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Zerto Virtual Replication adds Azure reverse replication

Zerto serves up smoother disaster recovery with its 'Balvenie' release. The software now has more granular analytics and reverse replication in the Azure cloud.

BOSTON -- Zerto this week previewed the latest version of its disaster recovery, with enhancements to make DR a smoother process for its customers. The release is code-named "Balvenie" in honor of the Scotch whisky brand.

The DR vendor previewed Zerto Virtual Replication 5.5 at its ZertoCON user conference, highlighting a reverse-replication capability for the Microsoft Azure cloud, so customers can fail over from Azure to another cloud target for data protection in a hybrid cloud. Version 5.5 is in beta, with general availability expected around August.

Zerto is also adding analytical functionality for capacity planning for journals across multiple Zerto Virtual Managers, as well as analytics around recovery point objectives (RPOs). The capacity planning will be accessed through a portal built on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) back end currently in beta.

The Zerto Virtual Replication product is geared toward enterprises needing to protect multi-terabyte virtual machines with RPOs in seconds, across hypervisors and clouds. It replicates block-level changes from the hypervisor. It follows Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0, which was released in November and performed simultaneous replication from one-to-many targets.

"We started this a year ago," said Rob Strechay, Zerto's vice president of product. "The underpinning for this was built in the 5.0 release. Now, we are going to the 5.5 release. We are looking at how to make things less complicated."

Rob Strechay, Zerto's vice president of productRob Strechay

The reverse-replication function in 5.5 provides more flexibility in DR situations. Zerto plans to extend the capability to Amazon Web Services (AWS) next year. Zerto calls the capability "bidirectional replication," although it's not in active-active mode.

"It's two asynchronous streams," Strechay said.

'More proactive' disaster recovery

The analytics in the Zerto Virtual Replication upgrade gives customers more predictive historical analysis on their DR environment. The company started building the SaaS infrastructure a year ago to allow customers to monitor virtual machines. A new mobile widget lets customers view RPO statistics without going into the application. Customers can monitor historical stats of their RPOs over a two- to three-month period and view stats such as the percentage of RPO service-level agreements being met.

This is the first step to being more predictive and more proactive in disaster recovery.
Rob Strechayvice president of product at Zerto

"This is the first step to being more predictive and more proactive in disaster recovery," Strechay said. "You have to be more proactive, not reactive."

In an analyst panel discussion at ZertoCON, Forrester Research vice president and research director Stephanie Balaouras advocated for users to take advantage of cloud DR testing, which Zerto offers.

"It's the single best thing you can do to improve your maturity," Balaouras said.

Zerto has two other software releases planned for 2018, each also code-named after whisky brands. "Cardhu" is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018, and "Dalmore" is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018. Support for reverse replication in AWS and journal file-level recovery for Linux environments will be part of those releases, but Zerto has not determined in which versions those features will appear.

The company also plans to do analytics for Docker and containers.

"We are going to get into more predictive coding for our customers," Strechay said.

The "Balvenie" release has more than 30 new APIs targeted for Zerto partners. For instance, Zerto partner EnsureDR integrates with Zerto to manually test hundreds of servers in a disaster recovery scenario in an effort to reduce manual test errors.

"A lot of what we are trying to do is fill out our APIs," Strechay said. "They are trying to automate the things that are tough. Many of our partners take our APIs and build them into their portals. It's great that managed service providers are providing one-click disaster recovery."

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