Storage Q&A: Is VM Customizable DR Protection essential?

Data protection is vitally important for your business. But not only do you have to protect your data, you have to have the right data going to the right location at the right time. After a recent video shoot with Jennifer Gill of Zerto, George Crump and I spoke with to her about Data Protection and Zerto’s role in the market.

Charlie: Jennifer talk to us a little bit about how you all are helping your customers get that right information to the right place at the right time.

Jennifer: The key to Zerto is that it’s hypervisor-based replication.

So we replicate within the hypervisor just the VMs that are interesting to the end user.

So they can select the applications, group those VMs together to their virtual protection group and make sure that it’s replicated exactly the way they like.

Because of the continuous block level replication, that delivers very low RPOs, so we have customers see the recovery point objectives in seconds. No limit in terms of distance, no limit in terms of bandwidth, so you get very, very low replication.

Charlie: George Crump, our founder and lead analyst from Storage Switzerland, is talking all over the world this year about data protection and talking to people who are the end users. George, how important is this type of technology to the end user to make their jobs better?

George: I think it’s critical. One of the things we’re always educating people on is that technology plays a role. But you need to have a process and a system. You want the technology to enable that system.

So what we are spending most of our time on with customers is identifying the right RTOs and RPOs, recovery point objectives, and recovery time objectives to make sure you hit the needs of specific applications.

The problem is, if you ask the actual end users, everybody is going to say “instant” and that’s not reality. So the ability to say okay “this application, if that goes down, thats a problem, I need to isolate that one.”

So that’s a real capability that I think you guys, Jenn, bring to the table the ability to set different levels for different applications?

Jennifer: When you look at an environment and they have TestDev and these other processes, but for production workloads, those are the ones you want to make sure you’re giving the absolute best protection. You can also do further granularity within Zerto. You can say out of these production workloads, those are the ones that need those sub 15 second RPO.

On the other hand, there may be others where you give the target of one minute. There are other solutions out there that deliver backup and other capabilities like that, but the DR is what’s really needed for these types of applications.

George: One of the things that always surprises end users when we talk to them – and frankly even as an analyst surprises me – is how many different disaster recovery solutions there are. You could almost get overwhelmed by the choices.

How do you help people choose between what you guys would do and an array based replication? I’m sure they all have their purposes, but what do you think your purpose is versus other technologies?

Jennifer: The first thing we do is proof of concept, so we’ll do that for anyone at anytime if they would like to contact us. It’s very easy to do. The product installs within 30 minutes. To help them differentiate we will have a call with them and help them figure out their needs, what’s going on in the environment.

Just to compare since you brought it up, with array-based replication, you are replicating at the LUN level. You don’t have the granularity to select the specific VMs and the specific application.

Also because you’re replicating at the LUN level, you replicate the entire LUN whether you’re using 20% of it or 80% of it. So we have customers that are actually able to reduce storage costs on the target site because they’re replicating just the VMs that are important to them.

George: Right, and I think that that is a huge differentiator, you’ve got to be able to get granular whether it’s improving performance or improving your ability to recover from a disaster. Understanding that VM specific activity becomes very critical.

Charlie: Thanks, Jennifer and George. We have a video with Zerto. Please check it out here on

To watch the video, click here.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

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