I wrote an article a while ago for TechTarget about DR to the cloud, outlining a somewhat cumbersome way to use vSphere replication. Since then I have had a chance to talk with Zerto a couple of times about their DR as a Service (DRaaS) offering.
You may remember Zerto’s products offering replication and DR run book automation for on-premises DR. Zerto have another product that is sold to cloud service providers which enables the provider to offer DRaaS. The DRaaS is deployed to a large number (150+) of cloud service providers and in use by hundreds of customers. As you would expect the DRaaS product uses incremental replication of VM data and automates the run book for failover. The nice part is that the customer doesn’t need to rent capacity to run the VMs when they are not failed over. The main on-going resources are replication bandwidth and storage capacity for the replicated VM images.
Currently the DRaaS product only works with vSphere as the hypervisor, so both the customer and the provider must use vSphere. Since Zerto’s on premises DR product has just added support for Hyper-V you have to expect that the DRaaS product will inherit this support. I would also expect the extended hypervisor support and cross hypervisor migration that Zerto have on their roadmap will make it into this DRaaS product too.
For organizations that want to control their own destiny Zerto are adding features to their on Premises product. The first is that support for Hyper-V replication and failover that I mentioned. It works just the same as the vSphere support which is to say really well. In fact in the Tech Field Day presentation we could barely tell the Hypervisor wasn’t vSphere. Another interesting feature is the ability to retain multiple backup copies at the DR site. This allows the DR VM copy to be used for retention purposes like Backup and Compliance. Adding the ability to do file level restore would be usefulhere, needing to restore a whole VM just to copy out one file is painful although it canbe scripted. For me this feature needs to add a “grandfather, father, son” retention rather than the current “maximum number retained” retention scheme. This is in line with what customers tend to do with their tape retention, a dozen daily, a few weekly and monthlies that are kept forever. I would also like to see the option to keep the most recent dozen copies at the primary site, allowing rapid file level restore.
Zerto have big plans to add VM conversion to all their products, allowing recovery onto dissimilar hypervisors. Think of having vSphere in your production datacenter but using Hyper-V or KVM in DR or at the cloud provider. Maybe even a planned migration from on premises to an AWS EC2 instance and back again. A free hypervisor would sit well with cloud providers as they need massive scale with low margins. This would also help with Hotel California scenarios where VMs are trapped on one hypervisor or cloud and customers really want to move elsewhere. Zerto have a pretty bold vision and have been delivering on it for a few years now. If you are looking for DR products Zerto should be on your evaluation list.
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