for Microsoft clustering.
Also, integration with VMware could be improved. For example, when a VM is created in vCenter, it would be helpful to be able to identify the VM, by tags or any other means, as needing DR protection. And then Zerto should be able to automatically add the VM to a VPG.
There is definitely room for improvement. But what they have implemented so far, works pretty well.
I have been using Zerto for about five years.
It's pretty stable.
We're always one version behind. The current version is 8.5 and we're running 8. We always wait until at least Update 1 before we upgrade. So when v9 is out, we'll probably upgrade to 8.5, Update 1, or whatever the current update is. Because we are a little bit behind and we're running on a very stable, mature version, we rarely experience issues.
We're running thousands of hosts. Scalability is not a problem.
We plan to keep the product. It's doing a good job.
Our experience with their technical support has been good. But keep in mind that we have a pretty high-level, Premium Support agreement with Zerto. We have a dedicated technical account manager from Zerto, and he has direct access to the developers.
We used Double-Take DR which treated all the physical and virtual servers exactly the same way with agents. Zerto replaced it.
We switched because it is a little bit inefficient to treat all the virtual machines as separate physical servers, because on the DR site you need to install them, you need to configure them. You need to put the agents on both sites and configure the replication relationship. It's very complex. And whenever you need to patch or do some maintenance on the target site, it's double the work because you patch the source and you patch the target—you have a live server at the remote site. With Zerto, as soon as I patch the VM at the source, the updates are replicated to the target immediately.
Zerto's ease of use is very good compared with other similar solutions for replication.
The initial setup of Zerto is quite simple. You build a SQL instance. You build a Windows VM and install the ZVM on it. You integrate it with vCenter and then, from the ZVM, you make sure your firewall ports are open and you push the VRAs down.
Deployment takes a couple of hours, for a relatively big environment. It would typically require 30 minutes of DBA time, an hour or two of Windows engineering time, and another person from VMware for another hour.
It doesn't require any staff for day-to-day maintenance. It's used by our operations team, which is close to 100 people; those are people who have access to it.
It's quite easy and straightforward. We do it with internal labor.
The way we use it there is no return on investment. You can think of Zerto as an insurance policy. We use it to protect our business, but we actually hope that we'll never put it into action.
It's not the cheapest tool, it's expensive. But it's doing a good job.
We pay the standard license, maintenance every year, and we pay for our technical account manager, which is pretty much Professional Services, with our Premium Support.
We looked at other solutions. We own another solution called VMware Site Recovery Manager, SRM. We have licenses for our entire environment and we still decided not to use it. That's how big the difference was in the experience that Zerto provides.
We also compared Zerto with our previous disaster recovery solution, which was called Double-Take DR.
Zerto is much better. It is not a cheap solution. The fact that we decided to buy it when we already had all the licenses for VMware, bundled in our ELA with VMware, should tell you how big of a difference there was.
My advice would be that when you need a tool to bet your business on, as a last resort, make sure you evaluate all the options, test them, and don't be cheap.
The biggest lesson I've learned from using Zerto is that a third-party company can do a better job of protecting the workloads than the vendor. It does a better job than VMware and Microsoft together.
In terms of using the solution for long-term retention, we're evaluating Zerto's offering. It's a new feature. We already have an established backup system, using Symantec. In a couple of years, when we need to refresh Symantec, we might consider it. But at this point we don't use it and we aren't considering it.
We use the Veritas NetBackup solution. They split from Symantec so Veritas is separate, but it was a Symantec solution for backup. We don't use Veeam, we don't use Cohesity, we don't use Rubrik. The only potential is to replace our Veritas/Symantec backup product, in the future, with Zerto Long Term Retention.
If we have a DR situation, we are not planning to fail back. It's not part of our DR strategy. If we need to fail-over a production data center, it means that this data center has been destroyed, it's a smoking hole in the grass. We will be running continuously from the DR data center, which is a full-scale data center.
I would rate Zerto at nine out of 10. There are new features that they're working on, which will be nice to have. That's why I won't rate it a 10, but overall it's a really good, stable, easy-to-use product.
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.
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."
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.
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.
My company implemented Zerto in 2016, so we've been live with their product for a little over four years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We needed Zerto in order to provide a disaster recovery solution for the entire organization. We use it to replicate some resources on-prem and for quick recovery. We also use Azure to replicate for disaster. If we ever have a catastrophic failure or attack at our main headquarters, we could failover and run our resources in Azure.
We don't use Zerto for backup, we use Veeam. Once the new long-term retention features are added to Zerto, then we will investigate using it for that and possibly dropping Veeam.
There wasn't anything in place that compares to what we're getting from Zerto. Before Zerto, we didn't have a proper disaster recovery program or application in place. We had a simple backup solution where we could back up our data every 24 hours. So we went from that to being able to recover full systems within a matter of minutes. With Zerto, if we do have an event or disaster, we know that we can recover from that much quicker than we were able to before.
We use Veeam Backup for data and not for replication so this is purely just for disaster recovery and replication. We don't use it for data backup, we're still using Veeam for that.
Zerto definitely decreases the time and people it takes when we need to failback or move workloads. The benefit of using it with the Cloud is that we don't have to maintain extra hard work or an extra infrastructure for disaster recovery. With Zerto and Azure, it can all be done essentially by one person. If we're restoring data and systems from the cloud, it can all be controlled from the Zerto interface, whether it's on-premise or in the Cloud. To move the data back, depending on the size of the disaster, if we were to have to rebuild our hardware on-premise, that would obviously require more people. But if it's just a matter of restoring data from the Cloud, it would only need one person. Whereas before, you could probably still do it with one person, but the amount of time that would take would be a lot longer. We would have had to rebuild servers to restore the data. With Zerto, we can restore entire servers from our Cloud repository and have them up and running, it would just be dependent on the speed of the internet. Zerto could easily save us days of time.
It saves us time in data recovery situations due to ransomware. If we had a ransomware attack, we could have our systems available for investigation and run our environment entirely in Azure, separate from our on-prem network. With Zerto as well, we could also recover our systems to the point in time before the ransomware attack happened, ensuring that it doesn't happen again. With our resources in the Cloud, we can scan it for infections and pull it out if it's been lying dormant. The big benefit against ransomware is that we can easily just go back in time to the point before the attack.
The ability to do DR in the Cloud rather than in a physical data center has enabled us to save money. It has saved us quite a bit of money by utilizing Cloud resources, instead of buying a whole new recovery site on-premise. We did an analysis of the buy and one of the reasons why we went with Zerto on Azure is because of the amount of money that we would save over a five-year period. Based on our analysis, it saved us roughly $25,000 a year.
The one-click failover feature is very valuable because of the ease of use as well as the little to no data loss with the constant replication in journaling technologies that it has.
The one-click failover feature is really valuable to us because we need a solution that's easy to use. There's the potential that myself or other staff may not be available at the point of the disaster and it would be possible to have somebody who may not know the technology be able to initiate a failover on our behalf by simply just asking them to click a button.
The important features of having little to no loss of data are extra valuable because if we do have a failover event or an event where we need to initiate a failover for disaster, having no data loss is really important because if we were to have a disaster where we needed to initiate the failover for recovery, and if there was data loss, that's lost time from staff. It's also really hard to tell what data is lost and what has to be made up. We have certain resources here that can't afford any sort of downtime or loss of data.
Its journaling technologies are always sending replicated data up so that we can view what the recovery point objectives would be in real-time. We can see it could be a matter of six seconds to a couple of minutes, and that gives us peace of mind that things are moving constantly so that when we do have a failure, we can go back to pretty much any point in time that we want and have our systems available again.
Zerto is very easy to use, the interface makes it really easy. The wizards that are available, the how-to guides, and the support from Zerto has made it really easy to use. With little to no training, we were able to get it up and running in the test environment in under a day. The interface makes it really easy to use from using it from day to day, setting up new jobs for replications, or even restoring data.
Long-term retention of files is a function that isn't available yet that I'm looking forward to them providing. The long-term retention is the only other thing that I think needs improvement.
We have been using Zerto for around nine months.
Zerto is very stable, we have not had any issues with it so far.
Scalability is fantastic. It can go from a very small number of machines up to a very large number of machines without any issue. We started small and they included more and more to it and I haven't had any issues. We have not had any problems scaling across sites to other sites within the organization and integrating it all together. It's as advertised that it can be in any environment of any size. It scales very well.
Only one or two people are required for the maintenance of this solution. As the manager of technology and infrastructure, I and the system administrators do the maintenance. I mostly work with it. One of my other staff works with it from time to time, but for the most part, it just does its thing and we don't really need to do a whole lot with it.
Zerto is used extensively in my company in the sense that it is our primary disaster recovery solution. It is used for servers throughout the County for all departments. Every system that we have in place relies on Zerto for DR. As servers increase, we will add those servers to Zerto, for disaster recovery purposes. It's completely integrated into our system.
Zerto hasn't reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and DR management only because we have a small team to begin with. Our infrastructure team that I'm in charge of is only six staff. So DR and backup is one job amongst many, for all the staff here. The amount of time dedicated hasn't changed a whole lot for us.
Their support is fantastic. Anytime we've had an issue, which has been not too many, they've been very good to resolve any issues.
We also use Veeam and it is really easy to use too. They're both easy programs to use. If anyone can use Veeam, they can use Zerto. I wouldn't say Zerto's any easier or Veeam's any harder. They do different things; Veeam does back up really well. If you need a backup solution, Veeam is far cheaper. Whereas Zerto is fantastic at disaster recovery and replication, but when it comes to backup, that's not really what it's made for. Moving forward that may change. But Zerto is definitely a much costlier program compared to Veeam but it does a lot more.
Zerto itself was straightforward to set up. There was good documentation available and we utilized some of their engineering services to help set up as well. For the size of the products and the complexity that it can do, the actual setup and operations over this are quite easy. It took a couple of days, which included getting everything in Azure set up properly.
The implementation strategy that we did was to create the on-premise environment for a dedicated network, virtual machines, and the installation. Then Azure would become our disaster recovery site in the event that we needed it if we had a disaster on-premise, we could failover all of our services and servers that we needed to in Azure. Then our client computers would connect to them while in the Cloud while be prepared for recovery on-premise.
We utilized a third-party consultant to assist with setting up our Azure environments and Zerto technicians helped us set up Zerto on Azure. Our experience was really good. There were some challenges and there was lots of learning to do, but overall, the experience was good. The staff from Zerto were exceptionally good. They really know the product well, helped quite a bit, and provided instructions and training on how to use it outside of that.
I think that return on investment will come in the event that we do have a disaster that we need to recover from. We have seen some ROI from Zerto by moving virtual machines between data centers, where that has saved us a lot of time. The technology not only is useful for disaster recovery, but also for server maintenance and moving resources between posts and impairments. Before, it could take hours to copy virtual machines, even days. We use Zerto to move resources around with little to no downtime in a lot quicker time. So we were able to save staff time and resources by using Zerto.
It wouldn't have cost us too much with the government. It's hard to equate a lot of downtime to dollars and cents for us because it's more so around staff time and convenience. We have long-term care homes that we need that are up all the time. And any of those maintenance windows we usually schedule after hours. So it's more of an inconvenience for IT staff to work overnight instead of during regular business hours.
Zerto is not cheap; however, it is worth the cost. The licensing model is easy. You buy based on the amount of virtual machines you want to protect and go from there. Even though it is not a cheap program, you do get what you pay for, but overall it became cheaper than maintaining a separate data center.
We looked at Cohesity, Rubrik, and Commvault. Veeam does replication as well, but it doesn't do it nearly as well. We looked at a few other solutions from Dell. We went with Zerto because it had all the disaster recovery functions that we needed, the ability to recover within minutes with minimal to no data loss, and is integrated well with Azure.
I would recommend doing the free proof of concept exercise with Zerto pre-sales engineers and work with them to discuss your environment and then review their recommendations on implementation. From time to time do the free training. I highly recommend doing that. Get your hands on this software and try it out first before doing the production implementation.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that disaster recovery doesn't have to be hard.
I would rate Zerto a ten out of ten. I don't rate many things ten, but Zerto offered me exactly what they're upfront with, what it will do, and it's doing exactly what they said it would do.
We use Zerto for DR purposes, we replicate what's critical to continue business. We replicate it from our headquarters to another state, a DR site. If something happens to the headquarters where we are located we could run the continued business from the DR site with Zerto.
It improved the way we function because we know that in the event of a disaster, we can easily recover our state of being in a rather quick amount of time. If there's malware, for example, we can go back to a point in time, up to five seconds before the malware started, and start production from that point on, undoing all the damage that the malware did. The ability to do that is a very good feature. It has replication and DR, but at the same time, if something happens with malware and it compromised your backups and compromised your offsite remote copies, you have that third option of saying, "We'll go to Zerto and see if we can reverse back from that point." That's pretty comforting.
If we need to fail back on work we would absolutely use Zerto for that. We'd probably do that first before we tried the backups. It's easier to do that than to try to look for the backups.
Zerto decreases the amount of time spent trying to get everything back online. That's the most important part. If something happened, I could just go back. It would take me around 15 minutes to locate something and launch it fairly quickly. If you're doing it from a backup, you're probably going to look for a good backup, launch it, then it's got to set up. So you're looking at an hour, maybe, if you're lucky. It's a big difference.
We once had a server and there was some software and one of the controllers in the software wouldn't boot up and we did not have a copy. It was a brand new server, so we didn't have a backup copy of it just yet. We used Zerto to go back. It was in Zerto, but it wasn't on backups yet. We were replicating it just in case and we used that to restore the server back. I called support who walked me through it fairly quickly. The whole thing took around 15 to 20 minutes. It was easy. If we had used a different solution, it would have taken us an hour or maybe two. We would have needed to find the backup and then mount it. We would then launch code or a bunch of series of Wizards. Zerto is always running so if we need to get something, we just highlight, and then we go to more, and whatever we want to do, it's right there. We don't have to turn it on. We don't have to get it going. It's always running. Backups are in a stopped state, so we would have to get it going first, then look for something, then mount it, and then do whatever we're going to do. There are four steps there, versus with Zerto where it's, "Oh, it's in this VPG," go to more, it gives you all the actions you could do, clone, delete, copy and you just do it.
Zerto has reduced the number of staff involved in data recovery because it's only two people who manage the Zerto platform. It's mostly me. I do about 80% to 90% and then 10% is my supervisor. He's more into the meetings anyway. We require two people.
The replication is the most valuable feature. It's almost like a tape recorder. You can rewind if you need to, if something bad happens. You can rewind the tape and your production begins where your tape left off. Where you want it can be replayed for such a purpose.
Zerto is very good at providing continuous data protection. For replication purposes, it's definitely better than Veeam. Veeam doesn't do as good a job as Zerto does when it comes to replication. The other alternative would be to just have backups somewhere. But even with backups, you lose a lot of time because you have to set it all up. With Zerto, you failover, you just click a couple of buttons and you run from the other location.
It's very easy to use. Every morning I go into the dashboard and I can tell the health of the VPG groups. If there's a problem or anything, I'll see it in the active alerts. So the dashboard is pretty simple. There's a status that tells you if the RPOs are falling behind, or from what you set it to, there's a reminder that tells you when to do the failover test. I like that. If I'm going to add a server to a VPG, I just go to the VPG section of the menu, find our group, select it, and then edit it, go to VMs, and there it is. It gives it to me side by side. It tells me what is unprotected on the left, and then this is protected on the right. I can move from unprotected state to protected state or I can remove something that's in a protected state to an unprotected state. It always tells me at the dashboard from the bottom, how many licenses I have, and how many I'm using. I don't go over my license count where I might not be protected. It's pretty easy.
We've never had a situation where we had to go to Zerto for downtime. It's just protection, but we haven't had the situation where we've had to failover. Hopefully, we never do. It's like car insurance. You want car insurance, but you don't want to get into an accident.
The improvement that I would like to see is a little bit easier product knowledge, things like that. It's getting a lot better than it was before because it's not as old of a product as Cisco, but if you look for something like Cisco routing and networking, you'll find millions of articles out there and it's everywhere. It's prolific. So with Zerto, you have to find it within the Zerto application. Hopefully, as they grow, it'll be more out there on the net. Same thing with Microsoft. If you look for a problem with Microsoft, you're going to find millions of articles on it, maybe it's just because they've just been around for so long. I'm hoping that one day Zerto is just as prolific and can be found everywhere.
I have been using Zerto for two years.
Zerto is very stable. There are very few errors. I just don't see any errors. The only one time we had an issue with it was with journals. We were filling up too much and we called support and they walked us through it. We found out that we were replicating a temporary drive and it's not good practice to back up temporary drives because they constantly change when it's not even necessary. So we removed the temporary drives and we never had that problem again.
I'm a system administrator.
If you were doing recovery from a backup, you'd probably want at least two people looking through backups quickly to speed up locating them. You might need somebody to set up a mount server to mount the backups on. You can get away with three people but you might need three depending on how urgently you want to get going. It depends.
For DR management, if I was with another solution I would require more people. If you have a Dell EMC, they have storage administrators that that's all they do. And so that's a dedicated position. I'm a system administrator, which means that I do the storage, I deal with the servers. It allows me to do a lot of things, not just one thing.
Scalability is excellent. We have one here, we have the one there. I know we could add another ZVM, another location, or another DR site if we wanted to. That's been in the talks for a long time. It's on pause now because of COVID-19. But if at some point we decide that we want to add a secondary DR site that is geographically opposed to where we are now, then we could replicate one, two, and three at the same time. It's got good potential to be increased.
We have about 20 to 50 servers in Maryland and we replicate all the critical, essential ones that would be required to continue to run business to North Carolina. Everything is virtual, which helps us out. We have one Zerto virtual manager here, we have a Zerto virtual manager in North Carolina, and we do failover every six months just to make sure that it works. As a matter of fact, we have a failover test coming up that we have a test of failover to make sure that it's continuing to work.
The support is very good. I've used them before. When we had the journal issues, it was easy to resolve the issue. We've done upgrades on the versions and they've always been very responsive. If I do a P1, which is critical or they do a P4, which is just information, they respond fairly quickly.
We've used Veeam for backup. Before Veeam, we used Unitrends, which is even worse. It didn't work.
Zerto's good for DR replication. I don't think anybody does it better. Veeam is good for short-term backups. It doesn't do well with the replication part at all - even they say it. I've spoken to reps who agree and say that Zerto's better at it than they are.
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. You set up a ZVM here and there and tell it the direction you want it to replicate in to. You can create an EPG to the journal that goes attached.
Because we were setting it up in the middle of things, it took around one month.
We did have a strategy of how to put those servers here, build servers there, and IP addresses we were going to assign to it. We did have some sense of where we were going to put things.
We used the reseller who helped us with the deployment. They were great. It was easy. No problems with it.
We bought it through CTI.
I think we do see ROI. We need a defensive posture to protect ourselves.
Pricing is okay. You don't use Zerto to put all of your servers in Zerto. The purpose of it is you take what is absolutely critical to continue running your business, whatever servers are in your business continuity plan. Those are the ones that you put in Zerto. Then you'll be fine in the licensing because if you just buy 200 licenses or 300 licenses and you're backing up a utility server or any server that's not essential, then your bosses are going to think you're spending too much money. But if you just zero in on what's critical and back that up with licensing, you'll be fine.
There are no additional costs that I'm aware of. We have the licensing fees that come up and then that's it, as far as I know.
We had a couple of proposals. We had the one from Veeam but we realized really quickly that it doesn't work for replication. The other alternative would have been to save the backups to the offsite location, have servers there, and load backups at the server location. That takes a lot of manual labor so we decided Zerto would the best option.
We don't know what we're going to do for long-term retention. We use it for DR purposes only. But we are still looking at the long-term retention and what to do with it.
I would say if you're looking for true DR protection with minimal recovery time, then Zerto is probably going to be the one. If the objective is minimum time to recover, then this is the product you need to buy. If you want to spend time trying to set up again in a disaster, then there are a lot of things out there and for ransomware too. We have about a five-minute window where once data is compromised beyond five minutes, it's useless. So we need to keep the window to about five minutes. Because of that, Zerto is really going to have to do that at this point in a cost-effective way to recover.
I like Zerto. You learn different things as you use it more and more, so you become more competent with it as you use it. I know that if you do have an issue, as with most other vendors, the easiest solution is to provide the logs as soon as you can, and then they're better prepared to respond if you do it that way.
I would rate Zerto a nine out of ten. Nothing is perfect.
We use it for DR as well as migration. We have four data centers and migrate workloads between them.
We don't use it for backup.
We had some ransomware that got on and infected the corporate shared drives. It was just one system and one user type of thing. It didn't spread because we had it locked down pretty well. So, I just bumped the server back entirely so we did not have to worry about it.
We have only had one instance, and it wasn't widespread, where we had ransomware. The RPO was approximately 20 minutes. We had an active snapshot from when the incident happened, because we couldn't really iron it down. Therefore, Zerto saved us time in this data recovery situation because I didn't have to rebuild the thing or do a SnapMirror.
If we had used a different solution, it might have taken a week for our data recovery situation instead of 20 minutes with four or five technical folks (not including management), instead of just me. This is because we didn't have anything documented and just counted on Zerto to do it. I don't know what the company had set up previously since I'm new, but at the previous place that I've experienced malware, you would have to stand everything up from scratch and scrape through all your backups and differentials.
We use in the data center if there is a live event that could cost the company millions of dollars, which I haven't experienced, e.g., if our data center were to explode or get hit with a meteor, then ceases to exist. We have the option to go in and flip a switch. That has never happened. However, our tests using SRM went from a day to minutes when we switched to Zerto.
The most valuable feature is DR. In my opinion, there is nothing better at what it does.
The solution provides fantastic continuous data protection. We do a lot of spin up test environments depending on what happened, then make changes and rip it down. Or, if we got hit with malware, then we use that to do a point-in-time recovery. We custom create software in-house, so we will spin up a test environment to test code deployments or do a copy to do the same thing, if we want it to be around longer than a test recovery. For example, somebody got hit with something, then they infected the server. We were able to restore it back to a point in time before the infection.
It is super easy to use. A non-technical user can get it up in a day. I can get it up in 15 minutes. I've brought it to help desk guys and network operations center guys, and it's easily grasped.
While I am open to transitioning over to using Zerto for long-term retention, the problem is the alerting function in Zerto is very poor. That makes it a difficult use case to transition over.
The alerting has room for improvement as it is the biggest pain point with the software. It is so bad. It is just general alerting on or off. There are so many emails all the time. You have no control over it, which is terrible. It is the worst part of the entire application. I have voiced this to Zerto hundreds of times for things like feature changes. Apparently, it's coming, but there is nothing concrete as to when you can do it.
The stability is fantastic. It has gotten a lot better as far as the maintenance. Initially, it required a lot of prodding and poking. As it sits today, it is really stable, though you sometimes need to mirror the changes in the application to what you have changed in your own infrastructure.
The management once it is already deployed is easy to moderate. Things can get a little goofy with the DRS and if you're shuffling things around. If your infrastructure is pretty static, you're not going to have any problems with Zerto. But, if you move things around or do any updates, you have to come in and make sure everything is good to go. It is not difficult, but sometimes you are required to go in and maintain it. Because we turn off the alerting in most places, you don't know its status without going in and manually looking.
I am the primary Zerto administrator. Therefore, I own the product for my company and use it every day.
Scalability is great. It will scale essentially one-to-one with your virtual infrastructure. However, if you have more hosts and VMs, then you have to go in and manage that many more hosts and VMs.
Four people know it and use it to do things. I'm the primary, then there is another guy who is the direct backup on my team. Then I have trained a couple other people who know how to utilize it in the event of an emergency, e.g., "This is how you would failover X environment." Because it won't automatically do failovers, somebody has to pull the trigger. Therefore, we have documentation in order to do that. It is very simple.
We don't use it for everything, not in both instances where I implemented it or been in charge of running it over. However, it definitely has freed people up to do other things in that space. It only takes me to entirely administer Zerto, instead of a backup and recovery operations team with two or three people.
We are at about 60 percent of use. I would like to see more. We don't do persistent long-term backups or use any of the cloud functionality, though I think we will as we're in the midst of looking at AWS to potentially migrate workloads there. I also very interested in using it as cold storage.
Initially, years ago, the technical support was very poor. We were promised one thing that was physically impossible with the software. I spent a lot of time fighting everybody in support. Since then, the support has been really good. In my experience, they are all mostly stateside. They understand the product inside and out to help you with your needs or come up with some type of creative solution.
At my previous company, we were using SRM and our DR tests would take one to two days. For our primary customer, we switched to Zerto, then it took 15 to 20 minutes instead of days. It was a huge difference. That was from Boise to North Carolina, then back. It was approximately 30 terabytes of data with 19 virtual machines. It was a pretty large orchestration.
SRM was replaced by Zerto due to simplicity. SRM is very complicated. It is also not easy to use and set up. Zerto is better for implementation and ease of use. So, it was a no-brainer.
The initial setup was straightforward, though it could be more straightforward. Now, you just install the software on a Windows system. It would be nice if they had an appliance that autodeployed in VMware. That would make it simple. But if you can install Office or any kind of application on Windows, you can do this. It is super easy to set up with minimal front-end learning required.
The deployment takes about an hour for an experienced person. If it is your first time, then it will take a couple hours.
You need to know your use case for an instance where you need something to be backed up. Once that need is identified, you need to know where it is and where you want it to go. Once you already have those questions answered, the implementation is simple. Through the installation progress, you just plug in those values of where is it, what is it, and where do you want it to go, then you're done.
At the company I'm with now and at my previous company, I was the architect and implementer. Zerto generally requires one person for the setup.
The RTO and RPO are unparalleled. In the event you do have an issue, you can be back up and running (depending on the size of your infrastructure) within minutes. Your RTO can be 15 minutes and data loss be five minutes. I don't think that's matched by anybody else in the field.
It has helped decrease the number of people involved in data center moves. For the infrastructure pieces, which is my primary responsibility, I am the sole person. Whereas, we use to have an OS guy and a network person before to manually configure the pieces. We also had application teams, but they are still relevant. Previously, it took four people because we were touching each environment and machine. Since we wanted it done fast, we would stack a bunch of people on it. Now, it's just me and it's done faster.
When migrating data centers, we have saved a lot of time on my team. Something that takes an hour or two used to take a week or two.
There is big ROI for ease of use, management, and labor overhead versus other solutions.
Zerto is more expensive than competitors, making the price difference pretty high. While it is very expensive, it's very powerful and good at what it does. The cost is why we are not leveraging it for everything in the organization. If it was dirt cheap, we would have LTR and DR on everything because it would just make sense to use it.
We currently use Veeam and Commvault.
In general, moving VMs through VMware using site-to-site is not as easy than with Zerto because the data has to go on flight, and Zerto just sends it over. I like that aspect of it. During our data center moves, we move from one location to another (San Jose) with a two-hour total downtime from start to finish: From powering the systems down, getting them over, getting a live feed changed, and back up and running to the world. This would be way slower with a different product.
For long-term retention, we do Veeam to spinning disk. While the LTR is something I am interested in, I think Veeam has the upper hand with alerting and job management. Both Veeam and Zerto are easy to use, but Zerto is easier to use.
I am not a big Commvault fan.
It could replace Veeam and Commvault, but not at its current price point.
Most people assume catastrophic failures have a long-term data impact. However, with Zerto, it doesn't have to be that way. If you spend the money to protect everything, you are going to get that low data recovery time. Whereas, if you are cheap and don't buy Zerto, it's going to be hours to days of data loss. With Zerto, it is in the minutes. Thus, how valuable is your data? That is where the cost justification comes in.
If you are thinking about implementing this type of solution:
It's that value of time, money, and data. I can implement Zerto and use it in an emergency situation anywhere. If you're talking to somebody like me who understands data protection and disaster recovery, the question is how much is your data worth to you and how fast do you need it back?
Currently, we are doing our own storage as the target for protection, but there is interest in enabling DR in the cloud, e.g., to do Glacier or something cheap in Azure.
I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have been using Zerto for three months.
So far, the stability has been great. We have not had any issues with that.
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.
Their technical support has been very good and prompt to get back to us with answers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We use it for disaster recovery and to migrate machines from one location to another.
The big thing for us was our disaster recovery. At that point, we were only able to do a disaster recovery test once a year. Now, we officially do a disaster recovery test once a quarter and we do a subsequent test once a month to verify that it's doing what it's doing and the IP address is changed. Instead of one mass disaster recovery exercise, we're easily able to perform up to 12 in the year.
It allows us to verify in a much more granular aspect whether our data is being migrated or not. Once a year, if we find some issues, we're at least 11, 12 months behind at that point. Every 30 days, if we do a test and we find an issue, we're able to correct that. The time between tests is shorter, which means that if there is a problem we're able to resolve it in a much shorter amount of time versus an entire year, and then waiting another year to see if everything is working again.
When we need to failback or move workloads Zerto decreases the time it takes and the number of people involved. We are able to put a machine into Zerto, let it do its magic in migrating the data from one side to the other. We've had instances where we've got machines that are four or five terabytes that we can move from one side to another after it's done synchronizing in 15 minutes or less. Sometimes it takes DNS longer to update than it does for us to move the machine.
Instead of me having a server person, a network person, and a storage person, I can put it into Zerto, let Zerto do its job, fail it over, and then just have the application owner verify that the server is up and running, and away we go. So on a weekend, I don't have to engage a team of people, it can just be myself and one other person to verify that the machine is up and running. It really cuts down on overhead for personnel.
In situations of failback or moving workloads, it saves us hours. If I were to have to move a four or five terabyte machine using something like VMware's virtual copy it has to install on the machine and copy the data over. Then it has to shut the machine down and do a final copy, which means there's a lot of downtime while it's doing the final copy. As far as downtime from an application standpoint, with Zerto, we're from hours down to minutes, which is great when you have applications that are supposed to be the five nines of a time kind of thing.
We have not had any ransomware issues. But we have had an instance where somebody installed something that messed something up. It was a new version of Java and we were able to roll back. Thankfully they realized it fairly quickly because we only keep a 12-hour window. We were able to roll back to almost a per minute instance prior to that installation and recover the server in minutes. Our backup was as of midnight, but they did it at 8:00 in the morning. So we didn't lose eight hours' worth of processing.
If we were going to use our backup solution, it would have taken minutes to restore the actual server, but then from an SQL perspective, we would have had to roll the transaction logs from backups. I couldn't even tell how long that would have taken because we had to do all of the transaction logs, which are taken every five minutes from midnight, all the way to 8:00 AM in five-minute increments. It would have taken considerably longer using traditional methods versus Zerto.
Although it hasn't reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and disaster recovery, what it has allowed us to do is actually focus on other things. Since Zerto is doing what it's doing, we're able to not have to stare at it all day every day and make sure that it's working. We have the screen up to make sure there are no errors, but we're able to focus on learning how the APIs work, working on the other products that we own for backup and storage. That's mainly what my group does, we do disaster recovery and storage backups. We have six pieces of our enterprise and before it was just the main piece that we were working on. Now, we're able to actually work with the other five or six entities and start doing their backups and disaster recovery because we have a lot more time.
The failover capabilities are definitely the high spot for us. Previously, when we did disaster recovery it would take us easily a day or two to restore all of our servers. We can do the same thing with Zerto in about an hour and a half.
We're about six or seven seconds behind our production site and it does a really good job of keeping up, making sure that we're up to date. That's one of the other things that we think is just phenomenal about the product, we're able to get in there and put a server in and within usually a few minutes we're protected. Six or seven seconds behind is a pretty good RPO.
Currently, we are using another product for longterm retention, so I don't think we really have any plans on switching over at this point.
Zerto is very easy to use. We did a proof of concept and it took longer to build the Windows servers that had to be installed than it did to actually install it and roll off the product. Our proof of concept became production in minutes.
The interface is the only thing that we've ever really had an issue with. It's gone through some revisions. The UI, it's not clunky, but it's not as streamlined as it could be. Some of the workflow things are not as nice as they could be.
I like the fact that Zerto does what it does and it does it very well. I have had Zerto since version four, so the longterm retention and things like that were never a part of it at that point. I just like the fact that I can install it, I can protect my virtual machines, and I'm comfortable and confident that it's doing things correctly because of the amount of testing that we've done with it.
We have been using Zerto for a little over three years.
It's very stable. Once a month we verify that the internal mechanisms of Zerto are working. When I do a test failover we check if VMware tools come up, if the IP addresses change, and the things that Zerto is configured to do automatically. Usually, if there's an issue, it's either I did something wrong when I configured it, or I put in the wrong IP address or the VM itself has an issue, the tools aren't loading correctly or at all, or it was trying to do an upgrade and failed. We've actually been able to identify other issues inside the environment that we would not have realized were an issue by doing these tests.
Our next step is not so much increasing the capacity but protecting things to the cloud. We'd like to be able to take those same 350 machines or so do we have, and definitely, if not the important 50 that we have, but all of them, have them not only go to our disaster recovery site but also split to AWS. It's where we have both of the sites, one in one location and one in a vastly different location and if for some reason, one were to go offline, we would have those objects in AWS to be able to spin up and do what we need to do.
We ramped up from that 50 to 350 within a year and Zerto just took it and kept on running. We are still about the same RPO as we were before, we're protecting 60 plus terabytes of data at this point with those 350. It did what it had to do to create new virtual machines, depending on how many disks there are. I think that I was able to scale with our needs really easily. 73 terabytes are what we're protecting right now across 357 VMs, and we have a seven-second RPO. It went from a small number to a very large number. The issues that we've had around Zerto protection has either been that networking wasn't sufficient, or the storage itself had to be increased.
There are three of us who work with Zerto, that's it. We do contact other teams, often our networking team to get an IP address for something. But when it comes to doing the testing, when it comes to doing the implementation, and when it comes to doing verification processes, it's all my team of three people.
I am the data management supervisor and then I have a lead storage administrator and a senior storage administrator.
Prior to Zerto becoming our disaster recovery product, we were using Dell EMC's Avamar for backup recovery and for disaster recovery, which we quickly realized was not going to work out very well. We used it for about four or five years. When your disaster recovery test is five days and you take one and a half to two days to do restores only, that doesn't leave a lot of time for testing. Now, we're able to do the restore in an hour and a half. Then we actually can start testing the exact same day that we did the restores. In most instances, we're able to actually finish everything within 24 hours.
When we first purchased it, the backup portion did not exist. So having backup and DR in one platform really wasn't that important to us. We use Rubrik for backups and longterm retention at this point. We really don't have any intent on using Zerto for longterm retention, as we're extremely happy with Rubrik. But time will tell if we decide to switch over to the LTR portion of the product.
Compared to Avamar, Zerto is extremely easy to use. I can bring Zerto up and start recovering, failing over, or testing machines before I can even log into Avamar. Avamar was very clunky from its interface. It's very easy for Zerto to go in and recover a machine to a certain point in time. Where moving around in Avamar, since it was Java based, would take quite a long time to get from screen to screen. And the workflow was not user friendly at all.
We have different use cases for Zerto and Rubrik but I think that the interface and functionality, as far as what I get out of that particular product, what its purpose is, they're both about on par. Honestly, we've told both companies before, we would love for one to buy the other so that we can get the best of the disaster recovery with Zerto and the best of backup and recovery, longterm retention type things with Rubrik. Because they definitely are probably the two best products for their market segment.
Replacing Avamar has saved us on the cost needed to manage them. As far as management goes, we still use the same three people. But as far as renewal maintenance costs, definitely. Dell EMC is very proud of their products and their renewal maintenance costs were rather large compared to what we do with Zerto.
Initially, we saved about $1,000,000 three years ago by switching to Zerto. Zerto and Rubrik replaced Avamar. But buying both products together, versus what the renewal/upgrade costs would have cost us for Avamar, with all the hardware, was a savings of $1,000,000.
The initial setup is very straightforward. I built a couple of virtual machines to run the manager on, deployed some VRAs, and then attached it to VMware and checked what I wanted to protect. We probably had it up and running in about an hour total. Then we tested protecting some machines, and we had some test boxes that we tested back and forth. It was a very easy setup. People are definitely sold about how easy it is to install and configure.
Initially, our deployment strategy was to protect a small subset of very important machines for an enterprise. And then once we saw how easy it was to implement, how easy it was to put things in there, and how easy it was to protect them, it went from a handful of machines to 350 or so. The initial intent was to protect a very small number. That went from that to a very large number very quickly. Zerto was able to handle it no problem. We actually had to end up buying more storage on the target side because we had not planned on doing that many machines from the initial implementation.
We worked with our account team. We were able to get the proof of concept software, a link to download it. They gave us a key, they gave us a little Excel sheet stating how many machines and IP addresses we needed. Then they basically sat on the phone with us for the hour with WebEx. And we set it up just that moment. That's really the only implementation help that we've ever gotten from them. Everything else has just been pretty much us on our own.
Their support has been very, very good. We've had some technical issues that we've been able to work through with them. Nothing major, but if I have a question or if we run into an issue, we're able to either open up a support ticket and they respond fairly quickly, or we are able to do some searching in their knowledge base. We've had an instance where we did the upgrade to a new version and it caused some problems. But within, I'd say a few hours, we were able to correct it because they had already experienced that. And they had that logged in their internal database of issues. So, they were able to log in, and give us the fix that we needed and get us back on track.
It definitely is a very robust product. The feature set from 4.0, 4.5 to now has increased greatly. We do like the fact, even though we're not using it, that as long as I pay my maintenance when the new features come out like longterm retention, analytics, the monitoring, the reporting, the things that were not there when we first purchased it that are there now, is all part of maintenance. It's not a bolt-on price. They don't charge extra. It was one of the things with Dell EMC that was always a pain was. They had additional costs. With Zerto it's like, "You paid your maintenance, here's a new feature, enjoy!"
They have licensing breaks as far as 50 users, or 50 VMs, 100 VMs, 250 VMs. We ended up with a bunch of 50 at first, and all of our maintenance renewal dates were all different. It ended up costing us more because we didn't just make the investment up front to say that we wanted 250. We had to end up going back and resetting all of our maintenance dates to the same date. It was just a nightmare for our maintenance renewal person. If you did a proof of concept and you like it, definitely make the license investment upfront. That way, you're not trying to piecemeal it afterwards.
Licensing is all-inclusive, there are no hidden fees.
We looked at RecoverPoint for VMs. A long time ago, one of the companies inside this enterprise had used RecoverPoint and it worked really well when it was the physical RecoverPoint. But as things became more virtual, it no longer was as good as it had been, so they had discontinued it. RecoverPoint for VMs was definitely not as easy to set up. It was not as easy to use. It took a lot more resources. This is three-year-old information, but I feel like we would have had to have had more people on our team than we do now with just the three of us. We didn't feel like it was as stable. It certainly wasn't as easy to use, test, or get to work as Zerto was.
My advice would be to do the proof of concept. They're very willing to help you with the installation. Do a proof of concept. If you're not amazed by it, I would be surprised. Everybody that we've ever talked to about this and have done a test of it says, "I can't believe it's just that easy."
I would rate Zerto a ten out of ten.
We have servers in Houston and we have servers at a DR site, we need to be able to make sure that they're replicated in some form or fashion. That's what we use Zerto for, to replicate between our primary site and our DR site.
The biggest improvement for us was going from a possible 24-hour lag on our backups to real-time lag. With the hurricanes here in Houston, buildings losing power, and so on, it was nice having the ability to just go flip a switch and we're live with current data as opposed to we're live with what happened yesterday.
Zerto has helped to decrease the number of people involved when we need to failback workloads. It's a much smaller number. It's time-consuming because of the way it works, but it's not overly overbearing. Instead of taking a better part of the day or two to get everything up and running, it really only takes us three or four hours. It has also decreased the number of people we need. It would take three or four of us to bring up servers, make sure they're all running, test them, and all that stuff. Now, it takes one person to bring them all up and then there's a couple of us to test it, so we have half or less of what it used to take.
We've never had a ransomware issue. The reasons for our failover has typically been natural disaster caused.
Pretty much all of the features are valuable. The biggest thing we use it for is replication, so the ability to set up our virtual server, set it to replicate, and Zerto handling everything else is the biggest feature that we like.
The continuous data protection is great. We love it because we can see exactly how many seconds behind real-time we are, which is usually under 10 seconds. It keeps things up to date. We love the product.
We currently don't use it for long-term retention. It's something we may look at in the future, but that's not the product we're using for that.
Zerto is very easy to use once everything's set up, which isn't difficult. It takes a little bit of time to make sure all the network stuff is all set up properly, but once everything's set up, using it day to day is very simple.
Zerto has saved us money by enabling us to do DR in the cloud rather than in a physical data center. Our DR is to a physical data center. We don't put our data in the cloud.
For what we got it for, it does it great. I use a different solution for my disk-to-disk local backups to where I can have a local backup of files. I don't think Zerto does that well to where it keeps a memory of the files that are there. Basically, when something is deleted on Zerto, it gets deleted on the replicated version. So, some sort of snapshotting or something where I could have backups at different points in time of files would be a really helpful tool.
We have been using Zerto for five years.
Stability is great. The only downtime we have is during upgrades and patches. I really haven't had any problems with the platform or stability.
The time it takes to update or patch depends on the size of the patch. Major upgrades take a little bit longer, but I mean, it's typically a couple of hours at the most. It's not a huge thing.
Scalability has been great. It continues to grow as we grow. I haven't had any problems with it.
Zerto is being used 100% across our environment.
We've got about 11 servers doing backups in the 20 to 25 terabyte range most of the time.
Only I work with Zerto in my company.
The two times that we've contacted technical support, we didn't have any problems. They've been helpful. They made sure we got the issue resolved and did very well with it.
We previously used Veeam. We switched because of real-time backups. Veeam was a point-in-time backup. We said, "You're going to back up at this time." It took a snapshot and backed it up. Zerto just continually backs it up and makes sure that we're currently up to date and matching the server at your primary.
We use Zerto primarily for disaster recovery to the DR site. We still use Veeam for our backup disk-to-disk local for file backups.
Once Zerto is set up and running it is much more hands-off. You don't really have to do anything. You just log in to check, make sure everything's going well, and you're pretty much done. With Veeam, I feel like I have to check in a little bit more often, make sure the backups are running properly, making sure all the files are there, and everything like that. There is a little bit more checking to do on a regular basis.
I don't know if we would have failed over with Veeam because of the amount of time it took and coming back online at the primary site. I don't know that we would have failed over, which would have been probably five or six days of downtime. If we had failed over, we'd probably have lost two or three days in one direction, and probably another two or three days coming back to the primary.
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It took a little while to make sure we had everything connected right, and that it was going to the right place, but it's no more difficult than any other setup for something like this. I didn't find it difficult at all.
If you don't include seeding and you only include the setup and deployment, it only took us a day or two of planning and then another day of actually implementing it. The seeding took a while, but that's to be expected.
In terms of our implementation strategy, we were using a different product back then, which wasn't as up to date and live. We were just backing up at night, so we had a nightly snapshot that was being transferred to our DR site. Our strategy with Zerto was to get us to more of a real-time backup solution at the DR site and make sure everything was good. That was the entire purpose of going with Zerto.
We used a third-party integrator for the deployment. We used Centre Technologies and they were great. We've used them for other stuff and we didn't have any problems with it and never have.
The one time we had the failover and run at the DR site, instead of having two or three days of downtime, we really had less than one day of downtime. If you measure that in how much money we were able to make that day, it's around $200,000 to $300,000.
We are on the lowest license because we don't exceed the number of servers for the base license, so I don't have a lot of information about licensing. The price of it was comparable, if not better than what we were paying for Veeam. I have no problem with the pricing at all.
There are no additional costs to the standard licensing.
Make sure you know how long it's going to take to do your initial seeding. If you've got a lot of data, and you're doing it over a pretty good distance, just make sure your pipe is big enough for the initial seeding. Once the seeding's done, pipe size doesn't matter, but the initial seeding can take a good amount of time over a small-ish pipe if you're replicating a lot of data.
For our largest servers to seed can take a full week or to 10 days for one server, for our large file server to seed is about seven terabytes, but we don't have a huge pipe at our DR site. We negotiated to increase the pipe size temporarily while we were doing the seeding, and that reduced the time drastically on how long it took to seed. I can't really give a number or what to look for. I would just have that conversation with Zerto about how long a certain pipe is going to take. How long is it going to take to seed using whatever pipe size based on the amount of data that they have.
Make sure all of your notifications are set up well when it fails. It takes a little tweaking and making sure that everything is set up right, but when you want to make sure you're notified if you get outside your SLA on how long the backups are trailing, making sure all that's set up properly is key.
I would rate Zerto a nine out of ten.
We do a semiannual disaster recovery test, usually one in January and another in September, where we fail our entire company over to our Arizona DR facility. We run the business out of the Arizona location for the day. In order to be able to do that, the Zerto application allows us to migrate 58 machines over to that location and allows us to run our business from that location for the course of the day.
We are able to have a successful disaster recovery solution through using Zerto for our Disaster Recovery drills. We are able to fail over anytime, day or night, to run our applications out of our Arizona facility. Within a 15 or 20 minute time frame, we can have those application servers up and running in Arizona. It is just a huge help to have a successful, reliable disaster recovery solution that we know at any point in time, within 15 or 20 minutes, can be running out of a different location.
Most of the time, this is at least a two person job. Previously, when we had a disaster recovery drill it would take two of us working for three or four hours just getting applications up and running in Arizona. Now, for the disaster recovery drill, I'm able to finish my work in about 30 mins and be available onsite to help and assist anybody else as needed during the disaster recovery drill. Its ease of use and the ability to have a reliable solution for disaster recovery has become invaluable to us.
There is built-in active logging if needed for a longer retention period. If we fail a machine over and are just doing tests for it, we can fail it right back at the end of the failover without much issue. We couldn't do that with SRM. The ability to keep track within the activity log of what is going on with the VM, then fail it back prior to the one-hour time frame that we have set up without having to worry about it losing data during our tests or production failover drills.
The product is very easy to use. On a scale of one to 10, I'd say it's a nine as far as ease of use goes. In order to do an update in our old product (SRM), we basically had to take down almost our entire vCenter to be able to do the updates. Whereas, I can do updates to our Zerto product within 30 minutes to both our ZVMs in Massachusetts and Arizona. We haven't had problems troubleshooting after doing upgrades. Within five minutes, we can configure a whole new cluster solution and work on getting it synced out to Arizona.
It transfers up-to-the-minute files. Therefore, if something was to happen and the business was to go down Massachusetts due to a server failure, we could simply fire up those VMs in Arizona within approximately five minutes. The data protection level is top-notch. We haven't lost any machines, data, or VMs during the course of utilizing this product.
The alerting doesn't quite give you the information about what exactly is going on when an issue comes up. We do get alerts inside of our vCenter, but it doesn't give you accurate information on the error message to be able to tell us what's going on without having to go actually login into Zerto to determine what's causing the issue.
Another issue with the alerting is that it will pause a job. E.g., if we have something running from Massachusetts to Arizona, but a VM has been removed, updated or moved to a new location in vCenter. It literally pauses the VPG the VM resides in but will never give us a notification that it's been paused. Therefore, if we had an issue during the course of the day such as a power event and we needed to gain access to those VMs in some sort of catastrophe, we wouldn't be able to get access to them because that job was paused and were never notified about it being paused for whatever reason. It would therefore be a big problem if the VM was needed to be recovered and we didn't have those resources available.
It would be great to get more precise alerting to be able to allow us to troubleshoot a bit better. Or have the application at least give us a heads up, "A VPG job has been paused." Right now, it's sort of a manual process that we have to monitor ourselves, which is not a great way to do things if you have a superior disaster recovery solution.
Almost two years.
The stability is rock-solid. Nothing has gone down since we installed it; there has been no downtime.
Typically, once a quarter, we have an update. Last year we were at version 7.5, then we recently went updates to 8.0. On top of that, they release security patches and other things to improve bugs they find in the program. Right now, there is a U4 version that's out, which we will be updating to this quarter.
In the U4 version, there are security enhancements because a lot of zero-day issues that are being found in a lot of the applications. Zerto is making more security modifications and enhancements to the encryption between one location and another, so somebody can't hack your data and access it while it's in transition.
Scalability is very easy. We are going through a POC right now because we want to branch out to the cloud. Just getting that set up and going through the process was about 60 minutes.
It's very scalable and extendable. We can do one to many solutions, as far as where our disaster recovery is going. This is what we wanted. We would never have been able to do that with our SRM product.
There are two engineers trained to use the product. I'm the primary contact for the application and do most of the work on the product. One of the storage guys handles a lot of the storage set up on the back-end with me. We have at least two people trained on each application that we have in-house. Both of us are in charge of making sure the application is up-to-date and doing what it's supposed to be doing.
Zerto's technical support is very good. They are very reliable and always very pleasant to deal with. We've never an issue working with them. They usually come back with the precise solution to whatever we are troubleshooting.
Our issues are usually user self-inflicted. E.g., we remove a host out of the cluster to upgrade it or do something else with it and don't follow the correct procedure that's needed in order to be able to shut down the Zerto appliance correctly. If somebody doesn't follow that procedure, because they either don't know how, weren't aware of it, or just skip that step, then it causes problems inside of Zerto. This will pause jobs and the VPG will no longer be accessible on that host. Sometimes it's easy to get it back up and running again. Usually, when you put a new piece of hardware in the cluster that has a different set of parameters with its hardware, then the appliance will be missing because it was taken out with the old hardware. Usually, you need to get their technical support involved in order to be able to troubleshoot the issue with them to be able to get the VPG back online again on the new hardware. As I said its self-inflicted most of the time because steps are missed with our processes.
The documentation that we got from them was in depth and work well when needed, if you follow them correctly you will have success. If you don't follow the steps, that's when problems develop. Therefore, it's not a fault in their documentation, it's a fault of the user who's not following the proper steps for success. It doesn't happen often but I think we have contacted technical support only three times in the two years that we've had the product.
For eight years prior to using Zerto we used to use a product called SRM, which is part of VMware. We finally switched over to Zerto after having them come in and do a presentation for us. This was after trying for about a year to do that and convince our vice president to allow us to migrate over to a different platform.
The reason why we used SRM was because SRM was built into our VMware vCenter licensing. We never had a successful DR test during the previous couple of years with SRM. By switching over to the Zerto product a year and a half ago, we were able to run a successful disaster recovery test within three months of switching over. We had our first successful disaster recovery tests in two and a half years because Zerto made our life so much easier and helped getting servers over to a new location almost seamlessly.
In order to be able to have a successful disaster recovery, we need to be able to successfully migrate 58 servers from our Massachusetts location to Arizona. On previous attempts, we got about half the stuff over there, then we'd fail. In other scenarios we would get everything over there but some of the machines wouldn't come up because of the way they were configured. One time, the business was down for about half the morning because it took us that long to get the stuff back up and running using SRM. This was a real pain point for us, getting this product in place and working successfully. It took Zerto to be able to finally get us to do that. It's been a lifesaver. All we had with SRM was nothing but headaches.
The initial setup was very straightforward. We had everything running in half an hour. It got deployed with two virtual machines (ZVMs): One got deployed in Massachusetts and another in our Arizona location. From there, we deploy appliances to each one of the hosts that's inside of the clusters that we are managing for our disaster recovery solution.
Within 30 minutes, we had it deployed to our entire production cluster and the hosts in here. After that, we just started creating jobs, which took quite awhile to do because we have a lot of large servers. However, that's not the worry of the Zerto application, but the size of the VMs we have in production.
For our implementation strategy, we just mimicked what we had in place for our SRM environment. Our 58 machines are spread across different clusters: some in our DMZ, some in our prod and some in our WebSphere clusters. After that, we ran two tests to ensure that we were able to fail over to our Arizona location then fail back without any changes or modifications to the VMs. Once we did that, we started rolling out to each of the clusters, one Virtual Protection Group (VPG) at a time. I think we now have 23 VPGs total.
We worked with an outside vendor (Daymark) who does a lot of our work through outside vendors. They work with Zerto directly. When we set it up originally, we had a Zerto technician on the call as well as a Daymark technician on-site working with us.
Our experience with Daymark has been very good. We love working with them and try to use them for our integration and infrastructure work. They are a very good company that are easy to deal with. We try to use them as much as we can. Thanks to Rick and Matt for a great working relationship.
We have seen huge ROI.
It used to be a three-person job, and now it only takes one person to manage and run the process. The fall back is the same thing. We've never had any issues with stuff coming back out of Arizona to our Massachusetts location. Within 15 to 20 minutes, we can have our servers successfully migrated back, then up and running just as they were originally without having too many conflicts or configuration issues.
The solution has helped us reduce downtime in any situation that we have come across, thus far, for disaster recovery at a 4:1 ratio.
We are an insurance company therefore, if we're down for an hour, it's thousands of dollars being lost. E.g., people can't pay their insurance bills, open new policies or get the support they need for an accident.
These things have been invaluable to us:
It's very equitable, otherwise we wouldn't do it. It's something that we utilize for the licenses per host used. Therefore, it's very cost-efficient as far as the licensing goes. For the amount of stuff that we have configured and what we're utilizing it for, the licensing is not very expensive at all.
There is a one-time cost for maintenance and support. We have a three-year contract that we will have to renew when those three years come up. There is also licensing on top of that for whatever product you are using it depending on the host configurations.
Right now, we use Veritas. We will be evaluating Veeam and Rubrik as a new solution for our backups in the next quarter or so, on top of the fact that we may decide to use Zerto. The three of them are in the mix right now for when we decide to switch over vendors for a better backup solution.
Zerto gives you the ability to utilize it as a backup solution, but it's not a true backup solution because it can't do file level backups. If you want a particular file off of a server, it can't do that for you. What it can do is give you the whole server, then you need to go back and pull that file off it. Mainly for that reason, we haven't chosen to use Zerto and may never use Zerto as our backup solution. The other solutions allow us to get a file level backup.
Don't hesitate. Go out and do it now. Don't wait two years like we did. Push harder in order to be able to get the solution in place, especially since we know it will work better for you. Don't just take, "No," for an answer from senior management.
The application is phenomenal. They continually add new things, more plugins, and modifications to the way things work. It just gets better as they go.
We don't plan to use the solution for long-term retention at this time, but we are looking at going into a hybrid cloud solution in the near future which we may be using long-term retention for to make a duplicate copy of everything we have in our Massachusetts data center into a cloud solution. Whether it be an Azure or Amazon location on the cloud.
While I can't really speak to whether it would allow us to do it, the application is set up to create a duplicate of the actual servers in Arizona. That's how it works so quickly. If we ever had a problem, I could always revert back from the duplicates that we have out in Arizona using the application, if necessary. Luckily, we haven't had a need for that, and hopefully never do.
I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10).
We use Zerto for disaster recovery data replication from our headquarters to an offsite data center at another location.
It has replaced all of my legacy backup solutions.
The real-time replication of data is the most valuable feature. It is a vast improvement in scheduled daily backups. Real-time data is streamed to the offsite data center, which allows us to restore our mission-critical applications up to 10 seconds from when the last changes were made in our system. If we enter a sales order or enter any kind of information in our ERP application it is replicated within 10 seconds to the offsite location. So if we were to have a disaster, it takes about five seconds right now if I look at it. If we were to have a disaster, we would not only have current data, but we'd also be up and running within hours at our offsite data center, rather than days if we had a tape backup solution.
We have begun using it for longterm retention. We also replicate our file server. Our file server has archive or historical data that we have to restore occasionally. And restoring from long term retention is applicable to those types of scenarios, versus the streaming of the data, the real-time data. The longterm retention allows us to restore from further back in time. Real-time is more for recent changes to the data, and the longterm retention is for if we have to restore from further back.
It provides continuous data protection. It has been extremely effective. I've done failover testing, and the data is accurate and current. It works.
In terms of ease of use, Zerto is very intuitive. The graphical user interface of the application, both for monitoring VPG replication, longterm retention success, the configuration of VPG for longterm retention, and the analytics feature is intuitive and allows you to essentially analyze any changes to your environment. All of that requires some training but is not incredibly complex. It's presented in a very easy to use format.
Zerto dramatically decreases the amount of time it takes to do a failover. I can essentially do it all by myself and I'm one person, I don't really need help. It allows me to restore our environment fully in a matter of seconds, literally. I can do that on my own from my desk very easily and with no outside help.
Compared to other products, I would praise the intuitiveness of the product. But I think that can always be improved. The intuitiveness of the graphical user interface, while it is very solid and I don't have issues navigating it. I would say that it can always be improved.
I have been using Zerto for around three years.
The stability is very solid. It just runs. It has not crashed or had issues. So long as you stay on top of the versions of the application and you have it installed on reliable hardware, you're going to be just fine.
It can scale into the cloud. I know it has that capability, but I have not done that yet.
It's essentially myself and I have one junior person that uses the application, but it's mostly myself.
It's used for all of our mission-critical servers. Not every single one of our servers, but probably about a third of our total servers.
I do not have plans to increase usage.
The tech support is top-notch. I have an engineer who I work with on a regular basis that communicates with me anytime there is an issue. He has worked side by side with me on any issues, questions, and implementations that I have wanted to accomplish. They by far go above and beyond more than any of my other vendors and I have quite a few so that says a lot about them.
We previously used Asigra. We switched because of the cost, limitations, and complexity.
When we decided to go with Zerto, it was imperative that it provided both backup and DR in one platform. Granted, we didn't take advantage of it for a while but that's entirely my own fault. It was very important to have that functionality.
It was initially set up by a third party. But since then, I've had to re-set it up and it was pretty easy. It wasn't very complicated. It was quick. There were instructions that we followed pretty closely and there were no issues, so it was straightforward. There were a handful of steps, but nothing overly complex. The deployment took around 30 to 45 minutes.
We haven't had a need to use it in an actual live disaster scenario, but we have that capability, which we did not before. But if we had to use it, it would save us a tremendous amount of money. Tremendous.
There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.
We also evaluated Veeam.
It has not saved us time in data recovery situation due to ransomware just because we thankfully haven't had any issues. I've done some testing and in those types of situations, it would be greatly beneficial. But I have not had any of those situations currently.
At this time it has not helped to reduce downtime in any situation.
We don't have it replicated in the cloud at this time so it has not saved use money by enabling us to do DR in the cloud, rather than in a physical data center.
I would recommend Zerto to anybody considering it.
My advice would be to make sure that after implementing the product, go through and accomplish the training labs so you know how to use a product really well, develop a disaster recovery plan in the event that you should need to use the product, and work closely with your Zerto engineer to ensure that the implementation fits your business needs.
The biggest lesson I have learned is how valuable real-time replication of data can be in the event of a disaster and how valuable that functionality is in the event of a disaster. It has the potential to save the company many days' worth of lost business.
If I could rate it an 11 (out of 10), I would. But we'll go with 10.
We're backing up VMs with it. Our company has about 200 VMs and we're using Zerto on 30 of them in the main line of business applications. We're using it to replicate all that data over to our DR site so we can do our testing and reporting against that.
Within those 30 servers we've broken out into three different SLAs on which ones get spun up first. We have it all scripted with monthly plans to fail over, spin it up, actually use it over there, spin it down, bring it back into production, etc.
The business that we're in means we have to run our network 365 days, 24/7, with no downtime. If there's any kind of interruption to business processes — power outage, tornado, fire, etc. — we need to be able to get certain systems up and going in almost real-time. That's how we're leveraging Zerto, to guarantee that uptime and for the ability to spin these things up near-instantaneously.
I know my networking team loves the tool and the interface and being able to roll back and do the failover stuff very easily. But for me, personally, it's how it has impacted our business. The reporting functionality showing that our DR plan is rock-solid and stable, and my ability to generate summaries for our customers, have really improved business processes for us. It gives peace of mind to our customers that our systems are stable and the services that we're providing are stable.
Also, when we need to failback or move workloads, Zerto decreases the time it takes and the number of people involved. The failback feature, from a technical standpoint, is what sold us on Zerto. One of the challenges we had with Site Recovery Manager was spinning up and being in production at DR. If everything is equal, everything is patched and everything's working, both solutions offer a very similar experience: the ability to move a workload from production to disaster recovery works with both of them, no problem. Coming back the other way was just a bear of a move with Site Recovery Manager. With Zerto, it's almost seamless. With Zerto, it takes about four or five mouse clicks and stuff fails back over, and our end-users are none the wiser. And it's just one guy doing it. When failing back from Site Recovery Manager, we'd have to get one of our sys admins involved and we'd have to let our end-users know that they all had to log out.
While it hasn't reduced staff, we have become more efficient and it has allowed me to reprioritize some projects. It's freed up some capacity, for sure. We haven't reduced headcount, but it has definitely taken a big wedge out of the daily grind of our backup and recovery; the stuff they always had to check.
Personally, what I find valuable is the executive summary that says our DR plan is operational. I can then pass that out to our customers.
Per Mar has about 75,000 customers and, more and more these days, especially given all this [COVID] pandemic, we're asked: Do you have a business continuity plan? Is it tested regularly? Do you have documentation for it? Two years ago, a simple email from me saying, "Yes, we have this," sufficed. We're finding now that people want true documentation from an independent system that generates a report. The reporting that comes out of Zerto is a lifesaver for me. I'm able to generate that up, send it out to the customers that need it, and say, "Yes. Here are our SLAs. Here is our monthly test routine. Here is where it shows us being successful," and so forth.
We are doing continuous data protection. It works flawlessly. Our recovery points are measured in seconds. We have all these "baby snapshots" throughout the course of the day, so we can roll a VM back to any point in time, spin it up, and away we go. We're actively using that. It works great.
It's easy to use and there isn't a huge learning curve. Even some of the advanced features are very intuitive to folks who have been in this space before. If you have any kind of skill sets around any kind of backup and recovery tool, the user interface for Zerto is very natural.
One thing I would like to see, and I know that this is on their roadmap, is the ability to use long-term storage in the cloud, like in Azure or AWS, making that even more seamless. Whether it's stored in glacier or on-prem, being able to retrieve that data in a quick manner would be helpful. They're just not there yet.
I've been using Zerto for about a year.
It just works. We architected it pretty nicely. One of our licensed servers is a complete test solution for us to show that it is truly working. We're able to take a small test server, a Dev server is really what it is, and we can move from production, move it over to DR, have it run over there for a day, and then we move it back with no data loss.
It's never not worked and when you come from the SRM world, that's just unheard of. Now we're a year into this product and have gone through an upgrade, and our June test went off without a hitch. It's very rock-solid.
Their tech support has been fantastic to work with. We ran into a glitch when we did our update in mid-May and our primary data center stopped talking to our secondary data center. We couldn't figure it out. We got their tech support involved right away. They identified a bug right away. They were able to roll us back and then stayed engaged with us as they figured out how to fix the bug. And once the bug was isolated and fixed, they got right back a hold of us to say, "We're ready to go," and then they walked us through upgrading both sides. There was a lot of hand-holding in that upgrade scenario. It was a fantastic experience.
It took them four or five days to fix the bug and they stayed engaged with us just about every single day, letting us know the status of it and when it went to QA. We didn't fall into a black hole. It was a very customer-centric experience.
We were using VMware Site Recovery Manager. We're still a VMware shop. Zerto replaced SRM. It was probably cost-agnostic, but what it really came down to was that SRM breaks all the time. You apply some patches or a Windows update. Uptime and reliability for us are super-critical. We don't have a ton of time to spend on making sure it's always working. We were really looking for a solution that we could architect, deploy, and just let it run, knowing that we're protected without our always having to go back and mess around with it.
What we kept finding with Site Recovery Manager was that every time we wanted to do a full-scale, failover DR test, we would have to spend a week ahead of time prepping for it, to make sure everything would work flawlessly during our test. It always worked, we knew how to patch it and get around it. But disaster doesn't give you a two-week notice. You don't know you're going to have a tornado in two weeks. You get about a 10-minute notice and then you've got cows flying through the air. We wanted a tool that we know would just run and work and be reliable.
It was cost-neutral to the budget, the timing was right, and the solution was rock-solid so we made the change.
Ease of use and deployment are fantastic. This is a solution that we started with a proof of concept. We threw it in a lab and said, "Hey, let's just see what it looks like." Next thing you know, we never even had to tear down the proof of concept. Once we started seeing it working we said, "This is definitely something that we want." All we really ended up doing was negotiating licenses, applying the license key, and we were off to the races.
Soup to nuts, it took us five hours to spin the whole solution up and to create our protection groups. It was very fast. That includes downloading the software, spinning the VM up, and protecting and backing up data.
We worked with one of their engineers through the proof of concept. Once we said, "Hey, this is going to work," we tested it on a few servers and then we became a paying customer. They worked with us to help us define what made sense for the 30 licenses that we bought and what machines to deploy it to. But it's really not a complicated tool to deploy. There wasn't a ton of architecting and solution-building around it. There was some, but it was a very simple solution to install.
We have seen ROI. And even when you cost-compare against Site Recovery Manager, none of these solutions is cheap. But we are folks who need to have uptime and these things have to work. When you start comparing it against Site Recovery Manager, Zerto blows it out of the water, in my opinion.
If it were easier to license, and to scale it out a little bit more economically, that'd be a godsend. At the end of the day, my druthers would be to have all 200 of our servers protected by this platform. But for a company of our size, that stretches our IT budget and it just doesn't make economic sense. I would really love to be able to just apply Zerto to every virtual machine that we spin up, drop it into the right SLA bucket, and just be done with it, knowing that it's protected, soup to nuts. Unfortunately, that's just cost prohibitive.
My advice would definitely be to leverage the number of VMs. It's not a cheap solution by any stretch, but it delivers on its promise. There's definitely value in the investment. With hindsight, I would have gotten a better cost per VM if I was able to buy, say, 100 licenses. It would have been easier for me to put other servers under the protection of Zerto. I wish I would have had that flexibility at the time. Eventually, budgets will open up and I'll be able to go get another 50 or so licenses, but I'll still be paying a higher price, more than if I would have negotiated a higher quantity to begin with.
We took a look at a couple of other solutions. The other ones fell off the table pretty quickly. We're based in Iowa. We have a good account team here in Iowa from Zerto that knew our account from previous relationships. They came around and said, "This is a tool that you guys really need to take a hard look at."
The sales process took about six months. They came in about six months before my renewal with VMware. We had a few conversations and, about two to three months before the renewal, designed a proof of concept to see if it was actually going to work. They came in and did that. My guys were raving about it and I saw some of the reporting out of it. At that point I said, "Okay, done deal." It was cost neutral. When Site Recovery Manager came up, we canceled that portion of the renewal. There wasn't really a need for us to go out to market. I just trusted the account guys. They knew who we were. The tool worked the way they called it. I don't get too picky. If it works, it's good enough for me.
Take a hard look at it. Don't pass it by, don't be scared off by the price. Definitely take them up on the proof of concept. Have the team come in and do that. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
They talk about technology that can just actually do what it promises. I've been doing this for over 20 years and sometimes you get jaded by the fact that people over-promise and under-deliver. Zerto was definitely on the opposite end of that spectrum. The solution went in so easily that I had to do a double-take when my guys were telling me, "Hey, it's already up and running." I said, "It can't be done already." I'm used to complicated deployments. They promised and it does exactly what they said it would do. Don't be so skeptical. Keep an open mind to it and explore the possibilities.
I just sat through ZertoCON. They put a lot of emphasis on long-term retention. It really started putting a question out there as to whether you need a different backup and recovery solution. We use a different partner called Rubrik for backup and recovery. The challenge that we have with Zerto is that we're only protecting 30 VMs, whereas with Rubrik, we're protecting all 200. There's a little bit of a dance between value and return. So we're not using Zerto for long-term storage right now. We're evaluating it. I don't know if it makes economic sense to do so, but we are taking a look at it. And we're not protecting all 200 servers because of cost.
In terms of using the solution for a data recovery situation due to ransomware or other causes, knock on wood, we have not had to use it in that capacity just yet. We have a very mature cyber security posture and we haven't been popped by ransomware in the last year. But it does give me peace of mind that we also have that ability. That's just another layer of our cyber security posture and we know that we're protected against those threats. So there's definitely a peace of mind around that.
The only folks using it are on our IT team, about five or six of us. Five of my guys use it on a regular basis and know how to manage it. I'm the sixth guy. If I ever have to get in there, we're in trouble.
We protect about 15 virtual machines. We use Zerto to replicate them from our home office in Pennsylvania to our co-lo facility in Arizona. Our main data center is in our Pennsylvania office, but if that office were to go down, we would use this as a DR solution so we could run our company out of Arizona.
When I started with the company, we didn't have a disaster recovery option. If our office were to have gone down, our company would pretty much have ceased to work. Having implemented Zerto, now we know that if there's a power issue or some kind of facility issue at our home office data center, we can run everything that's protected by Zerto out of Arizona.
The most valuable feature is the ability to spin up a copy of a virtual machine which is a complete copy, within minutes.
I also enjoy the Analytics, which is something they added recently. They tell me all about my virtual machines and what kind of data we're pushing back and forth. I've been very impressed with Zerto Analytics.
The only time I ever have an issue is because there's a virtual server on each host in our environment. If I have to reboot a virtual machine host, I have issues with Zerto catching up afterward. That's about the only thing I would say needs improvement. Sometimes, when I have to do maintenance, Zerto takes a little bit to catch up. That's understandable.
I've been using Zerto for between a year-and-a-half and two years.
It's extremely stable. I've never had any real issues with it. When there are issues, it seems to recover eventually, so I don't really have any problems with it.
It's very scalable. As long as you have the licensing, you can add more virtual machines or more VPGs, which are virtual protection groups, to the license. As long as you have the licenses, you can protect the whole environment and add and remove virtual machines from Zerto as you want.
We have 15 virtual protection groups which protect 15 virtual machines at this time. Because of the licensing costs we couldn't go crazy. We have a total of about 60 or 70 virtual machines, but we only needed to protect the critical ones. We're using 12 of those 15 licenses.
We don't have plans to increase usage of Zerto at this point because these are the critical servers. If we add more critical servers that need to be up in case of an outage at our home office, we may add more. But this 15 has covered us.
Their technical support is good. Just like any technical support, it's all based on the severity of the case. I've never had any outage cases, so I have never had to sit on the phone or wait for them to get back to me.
I opened two cases with them and they got back within a reasonable amount of time. Both times, they knew exactly what the problem was and how to fix it, just from the details I left them in the case notes.
They also have a nice option where you can submit a case, or enable remote support, right from the interface. The support's pretty nice because they can actually look at logs, once you give them remote access right into your environment. That's very useful. And they're very knowledgeable.
We didn't have a previous solution. We selected Zerto because the RPO is extremely low, so you can get that server back up almost immediately. That was a huge thing.
Also, the ability to do failover tests, where you can test your environment, but not have it impact your production environment, was huge.
Those two features were the main selling points for us to pick up Zerto.
The initial setup was very straightforward, very easy. We set up a virtual machine at both locations, which are both Windows, and then installed the Zerto software and gave it credentials to connect into our environments. It did the rest for us. Once it was initially set up, we just had to figure out which virtual machines we wanted to protect and which way: did we want it to copy from our data center over to the co-lo, or back to our data center from the co-lo. They walk you through step-by-step with wizards. It's incredibly easy to set up.
Because there's a lot of data initially to sync over, the deployment took about a week in total. The initial setup only took a couple of hours, but then you have to wait for all that replication to sync.
We didn't have an implementation strategy for Zerto. Because we didn't have a previous solution, we didn't have any migration to do. We just paid for the license, got it installed, and rolled with it.
I did it myself.
Technically there are four users who have access to it in our company. I'm the main administrator. The other ones are guest administrators and they have a little less access than I do. But nobody else really logs into it except me, unless there's an issue and I'm not there. But as the main administrator it's really all on me.
We have seen return on our investment with Zerto, absolutely. Just to have an option for disaster recovery in case our main data center goes down — which can happen, because we don't have a generator or anything in our home office — is a type of return. Not just IT, but everybody in the company from the C-suite, was happy that we have a disaster recovery option now.
First of all, you should figure out which virtual machines are critical and how many licenses you may need before you start getting prices. You don't need to go crazy if you only have a handful of servers that need licensing.
Zerto sells licensing in bundles or packages, so I wouldn't go crazy and buy 100 licenses when you only need 30. Figure out what you need before you get your licensing, because it can get expensive.
We have Veeam which we use for backup and I know they have replication, so we looked into that, but it just wasn't as feature-rich or as quick to restore or bring up a VM as this was. We hadn't heard about Zerto really until we went to a conference in Philadelphia. They told us about it so we looked into it and it seemed like the best option at the time. We did look at maybe one or two other options, but this was the one that looked like the best option for us.
The biggest lesson from using Zerto is the failover capability and the testing capability. Those are two very useful things. If somebody calls me and they need to test something in a test environment, I can use the test failover copy of Zerto to bring up that virtual machine, or machines, and test things without affecting production. The other thing that is impressive is that you really can bring up a virtual machine almost immediately.
I would definitely give it a 10. I have no problems with it. I'm very happy with it.
I like the review. I would add an additional feature comment that it is not hardware dependent so you can use it on any brand or model you have.
For all the most important applications, we are using Zerto as a hot site in case something were to go on with our on-prem data center-based applications. We can immediately resort to Zerto as a failover.
It's deployed for replication from our data center into the public cloud.
The most important thing is the mean time to restoration. When anything goes wrong, we should be able to rely on the failover data that is available, and we should be able to restore it as quickly as possible. We have been able to reduce that mean time to restore the data pretty significantly with Zerto. It's gone from a few hours to a few minutes.
There are two things that are keeping us with the solution:
Both of these points are valuable to us because we have application data and it means we keep the data in sync. It is very important for us to know exactly where we left off in the event of any disaster or contingency. We can always rely on, or resort to, the data that we have as a backup or a failover. Also, in the event of a contingency, or even for doing a mock contingency exercise, the speed of retrieval of data and the speed of getting back up and running — minimizing the downtime — is important. That's where the second feature comes into play.
There are two areas which I would recommend for improvement. One is when we are trying to upgrade any virtual machines, we have to stop the virtual machines that have been replicated in Zerto and then upgrade or update to the virtual machines onsite. Instead of having to do it manually, there should be some way of automating that particular function.
And when it comes to AWS failover, the documentation has a lot of scope for improvement. It's come a long way since we implemented it, from the scantiness of documentation that was available to do a failover into AWS or recover from AWS, but they could still do a much better job of providing more details, how-to's, tutorials, etc.
In terms of additional features that I would like to see included in the next releases, if they could provide us some kind of long-term storage option, that would be the best thing. Then it could be a storage and a failover solution combined into one.
I have been using Zerto for two-and-a-half years.
It's a very stable solution.
It scales very well, in terms of the data size and the number of sites that we want to add on. It has scaled very well, at least in the last two releases.
We have plans to increase usage, but as it is we are using it for about 75 percent of the data at this point. The balance of the data will come onboard by early next year.
We have about 25 people using Zerto, and they're mostly database and storage administrators, infrastructure people, and security people.
We have not used the technical support. One thing I can say is that they have a very friendly team of engineers. If you have a problem, they are at your beck and call. You can call them and get it resolved.
We were using another solution but I don't want to name it. The primary reason we switched was the ability to restore the. Our main goal was not only to have good replication of data, but to be able to restore the data as quickly as possible in the event of any contingency, whether planned or unplanned.
From that standpoint, when we put Zerto against the existing product, what took us a few hours in that product took us a few minutes with Zerto. That was primarily the goal. Even though this product was a little more expensive than what we had prior to going with Zerto, we still went ahead with Zerto.
The initial setup is very straightforward compared to a lot of others. The user interface is very simple and very intuitive. It goes one step at a time so you can logically follow through the steps to set it up. Whether it's a small site or a big site, it doesn't really matter.
Overall our deployment took about two weeks. We had a detailed project plan, as we always do with any new products or projects that we come up with.
It doesn't require any full-time staff to deploy and maintain the solution. Once you turn on the process, all that somebody needs to do is just monitor the schedule and see whether it's doing things the way it has been programmed.
We have absolutely seen return on our investment with Zerto. We do mock disaster recovery exercises and, in every such exercise since we've gone ahead with Zerto, we've been able to restore the data within a few minutes, very easily, without any business loss. That gives us the confidence to say that, even in the case of a real disaster, we should be able to restore the data.
We didn't evaluate any other options.
Know your use case and then do a thorough proof of concept with your use case to see whether the solution works for your environment and your specific use case. Have a well-defined project plan and negotiate your way with the vendor.
The biggest lesson our organization has learned in using Zerto is that you should understand the product very well. You should understand what the product is capable of doing and leverage the options and features that are available in the product to the optimal extent.
We use Zerto for replication to a DR site of Windows and Unix machines. We like having a testable solution which does not interfere with the performance on our production machines. It has an included feature allowing assignment of a specific LAN or IP address to segregate the machine while testing. We are replicating 56 machines, totaling more than 30 TB, but compressing at 70 percent for space savings. We use the email alerts as a way to monitor replication status. This helps in off hours alerting for potential problems.
Testing and auditing are required at our organization. Zerto has saved a tremendous amount of time in performing these tasks. I am alerted every six months to retest each protection group. This setting is customizable. All past testing reports are retained and available upon demand. It has also added assurance in recovering servers and/or files. Being able to run tests on a working machine is beneficial. Being able to group virtual machines in order to recover all of them to an exact point in time is a definite benefit.
The mobile application is very useful as a real-time monitoring and reporting tool. When management asks the status of our VM backup and recovery, an easy way to answer is to display the status on the real-time Zerto application on a mobile phone or on a local computer browser.
The Zerto Analytics tool helps predict future storage needs by tracking trends in space, journal size, and I/O rate. These are reportable statistics making quantifiable tracking easy and accurate. It is nice the see developing trends.
Having a web interface simplifies access by other system administrators.
Certain areas were designed and work fine for VMware but are under development for Hyper-V. Eventually, all features will work for both platforms. Zerto support is very responsive when those questions arise.
There is a comprehensive online training program which is a good start to using the application. But nothing can take the place of actually using the product in your own environment.
The online search for solutions is very large. This is good, but also bad, as there are solutions present but you have to be diligent to find the answer you need.
I have been using this solution for more than three years. My organization utilizes Hyper-V instead of VMware. One big advantage of Zerto is its hardware agnostic. I have used various models of arrays and servers from Dell EMC and HPE with no issues from Zerto.
It picks up nicely where it leaves off (in the case of a reboot).
It easily grows at whatever pace is needed.
In the few cases that I have had, every one was dealt with quickly and by support staff who knew what they were doing.
We still use our previous solution because it creates a backup of both physical and virtual machines. However, there was an impact on performance running a backup on a running machine.
There is a slight learning curve when setting up, but nothing overwhelming for a good administrator.
Work with your local representative on running a live test to see if the solution fulfills your needs.
Zerto is not the least expensive alternative to software replication, but it is reliable and easy to use.
We use Zerto as a robust failover and replication solution.
Currently we replicate about 50-55 VMs to our DR site. We have run multiple test failovers, and have even done a full-scale, full company REAL failover. Zerto worked flawlessly.
We use Zerto to make sure that our primary Server farm is replicated and protected in case of a failover.
Zerto gives us peace of mind. It is also extremely easy to use and very intuitive. We don't have to worry about what would happen if our server room were to be damaged or our building destroyed. We always have that big red button available to failover to our DR site which Zerto does flawlessly and easily. We also have peace of mind with their Technical Support, which has always been nothing but stellar for us!
I love all the features really.
The fact that the interface is so intuitive is wonderful. The setup and customization of VPGs are great too. They allow you to customize all of the IP information and even the MAC (if you wish) for any and all VMs, allowing you to change the IP or Gateway, or whatever for any VM you might failover.
It is incredibly granular and I really appreciate that. Zerto has also caused us to organize our datastores in a better fashion that makes sense so that they are by priority and not just random.
I have brought this up to support before, but it would be really nice to have the option to "roll back" a particular VM to a previous time in the past if it were to become damaged, compromised, or infected. Zerto does not allow this. It's all or nothing, so you must roll back the entire VPG. You cannot roll back a single VM unless that VM is ALONE in a VPG all by itself.
It would also be nice if they could find a way to make it where one VM does not impact the entire journal history of the VPG. I do not understand why a single VM with mass amounts of changes should impact the journal history of the entire VPG. Although this has never caused me problems, it is an annoyance for sure.
We have been using this solution for a little over two and a half years.
Zerto is literally one of the most stable solutions we have. If we have any kind of bounce, drop, or failure on our fiber line to our DR site, Zerto quickly recovers and catches everything up as soon as the failure is remedied.
It is incredibly scalable and easy to use. I think that's what makes it so valuable and attractive, especially to those who do not have a DR solution.
Support is VERY important, and Zerto knocks it out of the park!
Every time I have called Zerto support, the person I have spoken with has been well informed and knew their stuff. Even if they couldn't readily solve my issue, they quickly escalated to someone that could. They are probably the best vendor we deal with in our IT Dept.
We had tried other solutions in the past including SRM and RecoverPoint for VMs. I can tell you they all pale in comparison, not only in functionality and user-friendliness but in support as well.
The initial setup is very straightforward.
They assigned us an engineer and we were set up and replicating within two hours.
We used a Zerto engineer, who was assigned by our Zerto sales rep.
The ROI with Zerto can't even be measured. The peace of mind we have gotten from knowing that all of our protected VMs are safely replicated with almost live RPOs is something that you can't even quantify.
I would suggest getting a dedicated, well-informed rep. I'm sure they all have great training but always hold your rep accountable. Ask lots of questions because there are no stupid questions.
We have evaluated SRM, RecoverPoint for VMs, and other "built-in" Hyperconverged replication solutions.
Zerto is literally the best vendor that we deal with overall as an IT Department. They have always delivered, and have always been top-notch. I highly recommend them to ANYONE, regardless of whether or not they already have a DR solution. Zerto is better.
We use the solution for DR failover/testing on our DR site. We're a Windows/VMware environment and replicate 25 virtual machines from our primary data center to our disaster recovery site. The solution allows us to perform live failovers without shutting down our production systems.
Zerto has made the testing and the actual failover process of our replicated virtual machines seamless. The product has relieved the administrative burden for the IT staff responsible for the disaster recovery implementation of the organization. Adding new virtual machines is quick and easy, and managing the environment is straightforward.
Failover testing is the most valuable feature. The fact that we are able to test the failover of live systems during regular hours is invaluable to our organization. No longer do we have to schedule failovers of our systems, which brings down our production environment.
There are a couple of minor areas that could use improvement.
The GUI could be streamlined a bit more to enhance the administrative tasks. I would also like to be able to throttle the email alerts, as sometimes they become a bit noisy, and get tough to keep on top of.
Our company has been using the product for four years.
This is a very stable solution.
It is easy to add new licenses for growth.
Support has always been readily available if there were issues.
We never used a different solution.
The initial setup is pretty straightforward and seems to be in line with similar products.
We did not evaluate other products before choosing this solution.
We use Zerto to keep a replica copy of the core servers we have running at our backup site. In the case of an outage, we are able to flip over to our backup location. Zerto keeps these servers up to date within seconds and in the case of an outage at our core data center, we can flip over services with little to no data loss.
Mostly what Zerto gives us is peace of mind.
We do the normal backups and that data gets stored offsite, but unlike backups, Zerto gives us the ability to be back up and running within minutes on a copy of our servers that is an identical copy of what is no longer accessible.
The features we found most valuable is site-to-site replication. This is what we purchased the product for and what we use it primarily for. We are in the process of switching over our production data center and Zerto has been a true time-saver that has cost us zero downtime.
Some features are not up to what we need, although we have found alternatives and aren't really looking for Zerto to handle those items today.
The setup process is time-consuming.
We have been using Zerto for around four years.
With its built-in notifications and reporting, Zerto will alert you if there is anything wrong before it can become a problem.
Zerto works for one or one thousand machines and scaling out is an easy process. Zerto also seems to better support the major cloud vendors, with updates as well.
Zerto technical support has been very responsive and has always been able to help. They are available 24x7 and always have someone to contact you right away.
Prior to using Zerto, we were using VMware's SRS. It was not keeping a close enough copy of our servers.
The initial setup was very straightforward, but also a lot of information was needed. A fair bit of time was spent setting things up, but it was really just time-consuming. There was nothing that needed to be done by the vendor.
As far as setup and maintenance are concerned, you need to be sure to set it up properly, test it, and occasionally perform updates. For the most part, once it is in place it is pretty hands-off.
We implemented with the help of Zerto, who was very helpful in explaining the process and how everything works.
Zerto is not cheap but is an invaluable asset.
If you have the need for what Zerto can do for you then the cost really isn't a factor.
We only had experience with VMware's product and didn't know of anything other than Zerto. Once we tried the product we were hooked and never had a reason to look at anything else.
When we implemented Zerto, we only utilized some of the features. This was mostly because of our needs at the time and partially because the other parts were not up to what we needed. They have since greatly improved on these parts, like the backups features, but we aren't really looking for Zerto to handle those items today.
We have never regretted implementing Zerto and I would not trade it for any other product.
Good/accurate review of the product. As a fellow Zerto user, I concur with the findings.
We use Zerto for disaster recovery of our tier 1 applications from our primary data center to our secondary data center. We have also used Zerto to successfully perform server migrations from one site to another for data center moves and company acquisitions.
Our administrators love the product and it has been proven to be easier to use than VMware SRM which we were using before going with Zerto.
Zerto has given us the peace of mind to know that we have full DR protection for our critical applications.
Zerto is relatively easy to set up and administer.
We were able to create runbooks within Zerto to help with DR failovers, and testing DR failovers is pretty easy as well.
We used to use VMware SRM and it was very cumbersome to add in new virtual machines or storage volumes because they would basically "break" the SRM protection groups that were already out there. With Zerto, it takes on new additions to protection groups much easier and it saves our admins a lot of time having to care and feed it.
The most valuable feature of Zerto is its overall flexibility, where it can be used for standard DR or you can also use it for server migrations, data center consolidations, etc. You can also use it for data protection and physical to virtual migrations as well.
It is kind of a swiss-army knife.
I can't think of any major areas of improvement with Zerto. Make sure that they are building in cloud-friendly features in future releases because a lot of enterprises are starting to move workloads to the cloud and are seriously considering doing DR to the cloud as well. Our company may be moving in that direction also.
I wouldn't mind seeing Zerto sold at a cheaper price point, although the cost is comparable to VMware SRM.
We have been using Zerto for four Years.
Zerto has been rock solid for us in terms of stability.
The scalability of Zerto seems to be ok. This will depend on the size of your environment and how often you need your data replicated for BCP and SLAs.
Zerto customer service has been great so far. No complaints!
We used to use VMware SRM and we switched to Zerto because it is less expensive and easier to administer.
The initial setup of Zerto was very straight forward. The rest of the configuration will be as complex as your environment's DR needs and application stacks are.
We had an engineer from Zerto help us with the installation and initial configuration for thirty days.
It is good to do a full Disaster Recovery plan for your organization and doing a BCP plan as well. You need to figure out how many critical servers and applications you have in your environment so you will know how many Zerto licenses to buy, etc.
We only baked off VMware SRM and Zerto.
It is good to implement a proof of concept of Zerto to test it out. I highly recommend it for data center moves.
We use Zerto at our remote locations as a backup solution in environments where we don't have the infrastructure for redundancy. It allows us to use two HPE DL380 servers as stand-alone VMware hosts and replicate the VMs without needing shared storage.
Using Zerto, we are able to replicate / backup our VMs and between servers and locations, without the need for shared storage, which provides redundancy in case of hardware failure. We are able to fail the VMs over to the secondary host, which also allows us to patch or repair hardware without extended downtime.
We use to use VMware replication appliances to attempt to replicate our VMs to remote locations and servers, but Zerto's one-to-many replication options with deduplication have made the process much simpler without having to constantly worry about the versions of each driver.
The number one thing we have found we would like changed so far is the cost per VM. It would be great to get that pricing reduced.
The need for a VM to be spun up on every host is challenging. In our remote locations, it's not a big issue, but as we look to use that in our main data center where we have hundreds of hosts, it becomes more daunting.
I have been using this solution for six months.
In the six months that we have used it, we have not had any issues.
So far, it looks like it should scale to our entire environment of over three thousand VMs.
Prior to this solution, we use to use SRM. We were looking to switch because SRM continues to be troublesome and requires a select combination of drivers and versions across the environment to work correctly.
This initial setup was pretty straightforward with the exception of needing a VM on every single host.
The cost per VM is a bit high.
We also looked at RapidDR from HPE but it only works on our HPE SimpliVity servers and not across all of our hardware.
We primarily use Zerto for our critical applications and infrastructure to allow immediate failover at our DR site. We licensed our critical applications and database servers and standard backup the rest. In order to increase uptime, we replicate our entire Active Directory infrastructure as well.
We are able to pass many financial and IT audits because we have a solid system in place with zero RPO/RTO. Furthermore, we can train almost any tech or engineer on the process of flipping to the offsite primary. The button and some minor DNS changes and we are up and running.
The ease of failover and test environments has proven invaluable. It is literally as easy as pushing a button to flip to a contained test environment for staging roll-outs or verifying backup integrity. The upgrade process initially was tedious, making sure every VM host got updated separately, but now it is streamlined and a breeze.
I would like to see better notifications when the sync is off for an extended length of time. There is nothing worst then going to do an upgrade or test a restore and realizing some of the VPGs need to be fixed because their journal is too small causing bitmap syncing to be off.
Stability is tied to the latency of your offsite DR.
The scalability is directly correlated to your storage and compute. More licensing as you grow is all you need.
The technical support for this solution is great. Every time I have had an issue, I get a real person, quickly, who remotely takes over and repairs the issue.
We were using RecoverPoint by Dell EMC prior to this solution. We switched because it was extremely cumbersome and far from streamlined during failover.
The initial setup of this solution is straightforward. It's literally an install button and then next, next, next...
Zerto assisted us with the deployment.
Have not had to failover often but the ability to test product upgrades has been invaluable.
The cost is not dirt cheap but also is not terrible.
We thought about VMware Orchestration.
If you are looking for an extremely easy solution to implement and is highly effective then this is your baby.
We use Zerto to protect our staff information against ransomware and is outlined in our disaster recovery plan. We have a DR site that we failover to if anything happens at our primary data center. We have only our core services, that we could not live without, being protected.
It is very easy to use. Almost anyone in our IT team can manage it after not using it for months at a time. As the DR strategist here, I like that. I enjoy having a fast way to bring a server back up. It will take me longer to get to my desk and log into everything than it will to actually complete the failover.
I really like how you can test the failover as often as you need.
The reports it generates are very good at showing our protection state.
It is self-healing in case I mess up on something and need to re-sync. When you are protecting Terabytes of data, this comes in handy.
I think Zerto could do better with size planning because it would be nice to analyze a server for a week and give an estimate on sizing the Journal. I find myself estimating too high.
It would be nice if I had an option to dynamically restore to any host in a cluster. Right now, if we have multiple things happen and the main host is down it will not work.
We are only using a fraction of what it can do. If you add the backup function it scales very largely. I could see a hospital really finding this product useful.
My first experience with technical support was not good at all. In the last few years, it has improved quite a bit.
Prior to this solution, we used storage mirroring and DFS syncing. Our old way used far too much storage. Zerto compresses the data well.
The initial setup of this solution is very straightforward. We were making initial syncs in forty-five minutes.
We did both, with most over the phone. Their expertise was fine. I didn't in any way feel like I was not getting my questions answered.
Our ROI happened in nine seconds.
I don't remember it being cheap. We started out slow, which was a good call. We found that in an event that was massive enough to cause an entire cluster to go offline we would be happy with our core services up and running.
At the time, Zerto was the only product doing this so easily. It might still be.
Don't underestimate how good it feels to rollback data instantly. It makes me look like a Wizzard at my desk.
We primarily use this solution for disaster recovery. The initial sync was from Pure to Compellent, and DR with disparate storage was great. Once we identified our critical servers, vetted the Live and Test Failover, and got the necessary configuration at our DR site, we are now able to perform tests in a safe bubble.
This solution is an integral part of our DR plan. The data and servers we needed are protected in a group as I need them. Changing or adding servers is easy and fast. The ability to protect resources that are in hurricane zones has been fantastic. Being able to safely perform DR testing remotely has enabled us to meet DR goals that were put in place. The first DR test with everyone in a room was fun, as everyone who hadn't seen it was amazed at how fast a server can come online.
The replication has been outstanding, it was three times as fast as initial Compellent replication. The ability to copy new data and protect new servers without a significant delay in getting the data is very valuable.
The ability to perform DR testing to ensure data integrity is critical.
The mobile app is great.
Increased granularity in how long to keep the journal would be nice, currently you can only do hourly up to 1 day, after that it is only daily. The ability to test failover for a single VM in a VPG would be beneficial for testing purposes. Currently alerts come from both replication managers at times, creating a lot of alerts; reducing those would be good.
We did not use another solution prior to this one.
Setup is really easy and quick. Make sure that you have your desired networking for replication and testing in place.
You are getting what you pay for, as this is a solution that requires minimal management after it is configured.
We did not evaluate other options that are worth noting.
EMC was too expensive and everything else was tied to the storage vendor.
It has been a great purchase, and we have no regrets.
Not much can be improved in this solution as it has performed to what we had hoped and has the features we currently desire.
Our primary use for this solution is DR Replication to a separate data centre. We use VMware at both sites. We're currently replicating around eighty VMs from our primary data centre in London to our secondary data centre in Beccles. Most of these are SQL servers with the VSS agent installed.
We now have the ability to activate replicated VMs at our DR site within minutes of something happening to our primary data centre. The ability to have a RPO of seconds has enabled us to restore data to just before an incident has occurred, which certainly saves a lot of time and money.
The most valuable features of this solution are its ease of use and simple setup.
The ability to do a test failover to an isolated environment has been very useful, as this allows us to test servers without any implications to our live environment.
The dashboard is very clear and concise, showing any problems in different colours.
The VSS agent setup and configuration does seem to be a bit clunky compared to the rest of the software. We have had issues with licensing, where the license we've been given by Zerto support doesn't include VSS replication, which was a pain at the time.
We primarily use this solution for Replication and Disaster Recovery.
We now have the ability to replicate critical data to a secure, off-site location that can be brought back in seconds if needed.
The dashboard is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
The email alerts can be excessive, so better control over frequency or resolution may be a worthwhile improvement.
We use this solution for disaster recovery.
Implementing this solution has given us sandboxing and the ability to move VMs. These are nice to have tools.
The most valuable feature is the Restore file, where you can go back in time on a file-level. This is very helpful.
The backup functions are in need of improvement.
Real-time replication for our Disaster Recovery site, which is currently hosted in another on-premise site but will shortly be moving to a Data Center in the Cloud.
I have also used this solution to do point-in-time restores of Exchange mailbox items and to check updates from Microsoft.
This solution has given us the confidence to know that our complex systems are being backed up off-site in real-time and are testable on demand. This gives me a real sense of ease when speaking to Management about our resilience, and being able to demonstrate it includes everyone in the processes to confirm that.
The ability to fully test your entire environment without actually performing a failover is invaluable.
I really appreciate the Mobile app that allows me to monitor, at any time of the day or night, whether the replications are up and running.
Creating Virtual Protection Groups allows us to treat business services as one.
There needs to be more flexibility in the licensing. I've mentioned to Zerto Management that I find the licensing at twenty-five VMs to be very restricting to an SME business, and could there be some flexibility here? Businesses like ours constantly change their IT due to the flexibility of Virtualisation and it would be great to get Zerto on board with that same flexibility.
It has been very stable and gives me minimal problems, especially when compared to other parts of the business network.
I would imagine that the product would not have an upper limit due to its architecture. It seems to cope easily with our own environment of approximately forty VMs.
The person I worked with was very friendly and had excellent knowledge of the product and understood the wider implications of the installation.
We did not use another solution prior to this one.
The initial setup of this solution is very straightforward. The installation and configuration are incredibly easy for someone who is reasonably familiar with IT Management.
We implemented this solution in-house.
We do not consider an ROI analysis to be relevant in this area.
While we find the twenty-five VM license somewhat inflexible, the actual setup costs are minimal as the product is so easy to install.
Before choosing this solution we extensively tested the built-in functionality of our EMC VNX SANs but they didn't function to an acceptable standard so we looked to third parties.
After researching the market thoroughly we decided that this was the one to go for.
I'd strongly suggest carrying out a proof of concept if you're looking at this part of your IT solution.
Our primary use case for Zerto was to enable replication at our DR site for virtual appliances and automation of the failover - failback process. This also gets utilized for recovery at our DR site at different timestamps using the journal history.
This solution is very light, with zero-touch deployment and very enhanced dashboards.
It has enabled DR protection for virtual appliances with minimal administrator time. This solution also provides a backup option at the DR site without any additional cost of licenses. The Dashboards are very intuitive and can be published to the CIO and CTO.
We loved the orchestrator, which allows us to specify IPs for our DR site in advance. It also allowed us to pre-configure the boot sequence for a failover test or actual recovery. Backup at the DR site is the icing on the cake. The concept of a journal history and keeping snapshots at intervals of seconds are quite good.
Mobile features are there only for visibility and not to take action. We would love to see the ability to perform actions through mobile apps.
It would be helpful if the reports can be generated periodically, on a schedule.
This solution is very stable.
This is a scalable solution that also supports multiple clouds.
Our earlier solution doesn't have a detailed orchestrator and didn't support appliances.
It is very easy to set-up this solution.
We implemented this solution in-house, without the need for any partner to assist with the set-up.
There is no need to think of ROI as this is a DC-DR solution.
The solution is very cost-effective and very easy to set-up but does not compromise on features. The features are much enhanced compared to any other DC-DR solution.
Before choosing this solution we evaluated VMware Replication & Sanovi.
Overall, this solution is quite enhanced compared to other, similar solutions in the market.
I recommend trying this solution.
Cloud-based disaster recovery. However, do your homework on your provider. There are several options besides Azure and AWS that don't have their surprise charges. Be sure to check them out.
Would not do a virtual based disaster recovery solution without it. Or would not do a virtual to virtual migration without it.
It just works. This sounds simple, but it is so true. So much of what we are sold in IT doesn't work as advertised. Zerto does.
It's coming, but I want to do my backups from my DR side without impacting my production side. This is supposed to come out in v7.0.
Rock solid, it just works. Make sure your Windows boxes are not previous in-place upgrades. Bugs between the Windows components create issues with assigning IP addresses. This is a Microsoft issue and not a Zerto issue.
It's being used for hundreds of machines. It just works.
Tech support is great. They help troubleshoot things that are not their issues. See Microsoft upgrade note above.
Yes, VMWare Site Recovery Manager. SRM is not as intuitive and is VMware version dependent. Zerto does not have those issues.
Very easy setup. Like all DR solutions, it requires planning. Specifically the network side. Don't skimp.
Use a Zerto cloud service provider. They generally know their stuff.
Amazing ROI considering I don't have to buy a second set of hardware for my DR site. I can use a cloud provider and only pay when I need it.
Check your cloud providers. You don't have to host the DR side yourself. Also, look at folks other than Azure and AWS. The hidden/surprise costs will knock your socks off.
Veeam (no CDP), SRM, RecoverPoint for VMs, Double-Take.
Disaster Recovery and quick file recovery. We have used Zerto to recover from Ransomware three times. Between the attacks we have recovered over 2 million files. We have never paid a ransome. Our users were only affected just under two hours with the attacks, majority of the time is actually figuring out in the office which pc actually had the crypto locker program running.
Zerto was able to use an EMC PROD SAN, and a HP DR SAN with no issues or compatibility problems which allowed us to avoid buying expensive hardware for a DR site.
Zerto has allowed us to feel comfortable our data is being replicated, and the data is not corrupted.
Zerto is packed full of useful features. The main feature is easy to manage, you will not need to be in Zerto day to day as it runs flawless.
Zerto has a plugin to integrate seamlessly into VMware VSphere tab.
I would highlight is the fact Zerto was used to migrate all of our VMs from one data center to another data center (two different physical locations) when we upgraded to new hardware. The migration was a breeze.
My second valuable feature is being able to click just a few points in the program to initiate a test vm recovery at our DR location. After testing, all test VMs are deleted along with the data. This is automated, you do not need to interact with deleting VMs.
In Zerto depending on your hardware and internet connection between your production site and DR site you can expect an RPO of 15 seconds.
As of the summer 2016, Zerto just created an extremely fast way to recover files from their journal. Instead of going to our long term backup program and taking a half hour or longer to find a file, Zerto is getting me the file in 4min. This is making my life easier and keeping users happy.
I would like to see Zerto come up with an emergency line for support. Support does get back to you quickly, but when your heart is racing because something happened the calmness of a pro on the other end would be helpful. The reports also need TLC, as I do not really find them helpful.
With these two minor negatives the product and support are great and they get the job done. I am an extremely happy Zerto supporter.
The only issue with stability was when I caused the issue by changing VM settings in the DR site. This was a great test for support, they took care of the issue quickly and got me back up and running.
I consistently see 8-18 seconds RPO. We test DR by adding a file to a server, then 1minute later launching the test failover to a site that is 6 hours (drive time) away. The file will be there in the DR bubble.
We added new VMs with no issues, the only issue to keep in mind is the more VMs you add, the more storage your DR needs.
Outstanding! Pre-sale we had someone with Zerto actually come to our office and make sure this was the right choice for us. After we went live we had a few calls (initiated by Zerto) making sure we were happy and everything was running smooth. We still get periodic emails checking on us. I have not seen that with other companies.
On the Zerto team, Jennifer and Ciana helping us in our times of need.
Tech Support is all initiated by email, but then Zerto will call you if needed. This avoids phone cues. The person I talked to the two times I called in were awesome, they were very knowledgeable. Even though I caused one of the issues that needed fixed by support, they did not treat me with any disrespect even though I caused the issue. The tech did explain how to correctly do the tasks.
We had a very experienced consultant set us up.
My advice for someone thinking about Zerto is to do the trial run that Zerto offers, you will be impressed. If you are looking to get RPO's of 30seconds or less, Zerto can do it. I typically see 8-18 seconds RPO. Needless to say this depends greatly on your WAN link.
I highly recommend going to Boston in 2017 and meeting the staff at Zertocon!
Virtual server replication, as well as a level of backup, to our disaster recovery site.
Zerto is the key to our DR strategy. With Zerto, we were able to replicate our virtual servers to a remote DR site across a WAN connection. Zerto has made it possible to have different hardware (processor and storage) at each site.
I would like them to add a VM host replication option. Being able to replicate host configuration between sites would be a huge benefit.
Zerto is very stable.
No scalability issues. We have added additional licensing over the years and haven't had any issues.
We have not had to use technical support too much, but we have always found the technicians helpful and knowledgeable.
We did not previously use another solution.
The initial setup was very straightforward and easy. We were able to start replication within minutes of the initial setup.
Zerto support helped us install and implement it initially. They were very knowledgeable.
We believe the pricing, setup costs, and licensing are easy to understand. The pricing seems very reasonable.
We did not evaluate other solutions.
For the most part, we are very satisfied with Zerto and its features.
We were able to replace most of VMware SRM with this solution. It allows us to failover individual machines or application clusters with ease. The one thing that it does not do nicely is a full site failover. We have never needed that aspect though (only for testing).
We have leveraged the individual server failovers a number of times, and it has saved us a lot of man hours (doing things such as rebuilding, fighting viruses, or forcing more servers to failover than we wanted). It has been a phenomenal addition, and proved its worth in the pilot phase, when it saved us from having to rebuild a machine that was included in our pilot trial.
Journaling allows us to leverage Zerto's journal for sub-minute recoveries, instead of having to wait for the storage array to replicate. The solution is well worth the money invested.
The full site recovery is not up to SRM standards. Within a VPG, you can do great failover timing as well as ordering and scripting, but if your site contains many VPGs (as mine does), then it is difficult to manage failing over between sites, especially if you are at the site that was impacted.
None. Even the upgrades are speedy and easy.
None. As long as you have the licenses, it goes smoothly.
I have contacted their vendor support in regards to backup performance of SQL databases. They provided me with adequate instruction and background information to be able to adjust my environment to better suit Zerto's processes. It's been smooth sailing since.
VMware Site Recovery Manager. We changed from this vendor because we hit the 75 license threshold and were forced to consider the conversion to Enterprise. We searched the marketplace and Zerto was a great fit for our needs.
It was straightforward and easy. I was able to install it myself without any help from Zerto.
In-house was all that was necessary. It only required one engineer to work for about two hours to install everything, and then a week to configure and protect the entire environment. This will vary depending on your link to your DR site.
The cost is steep, but once you experience recovering a single server along with its granular restore times, you will see that the cost is justified.
We evaluated Unitrends.
Make sure that you understand the limitations of any software before you dive in. Make sure you document your use cases and have the vendor show you how it can perform those tasks.
Virtualization, and Zerto improves business continuity and disaster recovery tremendously.
Adding or changing VPGs (Virtual Protection Groups) may require restarting replication.
The product is very stable; no issues with upgrading to new releases.
Adding additional VMs is fairly easy. Adding or changing VPGs (Virtual Protection Groups) may require restarting replication.
Previously we used SRM (Site Recovery Manager). Zerto is much easier to set up and configure. Failover using Zerto is simply a one-button click, and it does everything else in restoring the VMs at a different datacenter (recovery site).
Initial setup is fairly easy and the environment can be protected in just a few hours.
You can find providers of a DRaaS solution with Zerto license fees for each VM. Zerto only sells to partners and they have a robust partner organization.
The product works and does what is says. Zerto provides enterprise-class, virtual replication and BC/DR solutions for private, hybrid, and public clouds. Future releases will provide multiple destinations/locations to store the replicated data.
Most companies have used backup software for their protection, or disk array replication. Zerto leapfrogs those data protection methods and provides a much more affordable BC/DR solution, with improved RPO and RTO.
Zerto is an excellent solution for cloud-based environments, but for DIY clients who have another site to recover their systems it also works well.
The setup is easier than most products, and for us as a cloud partner, once a customer is trained to create VPGs, they are good to go.
An integrated encryption would allow for faster initial install and connection to the remote cloud site.
Their offsite backup is a bit clunky, but it will probably improve.
No issues with stability. The delivered upgrades and major updates are stable.
No issues with scalability, it pretty much takes care of itself. One does have to watch where all the recovery site systems are located, to avoid running out of space on the datastores. We can control/move recovery VMs as necessary.
Awesome. Their helpdesk people are among the best.
The product needs a VPN tunnel from the customer site to ours. VPNs can be tricky depending on the compatibility of the hardware. The programs themselves are a snap, and surprisingly small.
Cloud providers get good pricing to encourage quick adoption. A new feature is the One-To-Many VPG allowing a VM to be replicated at up to three different locations, including local.
As a cloud service provider, we have many tools to satisfy the needs of the customer. We have used Asigra, Veeam, StorageCraft, as well as Zerto. Each has its strengths. The market is heating up because of CryptoLocker and other viruses.
There are many products on the market that perform Virtual Machine replication. The other products use Snapshot technology which can have issues with Hypervisors or large disk volumes. The datastore or shared disk (depending on Hypervisor) must have enough free space to allow the Snapshot to be open for as long as the backup runs. This can lead to crashes and consolidation issues, which are usually painful. Zerto is a log-based replication product, for that I give it a 10 out of 10.
I've been using it over a year now, and the product has kept improving. It is easy to upgrade to the next minor or major release.
In terms of advice, I would say become VPN, as well as VMware or Hyper-V, savvy.
Improved the DR RPO and BCP.
VMware VM replication over narrow WAN bandwidth.
It needs to support more public cloud, especially in China.
No stability issues so far.
No scalability issues so far.
No previous solution.
It's a little bit expensive.
Tested several other products such as NAKIVO, Veeam, VM Replication. Zerto proved to have better replication efficiency over WAN bandwidth.
It works only for a virtual platform, it does not support bare metal. If you're looking for a comprehensive solution for both virtual and physical platforms, then Veeam is a preferable solution.
In our case, we used Zerto Replicator mainly for DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan), but also for testing.
For example, journaling capability allows you to recover from a ransomware attack. Thus, it is not only used in DRP scenarios.
In addition, there are increasingly more environments (such as IBM BlueMix) that support Zerto replication, for public cloud contention environments.
Zerto allows RPO of seconds, without need of snapshots. It is agnostic to storage and allows journaling of up to 30 days.
For me, limiting the minimum licensing package for 15 virtual machines (VMs) is a issue. Not all environments (especially in Latam) start with 15 VMs.
No, not really.
No, not really.
The support is in English only, and I estimate it 4/5.
I know Veeam B & R and VMware SRM (along with vSphere Replication) and in environments with aggressive RPO, and non-reliance on snapshots, Zerto is a superior solution.
It is not really complicated, if you do a previous good design. Installation is non-invasive, does not require agents in the virtual environment.It is not really complicated, if you do a previous good design. Installation is non-invasive, does not require agents in the virtual environment.
The licensing is by virtual machines, start in 15, and grow in packs of 10. There is an annual support that must be contracted.
Yes. Veeam B & R and VMware SRM (along with vSphere Replication and storage-level replication) were evaluated.
It is important to have clear:
Zerto is used to provide real-time replication for the important virtual machines that my organisation uses to our Disaster Recovery (DR) site to ensure business continuity.
The ability to test which virtual machines can be failed over to our DR site without interruption of our production environment. Being able to do file level recovery in case you delete a file accidentally or want to recover from a ransomware attack.
It allows for my organization to quickly recover from any disaster with very little downtime utilizing a user interface that requires minimal knowledge or experience.
I cannot think of any new features that should be added at the moment. With time, I should be able to make suggestions.
The only issue that I observed was that depending on the number of virtual machines that are being replicated, you will have to provision the appropriate bandwidth for the link that the replicated systems will traverse. Zerto gives you a bandwidth calculation estimate, but in my case that still was not enough to handle the volume of traffic being generated by our virtual machines.
10 out of 10.
We used to use Veeam Backup and Replication. We encountered some loss of connectivity with Veeam when we replicated some of our larger virtual machines that we hosted on our older virtual machine hosts.
It was straightforward and easy to setup. Once the software was executed, all that was needed was the basic environment details as well as the hypervisor information.
We implemented through a vendor team. They were very experienced and were able to provide detailed answers to all of our questions.
We expect to achieve a ROI within four years of the purchase. However, the ability to almost instantly failover and the fast file level ransomware recovering times give you that peace of mind that allows for low stress levels.
The setup will require that you have a domain controller and DNS at your DR site as well as a second hypervisor product (VMware vCenter Server/Microsoft Hyper-V) there as well. So, the additional software licensing will have to be factored into your operational budget.
No, we did not. When we did our research, Zerto was the name that always came out as the market leader.
We use the ZERTO Implementation to pretend critical VM and Groups of VM (Application Consistency) from failing. The solution with ZERTO helpy us to TEST and Failover without pane. Installaion is based on local primary site and remote desaster site with a distance of a few 100km and a bandwith up to 30Mbit.
Managing the system is easy and reliable, you can choose any VM you want to replicate to your DR Site in Combination with other VM's. Testing a DR is easy and well reported.
Any business unit can define it's needs for SLA and the IT department is able to follow these needs with less management and overhead. If a problem occurs (like ransomware or db errors) IT department is able to roll Back to the right point without loosing productivity of other not effected VM. So for both business and IT it is much easier to use Zerto and profit from best function and best performance in these area of replication tools
Migration of complex VMware and Hyper-V solution. Using Zerto to replicate to azure and S3.
DR Solutions with less management and less space. Licensing of DR Site is not necessary until activation of VM. That are very good news for Db users.
As described above, only the WAN traffic regulation should be monitored, if it runs it works fine and absolutely stable
More VM more bandwidth over WAN, but this is normal. In competition with other replication tools, Zerto works well and compression is fast and stable. If you want to scale order license for it and go on.
Really fast and helpful. The documentation is a good stuff to read before calling, most of the events are well described and could be solved easily by yourself
very fast and very good
We uses before VMware Site Recovery. It is to complex and expensive at all.
Parallel to the primary replication tool Zerto, we are using VEEAM Always On Replication Version 9.5. It works but we can't replicate in the same manner as Zerto, because this tool works with events and they are queued so you will not be able to replicate in the same way as Zerto. Also the amount of VM's to replicate at the same time is limited to the VEEAM Environment of proxies. More Proxies more VM, but also more overhead and bandwidth usage.
It works fine for replicate a few times a day, but not in sec.
If you follow the documentation you need about 20 Minutes to first run of replication. This is fast and you can choose it if you want with the trail license from Zerto by yourself.
No we did by documentation and without external team.
Hopefully 50% less than with teh other solutions, we will have a look to it after a year production
Licensing is VM based so you can buy packages or single VM. Price is not low but the power of application is high, so you will get your money back, in case of Disaster situation. You will be so fast back in production and this is very rent-able for the business units you safe from outtakes.
Yes, Site Recovery and VEEAM Always On Solution
With the next generation Zerto5.5 they allow replication and production in azure, so cloud based DR comes reality.
Everybody who looks for alternative solutions in physical sync mirroring of data (Metro-cluster) should think about business needs and ABC (Application Business Continuity) Zerto can do it and helps you to keep business online with less cost than other solutions.
Including application license, support and maintenance, cost reductions and project non-app development labor costs, we see Zerto reducing overall project implementation costs by 20-25% and reducing project implementation time by 2-6 weeks. Farther along, DR test planning and execution is reduced from hundreds of hours to just a few hours. These are huge numbers, but with over 100 applications using Zerto, we have the track record to prove it.
Further savings will accrue over application lifecycles as we begin to use Zerto as an operational support tool for application and data migration, escalation of new releases into production, refreshing and cloning new dev/test environments. These are all tasks that previously took hundreds of planning and execution man-hours now can be reduced to 10 or 20 hours total. For example, one app team refreshes their dev environments 4X annually. By using Zerto, the reduced downtime, planning and manpower requirements for refreshes effectively will add another 4 to 6 weeks annually for work on new application enhancements.
Replication of business critical VMware VMs over WAN to the remote disaster recovery datacenter.
The benefits are obvious: The simplicity of the setup and the speed of replication.
The speed of WAN replication is great. It is faster compared to RecoverPoint and 20 VMs replicating over a 20Mbps VPN, which has a RPO less than one minute. Of course, your mileage will vary.
Compared to the previous DR replication solution, Zerto has decreased both RPO and RTO significantly.
In Zerto for vSphere, it is a pain to remove the virtual appliance if for some reason you lose the host.
Make sure to understand how Zerto supports Microsoft/SQL Clusters - more of an advice to the companies thinking of implementing Zerto.
We primarily use Zerto Virtual Replication to protect groups of servers in our production data center, replicating them to a secondary site. We also protect essential test and dev servers.
I have also used it in a past role to carry out a datacenter migration project.
The single pane of glass in Zerto Virtual Replication and ease of use is what makes Zerto different from other replication products that I have used in the past. You can clearly see if something is not quite right in your disaster recovery plan before you have an actual disaster.
Zerto has made Disaster Recover and Business Continuity Planning tests much easier and quicker. Even when doing 'Live' tests, we are able to confirm beforehand that everything looks OK. This means less time troubleshooting on the day of the test.
The product is improving all the time and I think the Zerto team have quite a good handle on things. I found the Local ZertoCON meetup/conference particularly useful to hear about different user cases. However, sometimes it feels like the QA is not great, as the previous two updates have been bug fixes.
It is easy to setup and manage.
Provides a simple interface for VM DR.
Needs compatibility with multi-tiered applications, such as Sharepoint, for testing.
One to two years.
Fair, depending on which location you get in contact with: They can be difficult to deal with and don't understand the product in which they are servicing.
It is very straightforward. A simple wizard to install.
I didn't personally deal with the licensing structure.
You should evaluate Site Recovery Manager by VMware. It is more expensive, but works better.
Ensure you run an evaluation and test failovers to verify it will meet your individualized needs.
There are two main features which I consider to be the greatest value of the product: The ability to replicate without using snapshots and the journaling capabilities.
We have been able to implement a DRaaS product based on Zerto Virtual Replication.
Also, we have helped several customers implement their Disaster Recovery Plans more easily than before, thanks to the independence of hardware that the product provides.
Monitoring and integration, like a management pack for vRealize Operations Manager.
Around four years.
No, the product is very easy to install and very stable once setup is complete.
No, the product is very easy to scale and can support a large infrastructure.
Very good, they respond quickly and accurately.
Multiple solutions, and we switched because they all required snapshots.
Very straightforward, the installation and setup are very simple, and we even had assistance from technical support to accomplish it.
Honestly, I'm not well informed in terms of pricing and licensing. My interaction with the product is 100% technical, in terms of architecture, implementation, and operation.
Multiple solutions, like Veeam, VMware SRM + ABR.
It's very easy to set up a lab or a PoC to test it. I would recommend doing that because you will be able to see the real value of the product in a very short term.
Before ZVR, we had many limitations in case of protecting production VMs during working hours. This primarily came from frequent VM snapshots impacting users. ZVR lets us protect our VMs without any impact upon users and greatly improved our RPOs from hours to seconds.
I would like to see a couple of details regarding awareness of VM events coming outside of ZVR. This could be a user reverting VM back to an older snapshot, which can sometimes screw up the replica, but nothing major besides it is affected.
We have used this solution for over three years.
There were no issues with deployment.
There were no issues with stability.
ZVR can handle thousands of VMs, so there were issues with scalability here.
Support is very quick in their response time and most of issues are solved in a matter of hours.
We were using Veeam Replication which is based on snapshots. However, ZVR has no snaphosts, zero impact on production, and improves RPOs seamlessly.
The initial setup was very straightforward and can be done in less than one hour. You can then start replicating between two sites.
We did the implementation in-house.
Licensing is based on the number of VMs to replicate. The first thing should be to get the number of VMs to replicate based on your business needs.
Before ZVR, I evaluated Veeam Replication, vSphere Replication, and RecoverPoint for VMs.
If you need to replicate your VMs with RPOs of seconds, then Zerto is certainly the way to go.
There are many valuable features. However, the one that sticks out the most is the simplicity of the process to protect or migrate a virtual workload.
It enables protection of a virtual workload to be done by the app, whether single or multi-tiered, with a boot time scheduler. It is pretty awesome.
Zerto has changed how we think about protecting virtual workloads. It has enabled us to think about real time protection with full replication that provides checkpoints every few seconds and enables quick (< 10min) recovery times.
Zerto is solid. However, they are working on a cloud workload protection and protecting virtual workloads to more than one site. This is good stuff.
We have been using the product for more than two years.
Zerto is stable and works as expected.
Zerto scales as you scale your virtual environments. It simply and quickly protects virtual workloads.
Zerto’s support is good. They are quick to contact you back and get working on any issue. This is hard to get from other vendors.
I have been performing DR/migrations/replication for over 15 years. I changed during a bake-off of different products based on:
Zerto simply is the tool for protecting any virtual workload. I have set up and protected:
It is extremely simple to set up and use.
The Zerto setup was straightforward. It is one of the simplest tools I have ever deployed to protect virtual workloads. It works hand in hand with VMware features such as DRS/HA, so there is no issue when your workload moves around.
Zerto’s licensing model has changed a bit over the last year and they are in alignment with others. It is pretty simple and more economical.
Put it in place as it will become your default tool for VM protection and replication, hands down!
The Clone Virtual Protection Group does not impact the production virtual protection group which is the most valuable feature.
Failing over the VM without removing/touching the production VM from inventory is also an important feature.
This product has a significant impact on moving the data center across various sites with perfection.
There is a need to allow the source vCenter Inventory to be imported with a single click.
What I meant by one click vCenter is that there is no current option to migrate a vCenter logical cluster as a whole. You can only migrate individual VMs only by adding them into a VPG (Virtual Protection Group). You can failover multiple VMs after adding them into VPG.
I have used this solution for over three years.
There were no stability issues, it is one of the most stable software out there.
There were no scalability issues, it is very simple and easy to deploy/scale.
The technical support is amazing, i.e., if you purchase the premium support. They respond within minutes, it is a very professional technical support team.
I have used a different solution. It was more complex and full of bugs, so that was the main reason that we switched to this product.
The setup was very straightforward. Anyone can do it!
Pricing depends on your future growth. Start small and then scale up.
We looked at another solution namely the VMware SRM solution, it is the recovery point for virtual machines.
Just buy it with eyes closed, no requirements are needed. It works with various VMware versions.
This is the most amazing hypervisor-based replication that I have ever used.
Replication at the hypervisor level. We’re a cloud Service Provider, and any solution relying on a specific storage vendor's functionality is a show stopper for us.
We can set up Disaster Recovery environments for our customers in a matter of minutes.
I hope that in the future the product will offer integrated encryption functionalities, so that the VPN setup between protected and protection site can become optional.
I've been using it for four years.
Assuming that you comply with the minimum requirements specified in their documentation, there should be no problems with deployment which is very straightforward.
We have never encountered problems with the stability.
Zerto scales very well.
11 on a scale from 0 to 10, probably the best technical support amongst the vendors I'm working with.
Yes, complexity and cost.
Very straightforward and simple setup.
We always do the implementation in-house for our customers. The vendor always kindly provides one of their engineers to perform a post-installation check.
We sell on a per-use basis and pay using the same model.
When we started using the product, it was pretty unique. Since then, we have evaluated some competitors but still there’s no match.
What distinguishes their Customer Support from those you've experienced with other solutions/providers?
After working with the product for about 6 months, the fact that you cannot only replicate virtual machines to another location, but the fact the you can group and configure various boot orders, with time delays is a valuable feature. There is also the ability to change the networking properties such as the IP and MAC addresses, DNS entries, and other options.
At this point we are not fully using the product for disaster recovery due to the fact we are not 100% virtualized. The hope is that within the next two years, it will greatly simplify our DR testing since there is a "failover test" option. This allows the systems to be brought up in an isolated bubble for testing. It will also allow all of the restores to be synchronized to the same time.
The one area I see a need for improvement is supposedly on the roadmap, which is to be able to replicate to multiple locations.
The account representative have always been helpful, even offering to get a product engineer on the phone to assist with configuration items if needed.Technical Support:
I have only had to contact technical support once and in that issue they responded very quickly and had the issued resolved with an hour.
There was a small RecoverPoint with SRM configuration, but it was difficult to manage and keep updated.
The deployment was very straight forward. A small plugin called a VRA is installed on each host. This keeps track of the virtual machines. Then, there is a dedicated virtual machine that runs the Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM). This is provides the web management interface and monitors the VRA's. This is also where all configuration and updates are performed. The menus do a great job in guiding you through the configuration of the protection groups.
The deployment was done in-house with the assistance of an implementation engineer over a web session.
An exact dollar ROI has not been calculated. The largest gain will be seen in man hours used for DR testing as well as the management of backups and recovery. This will turn what is now a very manual process into a fully automated recovery.
If you are planning on using this with a hyper-converged appliance running anything other than VMware, you may want to verify compatibility. On many of them, they are only compatible with VMware running, although they are adding other hypervisors. At the time of this writing, according to Zerto, they are not compatible with Simplivity at all.
Zerto allow us to to replicate our critical application servers with a sub 5 min RPO. Before Zerto we would restore from tape backup.
Also, the testing recovery in an isolated environment allows us to test recovery any time we need to.
I would like to have automated load balancing of the ZVM's at the target site. Each ESX server needs to have ZVM system to replicate the VM's. At the target site if you need to take one of the ZVM's offline at the target site you need to manually change the VM's using the ZVM. I would like this to be automated.
How would automated load balancing affect your results?
ZVR is very simple to setup and administer. Out of the box it just works and allows me to set my replication source and destinations and nearly forget it. Our RPOs are generally 5 seconds on a replicated base of 4Tb so we have only a very small data loss in the event of needing to recover.
Now that v4.5 has been released, I have the ability to recover individual files in the event of accidental deletion or even encryption by Ransomware. This ensures that data is easily recovered no matter when it is deleted, ensuring that files that have been created and deleted in the same day and prior to backup are recoverable easily.
And, perhaps more importantly, out of the box ZVR allows me to test the failover whenever I want to verify that my systems can come up as expected.
I have been a user of Zerto Virtual Replication for 1 year.
Technical Support at ZVR is very good. Any calls are promptly responded to and dealt with to resolution. The support personnel are very knowledgeable on the product.
Initial setup is very straight forward. You simply create a group and populate your machines into the group, select a destination and voila ZVR does the rest.
Replication for disaster recovery between data centers is valuable.
Zerto allows us to replicate entire systems between data centers instead of setting up replication within the applications, which sometimes is non-existent.
The backup capabilities require too much disk space and I would like to see better compression. or deduplication built in to reduce the amount of WAN traffic. It would also be nice to have it be able to monitor a VM to let you know how much bandwidth a particular VM would require to replicate.
I've been using it for nine months.
We have had no issues with the deployment.
There have been no performance issues.
Scalability is all about bandwidth, so the only issue we had was trying to guess how much bandwidth we would need.
Technical support is good.
We used point solutions for our disaster recovery needs and we were very selective about the applications we would setup with disaster recovery due to costs.
The Zerto setup is very easy. The difficult task is setting up any processes that need to be run after a failover.
This was all setup in house.
The two key features for AssureStor are hypervisor based replication and the automation for failover, testing and failback.
As a cloud service provider we are always looking at how we can reduce risk for our customers, the ability to provide a DR service that delivers RPO’s typically as low as 15 seconds, over relatively slow connections is fantastic. And as the replication is performed at the hypervisor level we can protect any virtual (VMware or Hyper-V) environment without worry about the storage layer. The automation element is also a crucial element as it ensures we do not have to spend lots of man hours in the event of a DR failover request, as well as streamlining the ability to test the DR environment without needing any down-time of the production environment. And finally add in the ability to automatically reverse replication once you have failed over allowing you to re-seed the production site and failback with minimal downtime and you have a great all-round DR solution.
Before we took on Zerto our DRaaS offering was based on snapshot based backup’s with an automated restore process to our cloud hypervisors. This was a good service but we could only offer RPO’s as low as 1 hour and even then this was subject to caveats specifically around the size of the VM and how quickly we could ship the new data to our cloud platform. In addition, testing was much more cumbersome and meant a much higher number of hours had to be invested in every DR test, ultimately raising our costs. With Zerto in place we are now offering commercially sound services to small and large businesses without the worry of needing to invest in large numbers of staff to manage and perform testing, etc.
Backup capability as it is limited and not as streamlined as it could be. At present Zerto delivers backup protection by making duplicate copies of VM disks to a defined storage location (but this is limited on the schedule and retention). In the latest version 4.5 this has now been extended with the capability to do object level recovery from the replicated VMs, the caveat here is that the retention period is limited to the journal retention (which is a maximum of 14 days). I would like to see a more integrated backup/retention capability in the solution allowing more flexible scheduling and unlimited retention with the capability to easily restore objects using the one Zerto web interface. The backup images should be able to be stored off-site, away from the main replication site, and easily be reintegrated in the main DR platform if needed for VM recovery of an old image.
I've been using it for 18 months. v4.5 for the last four weeks, and prior to that we ran v4.0 since our initial deployment.
When we first deployed Zerto we didn’t understand some of the limitations around the built-in database (it uses SQLite). Whilst this would normally be fine for most small to medium deployments (the database is supported for up to 100 protected VMs and 4 sites), as a cloud provider we needed to have greater scalability. This is provided by using a full deployment of Microsoft SQL, thankfully Zerto have a tool that will migrate the SQLite DB into your Microsoft SQL server so the transfer is pain free, but I would make sure that anyone who is deploying in an environment that may have more than 100 VMs to deploy initially on Microsoft SQL. Another area to be aware of in scalability is not with Zerto itself but the demands it can put on the DR storage environment, you will be replicating all your VM disk writes as well as journaling and potentially adding more demand when testing (as the Zerto continues to replicate even when testing, which is great, but does hammer the storage).
We've had no issues with the performance.
It's been able to scale for our needs.
In one word, fantastic. When we evaluate a product one of the key areas we look at is the level of technical support we will get from the vendor. Bottom line IT systems have a habit of going wrong (one of the reasons I have had a job for the past 20 years), so once you accept that no system will be error-free, you need to know that if you do need help its available. We have had issues, bugs and questions and in every case we have been supported by the Zerto tech support team.
Our DRaaS platform, prior to Zerto, was an extension of our Asigra Cloud Backup platform. Whilst this worked it could not deliver the low RPOs we now see with Zerto nor the efficiencies we see from Zerto in managing day-to-day tasks on the platform such as validation, failover tests (and on the odd occasions actual live failovers). Our choice with Zerto was based on our own piece of mind, we protect a variety of end-users so never failing them (i.e. never failing to replicate their VMs and know we can spin them up when needed) was crucial, Zerto has delivered this for us.
Our deployment was fairly complex, but then we had to deploy a platform capable of multi-tenant support with complex networking and integration with vCloud Director so that customers could access their DR systems via a secure web interface. If you are deploying a site-to-site solution then deployment is very straightforward. Each site requires a Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM) which is deployed upon Windows, this will then integrate with your vCenter servers at each site. From here it’s a few button clicks to deploy the Virtual Replication Appliance/s (VRAs) which are small Linux systems bound to each host that handle the ‘smart’ features of Zerto Replication, linking the site and your off.
Deployment was performed using in-house resources. The most important bit of advice I can offer to anyone considering implementing Zerto is understand your storage requirements at the production site and then decide on what levels of performance are acceptable. If you want to have low RPOs (seconds) then remember that you will be replicating all of your production writes into the DR storage device. And as initially these writes are put into the journal datastore and then read out after the defined retention period and written to the actual storage datastore be careful not to overload your DR SAN. As an example we deploy using separate SANs for journals and customer storage, with larger customers getting dedicated storage designed to accommodate their traffic patterns.
As a Zerto Cloud Service Provider (CSP) our licence model is different to end-users who can purchase the licence on a perpetual basis. For us the ROI was under 6 months, but we already had a large portion of the hypervisor and storage environment needed so were able to keep our costs to a minimum.
Zerto, in my opinion, is one of the best DR products on the market currently, its only flaw (if it can be called that) is that it is limited to virtual environments, specifically VMware & Hyper-V (it does also support replication to AWS if needed). If you are looking to streamline your DR capability and remove risk then speak to Zerto and get them to run you through a demo, what they say the product can do is not sales talk, it really can do it.
Recovery Checkpoints (Journal)
HW agnostic, no impact on production systems, no snapshot, easy management.
Version 4.0 is revolutionary, allowing replication between VMware, Hyper-V and AWS - conversion on the fly, and a a HTML5 GUI
Version 4.5 allows file restore, access based on roles, more powerful APIs.
We dismissed SRM and we no longer need the NetApp replication license. We were able to offer a DRaaS multitenant environment integrated with vCloud Director. Our customers think this tool is awesome.
Backup dedup and online restore, support for SMTP authentication.
Just in case of strict permission, we needed several ports to be opened. English language of OS for ZVM is needed, otherwise there's a bug showing some of the graphs.
Sometimes in large environments - enough to restart the service in ZVM.
No because it scales with ESXi scale.This is a strong pro.
Very very great, reactive answers in minutes and they don't leave you until the issue is resolved.Technical Support:
Great too - If the first level is unable to solve the issue, it scales to higher-level engineers on the fly.
SRM, but it needeed replication and it was complex to manage.
Smooth and Zerto techs assisted.
It was direct.
We only got SP licensing prices/model.
No, we had to decide if leaving SRM or not. Choice was simple.
There are other competitor on the market, but this is the only one dedicated to DR. All others are backup based. It could seems expensive, but when you realize its power, you'll understand that cost is justified.
Before this product, we had a lot of custom scripting and multiple other products to try and get to a similar place that Zerto allows without fully managing to. Zerto allows for a more granular replication ability and therefore a more flexible model than the per-socket licensed alternatives. It is positioned fantastically for pay as you grow which is just what we were after.
There are many post migration activities associated with a Hyper-V to ESX migration – don’t presume this is a hands off activity as it very much isn’t at this time. To make it hands off, there would be a ton of custom scripting required.
There have been no issues with the stability.
It has not been an issue to scale it for our needs.
The product has significant promise but it’s a long way from fully functional, there are fantastic features in the product and fantastic features promised “in the next release” too. Make sure you run through a good sizing exercise first.
It allows smooth migrations which would be a lot more difficult with other technologies.
I've used it for four months.
Not at all.
There were no issues.
There were no issues.
Great pre-sales experience, and good support.Technical Support:
It was pretty straightforward.
I love the application, and it has become essential in my work.
Being able to provide customers with DR options that work.
We are a Cloud Services provider that owns and operates data centers coast-to-coast.
Only slightly when using it to protect 37 SQL servers. The high IOPS have been dealt with and we have solved that issue.
We used many other solutions, but this is the one we reached for first.
Yes - super simple.
When you can't afford to risk your data, Zerto is the solution.
Zerto has been a great product for companies looking to deploy an easy to use disaster recovery solution. One of the limitations of the product was that it only worked with VMware vSphere, but not any more. Version 4 just dropped and it’s got a myriad of new goodies.
The most appealing new capability was the ability to fail over a vSphere environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS). This could save small businesses A LOT of money. Small businesses that have a disaster recovery requirement no longer need to have a dedicated co-lo and spend money on equipment when they may never use it. AWS provides compute, storage and network on an as-needed basis and most of the time, the disaster recovery site is not needed which correlates to savings.
Lets take a look at the Zerto architecture for vSphere to AWS. It requires a Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM) at each site which manages the environment. The vSphere side also requires a Virtual Replication Appliance (VRA) for each ESXi host that will have virtual machines to replicate. The AWS side does not require a VRA.
One thing to be aware of is that the vSphere side and the AWS side will have two separate installers.
The AWS site requires the Zerto Cloud Appliance installer. This can be installed on a Windows-based host inside an EC2 instance. Most of the installation screens here are a basic information and the opportunity to change ports etc so I’ve left them out. The screen below however is some of the meat and potatoes of the installation. You’re asked for an IP/Hostname of the Cloud Appliance which it will populate for you. If you have multiple NICs on your EC2 instance, you could change it. The second part of the screenshot below is the Access Key ID which is a unique ID for an AWS owner. You can find these in the Identity and Access Management Section (IAM) in the AWS portal.
Once you click next, the installer will check to ensure windows firewall rules are open and the AWS Access Keys are valid.
The vSphere site hasn’t changed much from the previous versions. The Zerto Virtual Manager needs to be installed on a Windows server.
Once the ZVMs have been installed, we need to pair the local vSphere site with the Amazon site.. To do this we can login to the ZVM by using a web browser and navigating to https://ZVMFQDN:9669 . Here we see that we still need to install VRAs and pair to another site. Click on the “Sites” tab at the top of the screen to pair the vSphere site, with the AWS Site.
Enter the IP Address of the Cloud ZVM and the port and click “PAIR”. Note: for this to work properly, network connectivity must already exist to the Amazon Networks. In my case a Site-Site VPN tunnel was created.
Now you can see that a site is listed in the “Sites” section and that we still need to install VRAs. Click the “Setup” tab at the top to install the VRAs.
Select all of the ESXi hosts that will need virtual machines replicated and enter information to install the VRAs. Each of the VRAs is a small virtual machine that will reside on the ESXi host. Enter the root password for the ESXi host, a datastore to house the virtual machine, a network that has access to the AWS Site and the amount of VRA RAM needed. You will also need to enter the network information for the VRA so that it can communicate with the ZVM and the remote site.
When done, your “Setup” tab should look similar to the one below.
Now we need to setup our Virtual Protection Groups (VPG) this is the group of virtual machines that you are protecting. Click the “VPGs” tab at the top of the menu and add a VPG. A wizard will walk you through this as seen below.
I created a simple VPG called AmazonVPG.
Select one or more virtual machines to protect. You can define which order they should boot in if necessary.
Decide where the protected VMs should be replicated. I’ve only setup one other site, so it was automatically selected. Journal history determines how far back in time you can go to restore a virtual machine and “Test Reminder” just sends you an email if you haven’t tested the recovery in a while. The target RPO alert is only for alerting purposes. Zerto tries to replicate as fast as possible, so this is not a desired RPO setting, but rather an alarm to let you know that your RPO is not being met, probably due to too much replication traffic, or possibly a down WAN link.
The recovery menu allows you to define a failover network and a test network. The test network will allow you to have a completely separate environment for testing the failovers of virtual machines without affecting the production machine. These two networks can be the same or different depending on your preference.
When you’re finished with the wizard, you’ll notice that the VPG shows initializing and the Initial sync is taking place. Go grab a cup of coffee, the sync could take a while.
Notice that when the sync takes place, Zerto is utilizing an Amazon S3 bucket to house the virtual machine files. This should be cheap storage that can be used to dump the files until you need them.
You’ve done all the hard work. Our VPG is set up and its meeting it’s SLA. Now lets fail that server over to AWS. Click the “FAILOVER” button at the bottom right hand corner of the ZVM screen. NOTE: there is a toggle to change from a real failover which is disruptive to the protected virtual machine, and a test failover which is not disruptive.
Select the VPG to be failed over.
On the execution parameters screen you can change the checkpoint to which you fail over. Click Next.
When you’re ready, click “Start Failover Test”.
You’ll see the ZVM will have an action item taking place. When it’s finished you’ll notice that your EC2 screen has an additional virtual machine listed. Note: The failover process could take some time so be sure to test your RTO. The Cloud ZVM performs an import from the S3 bucket into EC2 and this process can take time.
When you’re finished with a “Test Failover” you can click the Stop button and you’ll be prompted with a window to enter a note about the test for record keeping. If this is a real failover scenario, there is no current failback built into Zerto 4 at the time of release. Failing back from AWS to your vSphere environment can be accomplished by exporting the VM and importing into vSphere. Look for this to change in future updates from Zerto.
I’m a big fan of Zerto and even more so now that they can replicate to Amazon. This product is very easy to use and administer and doesn’t require any sort of hardware appliance to handle replication traffic. It even does WAN optimization to cut down on the amount of bandwidth needed. If you’re looking for a orchestration tool for disaster recovery, you should check them out.
Near real time continuous disaster recovery, Journaling and the ability to replicate from Hyper-V and other VMware clouds into our cloud.
We provide this product as a service to our clients. The ease of providing test failover results to them is invaluable and only takes a few minutes to initiate and complete so no time is wasted.
More Supported Hyper-visors
Non What so ever very straight forward and easy to complete. Also upgrading to the latest version could not be easier to do.
Not once in the last two years.
Non scales easily with an appliance on each ESX host and a central management console.
We did use a previous product which was clunky to use and was only a point in time image. Zerto is simple fast and reliable and our clients like the charts we can produce and is near real time.
Initial install was straightforward and simple to complete with the minimum amount of time taken up.
We had Zerto help us with the implementation and they were brilliant.
We pay per month per protected VM which is vastly cost efficient.
Yes, I looked at VMare SRM and Veeam Replication.
If you are looking at DR products put Zerto straight to the top of the list if you are using VMware or Hyper-V.
The simplicity of replication and test failover make this a very easy-to-use solution.
We did not have disaster-recovery plans for some of our critical systems because application-based solutions were too expensive and complicated. Moving these applications to VMs and creating DR plans using Zerto makes a complicated failover much easier.
Remediating VMware clusters gets more complicated because the VRAs are pinned to each host and will prevent the host from entering maintenance mode. The cluster must now be remediated manually because once all VMs are migrated from the host you must power down the VRA manually and perform the remediation. Once remediated you can exit maintenance mode and restart the VRA and allow VMs to migrate back to the host.
When we were deploying our POC we had some errors in network configuration that had to be worked out in order for Zerto to function properly. I can't understate the importance of getting your networking configuration done in advance.
Once you have your network configured the Zerto configuration is simple. We implemented a proof-of-concept deployment in about 2 hours.
We implemented in-house as part of a proof-of-concept with a Zerto engineer.
Simple, fast install
Grouping virtual machines by application, not LUN
Automatic IP address change
Simplified the way annual DR tests are performed as well as being a tool for migrating workloads between data centers as needed.
Would like to see additional reports after recovery operations with details on recovery of each VM
Sales and customer service are responsive to questions.Technical Support:
Technical Support is very helpful. They reply to phone or email quickly.
Used VMware SRM previously
Straightforward, simple deployment
Leveraging 'Move' to perform VC-to-VC migrations with little downtime.
Has simplified our DR/BC strategy and allows us to quickly protect Production applications that require low RPO's. We've done several fail-over tests with documented results. We feel Zert0 will only compliment our SDDC strategy.
POC'd the product for 2 months and purchased in March of 2014.
None.. Implementation was simple and quick. We were replicating vms in a matter of hours.
Nothing to date
Customer service has been excellentTechnical Support:
Technical support has been exceptional
We've used traditional LUN based replication which can be challenging in any virtual environment. Zert0 gave us the granularity to replicate VMDKs to any target datastore.
Setup was simple and straightforward. We encountered no issues.
We spent weeks doing a POC and literally installed and re-installed multiple times to see if there were any impacts on our infrastructure. There were none and it worked as advertised.
We had capacity so our only setup costs were building a couple of VMs to install the Zert0 Consoles on and licensing of the product. Minimal when compared to SRM, Recover Point and Storage.
We did a POC with SRM and researched Recover Point extensively.
I feel because the product is so simplistic yet extremely robust and effective management may perceive Zert0 as not being Enterprise worthy when in reality, it is. Bottom line, its a great product that brings standardization and simplicity to DR/BC.
The ease of daily operations. This program takes almost no interaction on a daily basis.
Zerto has given us a sense of security. To know that we can move our production data to our DR site in minutes lets me sleep much better at night.
Support for Hyper-V which is on the way.
In production for almost 1 year now.
Absolutely none. I was replicating my first VPG in less than an hour.
Only things that I have caused myself.
Started with 50 vms today protecting almost 300 and I have had no issues.
I would give it an 8/10. Alot of customer service is handled through back and forth emails but once you get someone on a phone call and screen sharing the level goes to a 10/10.Technical Support:
Alot of customer service is handled through back and forth emails but once you get someone on a phone call and screen sharing the level goes to a 10/10.
We tried out SRM but chose Zerto because of the ease of use.
Very straightforward and I had a tech with me the whole way.
Implemented in-house and once again it was a PAINLESS process.
SRM and went with Zerto so we would not have to use SAN-to-SAN replication.
The best thing is that all you need is storage and vcenter in two locations and you have met all requirements to install and protect your vm's.
Near-zero RPO, granular selection of individual VMs and the very simple setup and management.
Reduced DR strategy documentation and procedures.
Physical servers would be a nice enhancement. I would also like to see the backup portion really enhanced further.
3 Years +
Deployment is so easy, so no.
Yes. The product(s) I was using for replication were not as efficient and could not provide nearly as low of an RPO as Zerto.
Veeam replication, SRM and array-based.
I work for a data center solutions company and DR was always the toughest challenge. I have recommended numerous solutions to my customers over the years but when we stumbled upon Zerto 4 years ago it has become our standard recommendation in these projects. It's easy to setup and manage but best of all...it just works as expected.
Good summary. I totally agree that Zerto is very simple to install and maintain. Creating groups of protected VMs is easy with the newly enhanced work flow. Anyone looking to replicate VMware or Hyper-V machines should give Zerto a good look.
It works great, taking BC\DR to a whole new level; even though it's a "young" product and still has lots of improvements to do, it will allow for every company to implement a successful BC\DR strategy
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.