With the latest version of its data protection software, Zerto is deepening its integration with partners and moving deeper into what one analyst calls "a blending of backup and DR.
Zerto 7.5 added features to work better in the cloud as well as more security, analytics and long-term retention support. The update also added support for three of Zerto's biggest technology partners: Microsoft Azure, VMware and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
This translates into support for failback from Azure Managed Disks, Microsoft Managed Service Identity and CloudSimple's Azure VMware Solution. On the VMware front, Zerto 7.5's new vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering (VAIO) certification has enabled secure boot and policy-based storage management. Zerto's integration with HPE StoreOnce Catalyst means customers can deduplicate backup copies at the source before sending them to a central StoreOnce backup system, providing better storage and network efficiency.
Zerto began as a virtual replication tool to enable disaster recovery, but recent editions of the software added features more suited to backup. Some of the partner integration in Zerto 7.5 will move it further into backup. For instance, long-term retention support through HPE StoreOnce will enable customers to consolidate their backup and disaster recovery (DR) on one product.
The convergence of backup and DR
"We're clearly seeing a blending of backup and DR," said George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland.
Crump said high-availability (HA) vendors such as Zerto are starting to look like backup vendors while more traditionally recognized backup players such as Veeam and Commvault are introducing features like instant recovery. Therefore, it's no surprise that Zerto is supporting the HPE StoreOnce disk repository.
Zerto 7.5 also updated the Zerto Analytics tool with a new interface and a new resource planner. The resource planner will enable customers to forecast compute, storage and networking requirements based on historical and real-time data and also monitor individuals' storage and network resource usage. There's also a tool that allows users to see the "tradeoff" between storage capacity and journal size, which determines how long data is protected.
Backup speed vs. retention options
Crump believes Zerto has better recovery time than its backup competitors, but lacks competitors' robust long-term retention capabilities. If a customer has five critical applications that absolutely must be up within five minutes of an outage, Zerto has its competitors beat. Crump said recovery speed is top of mind for most organizations, as recovery timeframes are growing tighter and more applications are considered business-critical.
However, the traditional backup vendors support a wider variety of long-term retention options, including tape. Crump also said cost factors into the equation, so customers with a 5-hour recovery window may find it cheaper to go with one of Zerto's competitors.
Ultimately, though, Crump said he believes every backup vendor should be looking at orchestrating the recovery process and delivering ways to streamline it.
"Speed becomes less of an issue if you can orchestrate it because you don't have to babysit it for four hours," Crump said. "The question becomes: 'Can I literally push a button and walk away?'"
Zerto's focus on security features and cleaner integration with Microsoft Azure and VMware were positives in 7.5, Crump said. Ransomware continues to be a threat, and secure boot and access management are important means of defending against it.
Zerto already has significant integration with Amazon Web Services. Now that it has shored up support for Azure, the vendor is looking at Google Cloud Platform, according to Zerto VP of product marketing Caroline Seymour.