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Zerto launches separate backup product alongside 8.5 update

Zerto Data Protection uses the same CDP tech found in Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition to deliver low-RTO backups. Zerto 8.5 also added backup-related features.

Zerto moved squarely into the backup software arena today with the launch of Zerto Data Protection (ZDP).

ZDP uses the same continuous data protection (CDP) engine found in Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition, the vendor's disaster recovery (DR) product. Rather than snapshot-based replication, ZDP captures changes in data as they happen and stores them into a local journal. Customers can recover from that journal without data loss and from any point in time. Data in the journal can also be set to periodically replicate to lower-cost storage, such as on-premises disk or the public cloud for long-term storage.

From a feature perspective, ZDP is a lighter version of Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition focused on recovery rather than failover. It is missing business continuity and DR components such as orchestration and automation to boot workloads up in the correct order at a failover site. Zerto Enterprise Cloud Edition includes everything in ZDP. Both use the same interface and CDP engine.

ZDP costs less than Zerto's DR offering, but the vendor declined to give exact pricing information. Zerto claims ZDP can save customers 50% compared with traditional, non-CDP methods of backup by reducing downtime and data center overhead, and cutting data loss to seconds.

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, director of technical marketing at Zerto, said the company's DR customers typically use a separate backup product. The goal of ZDP is to show how Zerto's CDP technology can help customers meet increasingly stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) better than they could using traditional snapshot-based technology. As a separate product, the hope is that ZDP will appeal to organizations looking to address the backup use case that have no interest in a DR product. Over time, these customers may eventually use Zerto's products for backup, DR and long-term retention use cases.

Alongside ZDP's launch, Zerto also released version 8.5 on Thursday, which added cloud and backup features. Zerto 8.5 can back up files to Microsoft Azure and AWS for long-term retention and has added support for VMware on public clouds. New backup capabilities introduced in 8.5 include data compression, audit trail logging and role-based access control for backup admins.

Van Doorn said the next version of Zerto will add support for "ice-cold" cloud storage tiers such as Azure Blob and Amazon Glacier. Zerto for Kubernetes, which entered tech preview in June, will go into beta next month, with a launch date in early 2021.

Krista Macomber, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group, pointed out that other vendors such as Commvault have been splitting off dedicated software packages to handle backup and DR use cases separately. She said the reasoning behind this is sound -- all applications require protection, but not all protection is equal. Some mission-critical applications require the highest tier of data protection and availability, but it would be expensive to put everything on that tier. The same vendor offering different products for different SLAs can make it easier for customers to determine if they're using the right data protection tool for their applications.

Different approaches are required to meet protection requirements without breaking the bank.
Krista MacomberSenior analyst, Evaluator Group

"Different approaches are required to meet protection requirements without breaking the bank. I think it's a smart move," Macomber said.

Van Doorn said ZDP is poised to disrupt the world of backup with CDP technology, but Macomber said that could be a tall order. Traditional snapshot-based backup is entrenched, and most customers are cautious about switching backup vendors. Macomber said he expects ZDP's initial customers to be current Zerto customers who want to lower the recovery points for their operational backup or consolidate their data protection vendors. Outside of that, Macomber said Zerto's products are a good fit for organizations experiencing trouble hitting their recovery time or recovery point objectives.

Macomber said the Zerto 8.5 updates are incremental but important. The backup-related upgrades are clearly part of the vendor's push into that use case, but the cloud support shows a growing trend of data protection and cloud becoming joined at the hip. Data protection operations are growing larger, as organizations need to protect more of their environments. Cloud offers better scalability, remote accessibility and greater simplicity in both deployment and management compared with handling data protection on premises.

"Cloud is increasingly a part of the data protection conversation for many customers," Macomber said.

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