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When AJ Klum joined AmesburyTruth as IT systems engineer, he soon found his company had all the pieces it needed for a good cloud disaster recovery setup. It just wasn't using them for cloud DR. Getting it all working took some doing, but the Edina, Minn., building materials firm now uses Zerto replication to the Microsoft Azure cloud in place of a rented DR site.
The window and door component manufacturer used Zerto's replication capabilities for data migration between data centers when Klum joined in late 2017. He found that to be a narrow use case for software designed for DR replication and business continuity.
Klum said Zerto software was already licensed, set up and running. It just wasn't doing what it did best.
"They weren't really utilizing Zerto for what its main intended purpose was," Klum said.
Klum said every commercial building in the United States likely has a component from either AmesburyTruth or Bilco Company, which the former acquired in 2016.
At the time Klum joined, AmesburyTruth was renting a TierPoint data center as a DR site. Klum wanted to use Azure as a failover site instead. He said now that he's using Zerto for DR replication to the Azure cloud, he's getting six-second recovery point objectives and eight-minute recovery time objectives.
Although he praised Zerto's simple interface and single pane of glass for monitoring the DR replication of 80 servers to Azure cloud, Klum admitted he had a rocky start trying to get Zerto and Azure to work together.
AmesburyTruth buys and sells many companies, according to Klum, and it is itself a child company of Tyman PLC, an international supplier of door and window components. Klum's issues came from untangling Azure's access controls.
When a failover happens, a new resource group is created in Azure. Klum found while his parent company had full control and access to the Azure cloud, AmesburyTruth did not. This created an issue where he couldn't access the new, failed-over environment.
"There were a lot of problems in the beginning, but it was totally not Azure or Zerto's fault. Our problem was with our tenant," Klum said.
AJ KlumIT systems engineer at AmesburyTruth
Zerto readily offered help and support, and Klum eventually worked it out. He surmised that he wasn't the only customer to have encountered his situation and noted the Zerto support team's expertise with Azure has grown over the last year.
Before using Zerto for DR replication, AmesburyTruth used Veritas Backup Exec. Klum said he found Zerto had a simpler interface and better features, including the ability to fail over to an isolated segment and test updates there before pushing them live.
AmesburyTruth still uses Backup Exec to handle point-in-time and long-term backups. However, Klum's next project is to update Zerto to version 7.0 and transition off of Backup Exec. The key feature of Zerto 7.0, the Elastic Journal, allows point-in-time recovery going back years. This would make Backup Exec obsolete for Klum.
"As soon as I put 7.0 on there, I promise all those Backup Execs are going away," Klum said.
Klum said part of his job is being the first level of support for his IT environment. The one feature he wants to see improved with Zerto is a way to parse through the log files for troubleshooting. He knows Zerto has a tool for making sense of log files, and he said he could be a lot more proactive with support if he had access to that tool.
He said he wants to avoid being in situations where his boss tells him to fix something, and the best he can do is get on the phone with Zerto.
"He knows all I'm going to do is pick up the phone and call support," Klum said.