Zerto Virtual Replication

Zerto recently released its Zerto Virtual Replication 3.0, and claimed that it "brings simple, automated disaster recovery to all virtualized workloads at the VM-level". While this tool might be useful in a strictly VMware world, it only addresses part of the business continuity and disaster recovery problem.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Zerto comes around from time to time to introduce a new product, a major customer win, or just to talk about how replication can be a central pillar of an organization's availability/reliability plans. This time, the conversation centered on version 3 of the company's Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR).

What is ZVR?

Zerto Virtual Replication is, in Zerto's words:

Zerto provides enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions for virtualized infrastructure and cloud. Zerto won Best of Show at VMworld 2011, as well as 2011 Product of the Year Gold Award because our software, Zerto Virtual Replication, is the industry's first hypervisor-based replication solution for tier-one applications. Zerto Disaster Recovery solutions replace traditional array-based BCDR that was not built to deal with virtual environments.

ZVR is a replication product that reaches into VMware's vSphere and vCenter environments so that it can replicate virtual machines to assure availability and reliability. This capability is not based upon creating snapshots of the virtual machines. The product can replicate complete VMware-based environments even if the virtual machines are encapsulating distributed, multi-tier workloads that span data centers or live in the cloud.

Snapshot analysis

Zerto's tight focus on VMware environments is both a strength and a weakness. While ZVR appears to be a "set it and forget it" tool for replication in a VMware environment, it does not offer, at this moment, abilities to deal with virtual machines running in a Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM, or Red Hat KVM-based environment. Furthermore, it is designed to address business continuity only in an X86-based environment.

So if an organization has a mixed environment that includes many different X86-based virtual environments or has workloads executing on Mainframes, Midrange UNIX systems, or other single-vendor environments, Zerto is, at best, only part of a solution.

VMware users comment that Zerto has helped them with continuity and replication of virtual machines to distributed datacenters or branch offices. If organizations have a more diverse IT infrastructure, Zerto can't offer a broad solution to business continuity or disaster recovery.

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