DR For VMware – Zerto. Best of the Best?


In our previous two articles we covered VMware’s SRM using vSphere SRM, and Veeam Backup and Recovery. Both of them are snap and replicate technologies that are fairly well known in the market. In this article we will discuss Zerto, one of the only journaling recovery technologies on the market. Zerto doesn’t leverage traditional snap and replicate to copy data to the recovery site. Zerto uses write journaling which allows a tighter RTO / RPO and doesn’t have the inherent draw backs up snapshots.

Zerto also will perform replication for DR and backup functions, but the backup technology isn’t as mature as Veeam’s. I will say one thing Zerto has done right is limit the amount of Windows servers needed in the environment. If you remember you need a Windows servers for Veeam’s management server, and for each additional proxy. With Zerto you do need a Windows management server at each location, but all of the proxies are Linux virtual appliances; I applauded Zerto for this design choice.

The software is very simple install, it’s a simple executable and you can choose to use an imbedded database, or connect to a SQL server. The whole install process asks you less than a half a dozen questions.

Another thing I like about Zerto is how easy it is to deploy the recovery appliances. You simple navigate to the setup tab once the software installs, you select your ESXi host, and you select install for the action menu. You provide the IP address or hostname for the ESXi host, and the root credentials and your work is finished. It’s one of the easiest install processes out of the group.

Once you have the appliances installed you create a Virtual Protection Group and add your VMs to it. Like any other replication software you define your RTO a repository (which can be local or an NFS share), and a few other common options.

It’s very easy to navigate the interface, though I feel it could be a little more “mature’. I’ve been told the UI is something Zerto is actively working on so I look forward to the improvements in the next version. What I really like is that the summary screen gives you a quick view of important details about your RTO time objectives. It will tell you at a glance if you’re missing your objectives. It will also tell you the load on your proxies, I/O load, and how much bandwidth you’re using.

The truly amazing thing about Zerto is how small you can define your RPOs to be. The default setting is 10 seconds, and you can step back in time for hours. This is the DVR like functionality generally reserved for storage based appliances like Recover Point.

Key Items for Zerto:

Unified DR and Backup – Pro

Keep in mind backup functionality is limited, but it’s something the company said they are working hard on. I would expect this to mature quickly.

Write Journaling – Pro

Write journaling is a better technology then snap and replicate. It avoids VM consolidation issues on the target side, and achieves better RPOs

Scalability – Pro / unknown

I need to be honest I haven’t used this in a production environment like I have the past two technologies. However the creators of this technology developed Recover Point which leads me to believe this will be a high quality product. I have also heard good things from customers using this in their production environments.

Support – Unknown

Again I haven’t used this in production, but from what I understand all support is US based.

Proxy Architecture – Pro

I love the fact that the Windows machines needed for this setup are limited. Kudos to Zerto.

Tape Out – Con

No tape out option for Zerto. I don’t doc the company to harsh because they are just adding backup capabilities. I’ve also heard that they may add archiving to Amazon or other cloud services like Veeam.



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