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JON WATKINS
Manager of Information Services at a energy/utilities company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good rollback capabilities, easy to use with an intuitive interface, and it has good integration with VMware
Pros and Cons
  • "Zerto is easy to use and the interface is very intuitive."
  • "It would be nice if we were able to purchase single licenses for Zerto. As it is now, scaling requires that we purchase a multi-pack."

What is our primary use case?

We are an electric utility and we have some pretty critical workloads. We have identified the most critical workloads in our environment and have implemented Zerto as a protective measure for them.

We try to keep our critical workloads protected, which are a subset of our systems. For example, we're not going to protect a print server with Zerto.

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that Zerto provides continuous data protection is key for us. We have tested on a regular basis, and in one case, we tested our entire ERP system. It is a pretty big workload that includes Linux servers, databases, and other components. It's about a 45-minute window to get it back up and running. For our test, we moved the entire system to our DR facility on a weekend, ran it for an entire week from the DR site, and then brought it back the following Sunday. It worked flawlessly.

What is most valuable?

I really like the 24-hour DVR-like rollback. For example, we had an issue a few years ago, when we still had an Exchange server on-premises. One of my staff came in for the morning to do vulnerability management, saw that some updates needed to be applied, applied the updates to the Exchange server, and it totally broke it. Everybody's email was down. To resolve things, we went to Zerto, rolled back to before the updates, and it was all done in less than five or 10 minutes. It was really quick. All of the email functionality was restored and it popped up and said, "Hey, you need an update." I said, "Please do not do that update." It was pretty good.

Zerto is easy to use and the interface is very intuitive. We have never had an issue with using it. We just have a one-man team to perform failbacks or workloads. It is very simple to do and during our test with the Exchange server, it was only a matter of a few clicks. It's always been an excellent product and they've only improved it over time. We're really pleased with it.

The integration with VMware is really good.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if we were able to purchase single licenses for Zerto. As it is now, scaling requires that we purchase a multi-pack. It hasn't been a big deal for us but it would still be helpful to have a little bit more granularity on the license count.

The only timeline or limiting factor, in my opinion, is how long it takes to replicate. That all depends on your infrastructure, and we happen to be pretty fortunate that we have a nice pipe in between the two locations, between here and our DR site. If you don't have that limiting factor, it's just a matter of time. You just wait long enough for it to replicate over and then you're covered.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for approximately seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We do the updates regularly and Zerto has never given us problems. We work with a lot of different technologies and we have a lot of problems, but Zerto has not been one of them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had much opportunity to explore scalability at this point. We're responsible for another organization's IT, as well. They're a sister company of ours and they're smaller than us, so we do all of their IT and we have them on Zerto. They're using us as a DR point.

From an expansion perspective, we scaled up from our initial install to include theirs as well, which I think we got pretty close to doubling our license count.

We are 100% deployed at this point. If we were ever to add another sister company, which is possible because we have other sister companies where opportunities may arise. A lot of the time, they're so small that they can't afford IT, so it's easier to have us manage it. In cases like this, we may have an opportunity to deploy Zerto.

We have a very small team of three people, so Zerto does not affect our headcount. There is me, who is the manager of IT or manager of information services. Then, we have our desktop technician, and then we have our network administrator.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have never had to use Zerto's technical support for anything major. Any time that we have had to contact them, it has been for minor stuff and it's worked out fine.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

A long time ago, when we had an EMC SAN, there was a VMware plugin that served as a replication solution. However, it was terrible and it never worked.

Zerto is a major upgrade that is easier to use and switching was excellent.

Replacing our legacy solution with Zerto has definitely saved us time and improved the quality of our process. I never felt like I could trust our previous solution, which was a big deal because when you're talking about backups, trust is a major factor. You have to be able to trust your solution and feel like it's going to work in a bad situation.

Zerto is one of those things that you love to have but you hate to have to use because it means that something bad is going on. That said, if there are serious problems then you want to have something that's rock solid. For us, that's Zerto, and we feel strongly about that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. We had some training with some Zerto engineers on how to set up the recovery groups and other things, but once that was set up, we made several changes later on as we played with it. Overall, it was very straightforward to configure and I think that we only had an hour of training.

The deployment took us a couple of weeks to get everything figured out, although it wasn't necessarily Zerto that was the hold-up. We only had a certain number of licenses, perhaps 15 in total. We spent time trying to determine which were our critical workloads, and there was some internal debate about it. From the Zerto perspective, there weren't a lot of issues.

It didn't take a lot of time, just a couple of weeks to get us up and going. We were actually up and technically running within that same day, but to truly boot it and get it where it needed to be, it took a couple of weeks. It was a new technology to us at the time, so it took a while to get up to speed with it.

In terms of our implementation strategy, we just tried to identify the critical workloads, find the ones that really needed to be protected and start to make those recovery groups. Then, we organized them in such a way that things worked properly. For example, the components of our ERP system do have to come up in a certain order. Finding all of that stuff out and fine-tuning the process was part of our strategy. Then, we slowly started moving those workloads across. We broke it down into groups and we did those groups one at a time until the implementation was complete.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team was responsible for implementation.

Maintenance-wise, we just keep it updated. Our network administrator applies the updates and checks the health from time to time. We have a dashboard on our big screen if we feel the need to monitor it. If we walk by and it looks like a protection group is in the red or yellow, then we look at what needs to be done to get the problem straightened out.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Price-wise, it's right in line with what we would figure. For what you get for it, it's really a good value, and we've never had any problem renewing it or anything like that.

License-wise, we budgeted $1,000 per VM. The minimum spend on it, in the beginning, can sometimes be a little bit of a headache for people, and they might have to budget creatively to get there, but once you're there, the renewals are worth it.

Licensing requires purchasing packages that consist of several licenses, and they cannot be purchased one at a time.

We paid for an hour of training that we took but otherwise, there have been no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We began looking at Zerto for several reasons including the cost, ease of use, and really, the flexibility of it. When you want to switch it over and do a different workload, it's not that big of a deal.

When we first began to consider using Zerto, we had a discussion with a grocery chain that is close to us. It's a specialty grocery chain and they have exotic foods sold out of two different locations. Christmas is their busiest time of year and they have several cash registers at each location doing transactions constantly.

They had to use Zerto during the middle of that Christmastime rush and failover, from one site to the other, all of their point of sale systems. They never lost a penny in transactions. For us, that was a big testimonial. They have a similar size of environment to ours as far as server infrastructure goes, so we didn't even look at anything else.

What other advice do I have?

At this time, we don't use Zerto for long-term data retention. Instead, we have some other technologies in place for that. We have Veem and we have some SAN replication and we have some network-attached storage, as well. We use Zerto as our first line of defense. For example, in response to a ransomware attack, we would use Zerto for sure to roll back before that event happened.

We have not had a ransomware attack, at least not yet. We fully expect that, if it ever does happen, we'll definitely utilize Zerto. It is essentially our insurance policy. If we ever have a ransomware incident, that would be our first line of defense to recover from it. In fact, we really haven't had many opportunities to use Zerto, thankfully. Zerto is one of those things that are great, and we're glad we have it, but you hope we never have to use it.

At this time, everything we do is on-premises but having DR in the cloud with Zerto is definitely something that we want to do in the future.

It is not important to us that Zerto offers both backup and DR functionality. For backup, we have it covered in other ways. Being in the utility business, we're very big on redundancy. In fact, we have backups to cover the backups and we have about five different levels of them that we utilize. Zerto covers the front line, and when something bad happens, we can roll back within a 24-hour period using it. Then, we have deeper levels handled by other products like Veeam. Funnily enough, Veeam kept telling us that they would add Zerto-like features, and at the same time, Zerto kept telling us that they would add Veeam-like features. We continue to use both of them.

I've recommended Zerto to several IT professionals that I've talked to because it's such a good product. I give them examples of what we have done.

Overall, it's a fantastic product.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Senior Network Engineer at a legal firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Reduced our overall compute and storage footprint, while continuous protection gives us countless restore-point opportunities
Pros and Cons
  • "The granularity enables us to failover specific workloads instead of an all-or-nothing type of scenario, where you have to move your entire IP block and your data center, or you have to move large chunks of VMs. Those situations also make it prohibitive to test effectively."
  • "The replication piece with the built-in WAN compression is important because the network circuit that we send our replication traffic across isn't actually behind our normal WAN accelerators. We were able to use Zerto's built-in WAN acceleration to help those workloads compress."
  • "The replication appliances tend to have issues when they recover from being powered off when a host is in maintenance mode. Sometimes you have to do a manual task where you go in and detach hard disks that are no longer in use, to get the replication appliances to power back on. There are some improvements to be made around the way those recover."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for disaster recovery for our day-one applications that need to be up first, upon failover.

How has it helped my organization?

We previously had our Microsoft SQL Servers set up as clustered pairs, with the primary in one data center and the secondary in the other, and they were staying in sync via SQL Server Log shipping. That was not a very efficient way to get SQL servers failed over. There were also some things that weren't replicated through log shipping, such as the SQL Server Agent jobs that are defined on the server, or the custom permissions that are set up for the different roles. Zerto was able to replicate the entire server, including the jobs and the permissions, and eliminate the need for us to have that secondary server. We were able to break all of our SQL clusters and just have standalone SQL Servers. It helped to increase our efficiency with failover and reduced our overall compute and storage footprint around SQL by about 40 percent.

When failing back or moving workloads, the solution saves time and reduces the number of people involved. The time from the initiation of a failback to the completion is about five minutes for us. We've also made some tweaks in the DNS to help that to update and replicate quickly so that we're not waiting for that, even if the resource is available. As for the number of people involved, for SQL especially, it used to require getting the SQL team involved and they would do everything manually. Now, anybody can just click through the recovery wizard and perform the failover.

Our savings from Zerto are around licensing and how we structure our current environment. We were able to save money with our on-prem deployment, but we don't use it for cloud.

And in terms of downtime, every time we test a failover it's non impactful to operations, because we're able to do testing in an isolated environment. Before, if we wanted to test our failover processes it was going to create a production outage. That is no longer the case. Before, when we were doing regular DR tests, I would estimate the cost of the downtime to have been about one weekend per quarter. That's the time we would have to take to do that. Only if we were to do a live failover as a test, which would probably not be done more than once a year, would we really have to worry about impacting any operations.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features would be the

  • granular configuration of your SLAs
  • built-in WAN compression as part of the replication 
  • easy wizard-based failover.

The granularity enables us to failover specific workloads instead of an all-or-nothing type of scenario, where you have to move your entire IP block and your data center, or you have to move large chunks of VMs. Those situations also make it prohibitive to test effectively.

The replication piece with the built-in WAN compression is important because the network circuit that we send our replication traffic across isn't actually behind our normal WAN accelerators. We were able to use Zerto's built-in WAN acceleration to help those workloads compress.

The failover is important because that way I can delegate initiating a failover to other people without their having to be an expert in this particular product. It's easy enough to cross-train people.

Continuous data protection is Zerto's bread and butter. They do all of their protection through your journaling and that continuous protection gives you countless restore-point opportunities. That's extremely important for me because if one restore point doesn't work, because it is a crash-consistent restore point, you have so many others to choose from so that you really don't have to worry about having an app-consistent backup to recover from.

Zerto is also extremely easy to use, extremely easy to deploy, and extremely easy to update and maintain. The everyday utilization with the interface is very easy to navigate, and the way in which you perform testing and failover is very controlled and easy to understand.

What needs improvement?

The replication appliances tend to have issues when they recover from being powered off when a host is in maintenance mode. Sometimes you have to do a manual task where you go in and detach hard disks that are no longer in use, to get the replication appliances to power back on. There are some improvements to be made around the way those recover.

My other main inconvenience is fixed in version 8.5. That issue was moving virtual protection groups to other hosts, whenever a host goes into maintenance mode. That's actually automated in the newer version and I am looking forward to not having to do that any longer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Zerto for coming up on four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My impression of its stability is very positive. It doesn't seem to have any issues recovering after you shut down any of the particular components of the application. It seems everything comes back up and comes back online well. 

Sometimes the replication appliances will stop functioning, for one reason or another, and most of the time a power cycle will resolve that. But anytime that I do have a sync issue, support will generally be back in touch with me within the first half hour after opening a ticket. They're very responsive.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is able to take on any size environment. We don't have a huge environment here. We only use it across 20 hosts, 10 at each site. They're very large hosts. If you have more than a certain number of virtual disks protected on a single replication appliance, the replication appliance will automatically make a clone of itself on that host to accommodate the additional virtual disks. It seems to be built to scale in any way that you need it to.

While our hosts are very large hosts, we don't have any current plans to extend that deployment because we have capacity to grow within our current infrastructure footprint, without having to add on resources.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate their technical support very highly. They're very responsive. Usually within the first 30 minutes of opening the case, someone has tried to reach out to me. I will just get a screen share, or a reply to my call with an answer, or a KB article. I have a very positive impression of their support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Site Recovery Manager for several years, and I always struggled with keeping that functioning and reliable. Every time something changed within the vCenter environment, Site Recovery Manager would tend to break. I wanted to switch to a DR product that I could rely on.

In addition to Site Recovery Manager, we were also using NetApp SnapMirror. We are still using that for our flat file data which is non VM-based. We have Rubrik as our backup solution because, while we replicate our backups, there's not any automation behind bringing those online in the other sites. So it's a manual process to do disaster recovery.

We were having to utilize those solutions to do the failovers for our day-one application in SQL and they were inefficient and ineffective for that. Zerto was able to come in and target those workloads that we needed better recovery time for, or where we needed a more aggressive replication schedule. Zerto is supplementing those other solutions.

Zerto is easier to use than the other solutions. There's definitely more automation and there are more seamless failover activities.

How was the initial setup?

When I deployed the solution, it took certainly less than a day to get it up and running. The upgrade process has been fairly seamless and painless, in the past, as we have gone from one version to the next. That includes some of the features they've enhanced, where it automatically updates the replication appliances as well as the management pieces.

We have two data centers and they're both Active-Active for one another. Our deployment strategy for Zerto was to stand up a site server at each one, pair them together, and then start identifying the first workloads to add into Zerto protection. We started with our SQL environment. 

I was the only one involved in the deployment. If I had questions I would ask my account team. My sales engineer and the account rep are both very knowledgeable. But I actually didn't need to open a support ticket as part of the deployment. It was very easy and straightforward.

About five of us utilize Zerto. I am the infrastructure engineer, focusing on the compute side of the house. We've got a storage engineer. My manager is an applications delivery manager who uses it. We've got another senior network engineer who focuses more on the runbook side of things, and he uses it. And my backup, who is our Citrix guy, is starting to use it.

Zerto doesn't really require any particular care and feeding. Whenever a new version comes out that has features sets, I'll decide when I'm going to update it and do that myself. It doesn't really even require a support call. It's pretty straightforward. For each management appliance, updates have taken 10 to 15 minutes, in the past. And it's just a couple of minutes for each replication appliance.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is quite significant. The SQL cost savings alone would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. That's due to the fact that we don't need to have our SQL clustering set up as an always-on cluster, which would need to be a higher tier of Microsoft licensing. We're able to use SQL standard for everything, and that wouldn't be possible without a third-party like Zerto to do the replication and failover.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Get the Enterprise Cloud license because it's the most flexible, and the pricing should come in around $1,000 per VM.

Support is an additional cost. We are currently doing three years of support. There's an additional 15 or 20 percent of overhead during each year of additional support for each license.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely take the free trial and put it through its paces, because you really can't break anything with it, given the way that you can do the testing. It gives you a good opportunity to play with the tools without having to worry about causing any problems in the environment.

We have plans to evaluate the solution for long-term retention. I'm going to start testing some of their features once we upgrade to version 8.5, and then we'll evaluate if it makes sense to do that or not. We do have other backup products that we're evaluating alongside of that though.

The solution has not reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and DR management. We already run a very lean engineering team.

I got what I expected. I'd actually been trying to bring the product in since 2014 but I kept not getting budget funding for it. I feel satisfied with what I ended up with and I'm glad that we were able to move forward with the project.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Learn what your peers think about Zerto. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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Disaster Recovery Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Replicates and recovers within minutes and enables our growth
Pros and Cons
  • "There are a lot of valuable features. The basics of what it does to replicate and recover things within minutes is awesome. It's far above anything that any of the competition has. We offer other disaster recovery software but primarily use Zerto for recovery times and the number of recovery points because of how fast and easy it is. It's so much better."
  • "The problem with the backup product is that it's not very mature and you really need a specific use case to be able to use it effectively. It's hard to explain to our customers, especially our large customers, that the use case is so limited."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Zerto is for disaster recovery. In the last few versions, they've offered backup, but we don't use it because it's not nearly as robust as what most of our customers are looking for. We also use it for migrations too, to migrate customers into our cloud, and things like that. But that's around 20% of our use case.

How has it helped my organization?

Zerto has enabled our growth. Five years ago we had around 20 customers and now we have 500. We protect around 15,000 VMs now.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is the analytics portal. It's still a new feature and has a ways to go but we use that for monitoring because we have hundreds of sites. It's nice that all the alerts and everything is consolidated into that one site because we used to have to make sure that we were connected to many, many sites to make alerting work, which was a nightmare. 

Our alerting is done through scripting too. They do have alerting through there and they're working on it. They actually included us in the study on it. So the actual pre-canned alerting is not very good either. For instance, if you were to have a problem at a certain site or something, there's no way that you could take it out of monitoring. If you were using their system, it would just flood you with alerts from all kinds of stuff from the site if it was down. It is great if it's down and you don't expect it, but if you know it's coming, you don't want all this stuff coming in.

There are a lot of valuable features. The basics of what it does to replicate and recover things within minutes is awesome. It's far above anything that any of the competition has. We offer other disaster recovery software but primarily use Zerto for recovery times and the number of recovery points because of how fast and easy it is. It's so much better.

We reduced the number of people involved in recovery situations by using Zerto. We had another solution before and we had a small number of customers and it took the whole team to manage 20 customers. Now we have 400 to 500 customers and our team is relatively the same size. We're broken up into different teams, but when we managed it all ourselves with only 20 customers, we had four people. And now we have around 500 customers and we have around 15 team members.

Zerto is very easy to use on the surface, especially if you're an enterprise customer, which is just like A to B replication or one site to two sites. As a cloud provider, they still have a lot of work to do. But for most customers, it would be fantastic. We have a lot of private clouds that are one site or two sites to another site. So when it's not meshed like our larger environment is, it works fantastic. But when you get into the overall fully meshed model with vCD integration that we have, it doesn't work as well. I think Zerto is mostly concentrated on the enterprise customer and left the cloud providers by the wayside.

What needs improvement?

Zerto has a really robust PowerShell and scripting that you can get lots of numbers out of but it's not exactly the easiest thing to do. Zerto has a few nice the pre-canned reports but there is a need for more. Unless you script something, it's difficult to go in, click a button, and see the information that you may be looking for.

The problem with the backup product is that it's not very mature and you really need a specific use case to be able to use it effectively. It's hard to explain to our customers, especially our large customers, that the use case is so limited.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for five and a half years. It's deployed on-premises, on the cloud, and we use it as a SaaS offering. We are the cloud provider. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable solution, for the most part. They have a new release every six months and some releases are better than others as far as bugs. Sometimes those bugs have to do with something in Hyper-V, sometimes they have something to do with VMware or vCenter. But many times it's directly related to Zerto problems. Usually, their major releases go in .0 and .5. The .0 releases have the new features in them and they're more buggy and the .5 releases are more stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's extremely scalable, in a small sense, but the problem is when you get very meshed, with 10 sites replicating to 10 sites, and each one of them is meshed in to be able to replicate it to the other one. Then scalability starts to become problematic.

The big thing is, we have a cloud manager that manages all our ZVMs, which enterprise customers probably wouldn't have. You can only upgrade half a release for each upgrade. So you couldn't go from Zerto six to Zerto seven. For instance, you have to go to 6.5 and then go to seven.

Trying to upgrade is not easy because every customer that's paired and replicating into those sites has to upgrade it in those steps. It takes us several months, twice a year, to get everybody upgraded. They have a portal called Cloud Control which makes things better as far as upgrades, but they recently broke it with version 7.5 by adding encryption. So it was useless. We just upgraded to a version in which it should be working again, so the next time we're going to try to use the Cloud Control to upgrade. Hopefully, it will be better. We only really have one round of upgrades through the Cloud Control to get an idea of how well it worked. 75% of the time, those upgrades work without problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

There was a time where they had customer service people just taking tickets and couldn't really help you at all, which was terrible. Now, they have a level-one level-two-type model. The level-one guys are getting better, but as they grow and things like that, it can be difficult. 

All of our engineers are certified and we would like to go straight to level two. A lot of times we waste a lot of time with level one, and then they put the ticket in the queue for level two. So it takes another day to get to level two unless we're really loud and escalating the ticket right away. The biggest problem that we have with Zerto is getting to level two. 90% of the time, because of our knowledge, level one is not useful to us. Although, it probably would be to the average customer. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched from our previous solution because Zerto was so much easier from everything that we saw. We have a team that does testing and things like that. It was a pretty easy choice to move away from the platform and that platform no longer exists. It was bought by Microsoft and then they did away with it. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty easy. You have to have connectivity between your sites that you're replicating, your production, and then your DR site or sites. Getting that connectivity is the biggest thing. Once that connectivity is there, it's fairly simple. You deploy Windows VM, put a small software package on it, and then pair the two. You do the same thing at the recovery site and once those sites are able to talk. In VMware, you install a VM on each ESX host that you need to replicate a VM on. Then you create a policy to do that replication.  The replication policies work very well.  Re-IP on failover if problematic.

The network connectivity takes the longest. It can take weeks, depending on what you have to do to connect the sites. It could be a couple of hours if you're just setting up a VPN. If you're putting in a circuit, it could take a very long time. That's the X factor with it, but assuming that's already there, within an hour you could be replicating data from one site to another.

What about the implementation team?

In house.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. Otherwise, we wouldn't keep using it. The biggest thing is the number of VMs we can support with the staff that we have. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing is fair. We have an enterprise license in which Zerto gives us 20,000 licenses or something well above what they think we're going to sell for the year. Then all our customers pull from that pool. And we resell the licenses. We may sell 50 licenses to a customer but at the start of their contract, they may only have 30 VMs ready for DR. We contract them for 50, but eventually, they'll get up to 50. So we don't have to go to the vendor and add and remove one license here or one license there all the time.

That part of it is easy, but we do have to license all of our sites once a year, which is a pain and all of our sites report to Zerto Analytics. I've been asking them for years since they started Zerto Analytics, why we can't just put our license key on analytics rather than logging into hundreds of sites and putting them in each site. That's a real beast. They definitely need to fix the part where the site licensing is terrible. As far as the licensing VMs to replicate, that's great.  In version 9, Zerto plans on deploying a license server to address this.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Commvault was one of the big ones we looked at. We also looked at AWS Azure. We offer a bunch of other ones. Commvault is much more complex and expensive.

We just launched a lot of those last year, so we don't have the customer base yet.  Nutanix is primarily designed for people that are using Nutanix and not everybody does. Not everybody can use it. RecoverPoint for VMs is Dell EMC so it's geared towards people that are running VxRail.  For vCloud availability, you have to have vCloud director on both sides, which is not something that everybody has either. Those are more specific whereas Zerto is more generic. We generally have broader use.

What other advice do I have?

Some of the biggest problems that we've had as a cloud provider are the VCD integration and the Zerto Cloud Manager integration. If you can avoid those two things, avoid them.

I would rate Zerto an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
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Senior Manager, Technical Services at a logistics company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Simple to set up and use, and offers continuous data protection with a five-second interval
Pros and Cons
  • "This product is impressively easy to use. It's dummy-proof, once it's set up."
  • "The long-term recovery is a little bit weak in its granularity."

What is our primary use case?

We use Zerto for real-time replication of our systems, company-wide. The main reason is disaster recovery failover.

How has it helped my organization?

We use the long-term retention functionality, although it is not deployed system-wide. We have a lot of critical systems backed up, such as our file servers. We utilize it to hold things for up to a year and we send our long-term retention to ExaGrid appliances.

When we need to failback or move workloads, this solution has decreased the time it takes and the number of people involved. The entire process is, realistically, a one-person job. We usually have an application specialist involved just to validate the health of the server. Whether it's an SQL server or application server, we have somebody that runs integrity checks on it. That said, the entire process is very painless and easily handled by one person.

I estimate that this product saves us hours in comparison to products like Veeam. Veeam would take several hours of time to fail something over. 

Our company fell victim to a ransomware attack that affected between 50 and 60 servers. Until we knew for sure that the entire situation was remediated and that we weren't going to spread the infection, we restored the servers in an offline manner, which only took a matter of minutes to complete. Then, we pushed all of that data into Teams and OneDrive directly for people to start accessing it.

From the SQL server perspective, we failed those servers over, running health checks such as anti-virus scans, just to make sure that the failed over instance didn't contain the same situations. Thankfully, they did not. We probably saved ourselves several days worth of work in the grand scheme of things. In total, it potentially would have taken weeks to resolve using a different solution.

I wouldn't necessarily say that using Zerto has meant that we can reduce the number of staff in a recovery operation. However, I think it's probably mitigated the need to hire more people. Essentially, as we've continued to grow, we've avoided adding headcount to our team. Using Veeam as my problem child to compare against, if we were using it, it would have required a lot more management from us. It would have cost us more time to recover and manage those jobs, including the management of the ExaGrid appliances, as well as the VRAs, which are basically proxies.

Definitely, there is a huge saving in time using Zerto and although we didn't reduce any headcount or repurpose anything, we've definitely mitigated at least two people from the hiring perspective.

Zerto saved us considerable downtime when we experienced the ransomware attack. It may be hard to substantiate that just on the one situation but we saved at least a couple of million dollars.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the continuous recovery with the five-second checkpoint interval. Just having those checkpoints prior to when a situation arises, we're able to get the transactional data that occurred right before the server failed. That has been a blessing for us, as we are able to provide a snapshot with no more than five seconds of data loss. This means that we don't have to recreate minutes or hours worth of data for an industry that includes fulfillment, shipping, warehousing, et cetera.

Zerto is very good at providing continuous data protection. It does a very good job keeping up with the system and it creates five-second interval checkpoints. This has been helpful when it comes to needing to fail something over, getting that last moment in time that was in a usable state.

This product is impressively easy to use. It's dummy-proof, once it's set up.

What needs improvement?

The long-term recovery is a little bit weak in its granularity. Veeam is definitely superior in that aspect, as it's able to provide a granular view of files and databases, et cetera. However, it just kind of depends on what a business' recovery strategy is.

From our business perspective, it's really not impactful to us because our recovery strategy is not based on individual files. But, I could definitely see it being a challenge if there is a very large instance of individual files, as a subset, that need to be recovered. I think that if somebody has terabytes of data then Zerto will recover it faster but navigating through the file explorer to get to files is not as easy with Zerto.

One thing I don't like about the product, and I know this is where their claim to fame is, but whenever I have a VPG that has multiple virtual machines in it, and one virtual machine falls behind, it'll pause replication on everything else in that job until the one server catches up. The goal is to keep symmetric replication processing going, so the strategy makes sense, but for our business model, that doesn't really work and it has created a challenge where I have to manage each VM individually. It means that instead of having one job that would cover multiple servers, I just have one job to one server, which allows me to manage them individually.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Zerto for approximately five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From a company perspective, a few years ago, I would have said that it is very stable. It is a solution that is thriving and growing. At this time, however, HP is in the process of acquiring them. While I had assumed that was their long-term plan, I didn't quite anticipate HP being the one to pick them up. As such, I am a little bit worried about what will change in the long term.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's a very painless product. As we continue to grow out our virtual environment, Zerto is able to, in a very nimble fashion, scale with us with very little effort or overhead involved.

I'm covering approximately 400 VMs currently, which is approximately 360 terabytes worth of data. That is between two separate data centers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Rating the Zerto technical support is a little bit tough because I've had some experiences that were truly 10 of 10, but then I've had one or two experiences where it was definitely a two or a three out of 10. It really depends on who I've gotten on the phone and their level of, A, comfort with their own system, and B, comfort helping the customer.

Some people have said this isn't within their scope of work, where others have said, "No, let's absolutely do this." In that regard, it's been a little hit and miss, but it's usually been a decent quality in the end.

Overall, I would rate the technical support a seven out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have worked with Veeam in the past and although I prefer Zerto, there are some advantages to using Veeam. For example, long-term recovery offers more features.

In-house, we had also used the Unitrends product, as well as a SAN-to-SAN replication using an old HPE LeftHand array.

The main reasons that we switched to Zerto were the management ability, as well as its ability to provide continuous replication. Veeam was a very cumbersome product to manage. There were a lot of instances to monitor and manage from a proxy perspective, whereas Zerto's VRAs are relatively transparent in their configuration and deployment. These are painless and I don't have to continually monitor them. I don't have to update them since they're not like standalone Windows instances. It's very low management for us.

Of course, continuous replication is critical because Veeam, even though when we had owned the product, it claimed 15-minute intervals were doable, it never seemed to actually keep up with those 15-minute snapshot intervals.

One final reason that we migrated from Veeam is that they were utilizing VM snapshots at the time. I know that they've moved away from that approach now, but it was very painful for our environment at the time. The VMware snapshots were causing some of our legacy and proprietary applications to fail.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple.

Our implementation strategy involved setting it up for our two data centers. We have a primary and secondary data center, and Zerto keeps track of all of the VMs at the primary site and replicates them to the other site.

In the future, we plan on looking into the on-premises to cloud replication. On-premises to Azure direct is on our roadmap.

What about the implementation team?

I completed the setup myself without support or anybody else involved in the deployment.

It took approximately an hour to deploy.

I handle all of the administration and maintenance. As the senior manager of infrastructure, I oversee our work and server group. I have also retained private ownership over the disaster recovery plan and failover plan.

What was our ROI?

We have probably not seen a return on investment from using Zerto. We don't really have lots of situations where we have to use it and can substantiate any kind of financial claim to it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I do not like the current pricing model because the product has been divided into different components and they are charging for them individually. I understand why they did it, but don't like the model. 

Our situation is somewhat peculiar because when we bought into it, we owned everything. Later on down the road, they split the licensing model, so you had to pay extra for the LTR and extra for the multi-site replication. However, since we were using LTR prior to that license model change, they have allowed us to retain the LTR functionality at our existing licensing level, but not have the multi-site replication.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not evaluated other options in quite a long time. We very briefly evaluated Rubrik. 

What other advice do I have?

When we first decided to implement Zerto, it wasn't very important that it provides both backup and DR in one platform. In fact, realistically, even now, while we have it and we used it on a limited scope, I'm not sure that it's needed.

With respect to our legacy solutions, I'd say that the cost of replacing them with Zerto is net neutral in the end.

My advice to anybody who is considering Zerto is that it's an awesome product and it won't steer them wrong. That said, there are some issues such as the licensing model and the situations where VPGs falling behind suspends the replication. Overall, it is a good product.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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Technical Account Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Top 20
Decreases the time it takes when we need to failback or move workloads
Pros and Cons
  • "The testing features are the most valuable features of this solution. We use the failover test feature not just for testing failovers and disaster recovery, we've also had clients use it for development purposes as well as patching purposes to test patches. We can failover the VM and then we can make any changes we want without affecting production. It's a nice sandbox for that usage."
  • "One improvement that could make it easier would be to have an easier way to track journal usage and a little bit more training around journal sizing. I've done all the training and the journal is still a gray area. There is confusion surrounding how it's billed and how we should bill clients. It would be easier if it had billing suggestions or billing best practices for our clients to make sure that we're not leaving money on the table."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for disaster recovery and migrations. We have two primary sites that we replicate to. If there are on-prem clients we replicate back and forth between those two and then we replicate our off-prems to them as well. We use on and off-prem as well as Azure. 

How has it helped my organization?

We actually have rescued a couple of clients that have had disasters on-prem due to weather or data center outages. One of our clients had left us for a cheaper provider and before our disks and retention points expired out, the cheaper provider had a flood in their data center. We were able to restore the client using the old restore points back into our data center, which was a huge win for us because it was a fairly large client. That client has worked with us ever since then. 

Zerto saves us time in data recovery situations due to ransomware. We've had a couple of ransomware incidents with clients in the last year and a half. I've worked on ransomware issues before when Zerto wasn't involved and it was much more complicated. Now, with Zerto, it's at least 50 to 75% faster. We're able to get a client up and running in a matter of an hour, as opposed to it taking an entire day to build or locate the ransomware and rebuild from shadow copies or some other archaic method.

It decreases the time it takes when we need to failback or move workloads because we use disaster recovery runbooks that we work with our clients to maintain. Anybody at our company, at any given time, can pick up this runbook and go with it so we can assign one or two techs to the incidents. They work with the client and get them back up and running quickly. We're 50 to 75% faster. It's now a matter of hours as opposed to days. In an old disaster recovery situation, it would be all hands on deck. With Zerto, we can assign out a technician or two, so it's one or two techs as opposed to five to 10.

There has been a reduction in the number of people involved in the overall backup. We have the management fairly minimized. There are only two primary subject matter experts in the company, one handles the back-end infrastructure and one handles the front-end, that's pretty much it. We're a fairly large company, with 500+ clients, so it's been stripped down, so to speak. 

From what I've seen, we do save money with Zerto, especially for long-term retention like the Azure Blob Storage. We had a recent incident where a client had to go back to a 2017 version of a server that was around three to four years old, just to find a specific file, and it only took us an hour to locate the proper retention point and mount it for him and get him back what he needed.

What is most valuable?

The testing features are the most valuable features of this solution. We use the failover test feature not just for testing failovers and disaster recovery, we've also had clients use it for development purposes as well as patching purposes to test patches. We can failover the VM and then we can make any changes we want without affecting production. It's a nice sandbox for that usage.

We also use it for migrations into our data center. We bring in new clients all the time by setting up Zerto in their on-prem and then replicating to wherever their destination will be in our environment.

We've also used Zerto to migrate to the cloud.

Zerto provides continuous data protection. I'd give it a 10 out of 10 as far as that goes. The recovery points are very recent, generally five to 15 seconds of actual production. It's very convenient.

It's also fairly simple to use. Zerto does have some quirks but they have worked those out with recent releases. They're really good about listening to feature requests. We're actually a Zerto partner at our company, so they take our feature requests pretty seriously. Zerto is one of the easiest disaster recovery products I've used. We use Veeam as well which is much more complicated to set up in the back-end.

What needs improvement?

Zerto seems to keep up with what I think needs to be improved pretty well.

One improvement that could make it easier would be to have an easier way to track journal usage and a little bit more training around journal sizing. I've done all the training and the journal is still a gray area. There is confusion surrounding how it's billed and how we should bill clients. It would be easier if it had billing suggestions or billing best practices for our clients to make sure that we're not leaving money on the table.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for three and a half years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is pretty good. It's gotten better over the years. It's kind of 50/50 between features that have been added and our understanding and usage of the product over the last three years. But it's definitely gotten better.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's highly scalable. That's one of the things we like about it. We can empower clients. I have one client that's migrating from his on-premise into one of our private clouds, and we have enabled him to do so. We set up the environment and we're enabling him to build VPGs and migrate them as needed without our interaction at all. This is bringing in tons of revenue. It's super scalable and it seems to be not just easy for us to use, but easy for us to enable a client to use it as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is astounding. I've said that to Zerto technicians and I've said that to clients as well. Being in my role, I work with a lot of vendors, a lot of different support, and Zerto is off the charts as far as skill and ease to work with. It's been wonderful as far as that goes. Zerto was some of the best support I've had across vendors.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before Zerto, there really wasn't anything that was as good as Zerto, so it was a game-changer.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. 

For an off-prem client, I would send them a welcome letter that details what they need to do on their end with the server. I would send the download package, everything like that. If the client is immediately responsive, that could be done within an hour, but then some clients take a little longer. Once they have the infrastructure set up on their end and the VPN is set up, I can have a Zerto off-prem implementation replicating into one of our private clouds within an hour or two hours maximum, even for a large environment.

What was our ROI?

A client was migrating into one of our usage-based clouds, so it automatically bills by the resource pool. The more that they put in there, the more we gain. We've probably increased the input to that environment 10-fold. It's a 10-time multiple of what we invested into it, just particularly for that one use case because he's growing so rapidly. Every time he brings over a new client, it adds to the billing which is hands-free for us. We've enabled him to do it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is fair. For the license that we have and the way that it's priced, it is pretty simple and it's not over-complicated like some other platforms. It would be very beneficial to have some sort of training or even just documentation around every component of Zerto and how it should be built or there should be suggestions about how it should be built. It would help newer companies that are adopting the platform to have a better opportunity to grab all the revenue upfront.

Journal history was one of the things that we didn't take into consideration when we implemented Zerto initially and we lost a lot of money there. We talked to one of the reps after that and found out that some clients do roll in the cost of this journal and some clients actually charged separately for it. Zerto has made it easier to plan for that lately with Zerto Analytics, but it's still a gray area.

There aren't any additional costs in addition to standard licensing that I'm aware of. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We still use Veeam in the environment but the recovery points aren't as robust. They're a lot thinner. You can get maybe an hour or the same, but you can't get five-second production. We used Veeam and the old active-passive standard of building a server in each environment and replicating to it.

What other advice do I have?

I've actually pushed us to use Zerto for our backups with the solutions team for quite a while, since version 6.5. I don't think they plan on doing it just because we already have two other backup offerings and they don't want to complicate our Zerto infrastructure. From my understanding, we're not planning on doing it. But with every release, it gets so much better and it's just a matter of time before we revisit it.

My advice would be to follow best practices when it comes to back-end infrastructure. We have made some changes specifically to track certain things like swap files and journal history. Previously, we had everything going to production data stores and now we have dedicated journal data and restore data stores for swap files, which helps us to thin out the noise when it comes to storage. Storage implementation is very important. 

Make sure to go through all the training. The training on MyZerto is free, very straightforward and it's very informative. That's one of the things we didn't do initially but it wasn't really as available as it is now.

I would rate Zerto ten out of ten. 

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Senior System Administrator at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
More user-friendly than other solutions because of its GUI
Pros and Cons
  • "Since we are at a bank, there are certain protocols in place where we need to have RPO and RTO times of two hours or less. Zerto does a great job of setting those times and alerting us if those can't be met. We have our help desk actively monitoring that. It is extremely helpful that Zerto lists what is falling out of compliance in regards to RPO and RTO. It has been great in that regard."
  • "It has a file restore feature, which we have tried to use. We have had some issues with that, because the drives are compressed in our main file system. It is a Windows-based file server. So, it compresses the shares and can't restore those by default."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use it just for disaster recovery. We also utilize it for our quarterly and annual DR test.

It is on-prem. We have a primary location and a DR location.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we are at a bank, there are certain protocols in place where we need to have RPO and RTO times of two hours or less. Zerto does a great job of setting those times and alerting us if those can't be met. We have our help desk actively monitoring that. It is extremely helpful that Zerto lists what is falling out of compliance in regards to RPO and RTO. It has been great in that regard.

If we need to fail back or move workloads, Zerto decreases the number of people involved by half versus companies of similar size who don't have Zerto.

We have had patches that have broken a server. We then needed to have it right back up and running. We have been able to do that, which has been a huge plus. 

What is most valuable?

The real-time data protection is the most valuable feature. We are able to quickly spin up VMs instantly. 

We have also utilized it, from time to time, if our backups didn't catch it at night. If something was deleted midday, this solution is nice because you can use Zerto for that. 

I would rate Zerto very high in terms of it providing continuous data protection. We have had multiple instances that took days with our old DR test (before I was at my current company) and DR tests from other companies where I worked that didn't have Zerto. Now, we can realistically do DR tests in less than 30 minutes.

Zerto is extremely easy to use. If 10 is absolutely dummy-proof, I would give the ease of use an eight.

What needs improvement?

It has a file restore feature, which we have tried to use. We have had some issues with that, because the drives are compressed in our main file system. It is a Windows-based file server. So, it compresses the shares and can't restore those by default. However, we have done it with other things. It is pretty handy.

I would like it if they would really ramp up more on their PowerShell scripting and API calls, then I can heavily utilize PowerShell. I am big into scripting stuff and automating things. So, if they could do even more with PowerShell, API calls, and automation, that would be fantastic.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it at my company for almost four years. My company has been using it for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate stability as eight and a half out of 10.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would rate scalability as eight out of 10.

We monitor and use it every day. Our current license count is 150 VMs. I could definitely see us increasing that license because we keep adding more VMs.

As big as our company is, we don't have a very large infrastructure sysadmin group. I wouldn't say that Zerto has reduced our staff in any kind of way, but it definitely has helped the small amount of people that we have.

We have around 20 people using it: 

  • Our core admin group is four people, including me. To put that in perspective, we have a $10 billion bank and our core infrastructure team consists of just those four people. The core admin group does administration, creates VPGs, and executes the main day-to-day operations. 
  • We have a few users who are just monitoring it only. This is a read-only role. 
  • We have our help desk, which is basically read-only, but they actively monitor RTO and RPO every day, all day long. They leave up the dashboard on a huge TV and just keep an eye on things.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support as nine and a half out of 10. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that they are located in Boston, and you feel like you are talking to someone just like you. They do an excellent job of following up and escalating anything that is needed. I rarely have to call Zerto support, but I am confident that anytime I need to, then it will be resolved.

We stay in close contact with our main local rep.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My company never used anything quite like Zerto. We still use things for backup and recovery, such as Dell EMC Avamar, which used to be NetWorker. We also use RecoverPoint for applications, but it is not at all the same. There is actual real-time recovery. It is kind of a different animal.

How was the initial setup?

I have had to redeploy it a few times with data center changes and such. We went from your typical data center to Cisco UCS Blades to VxRack, a VMware Dell EMC product. With that, I had to deploy it from scratch.

It was pretty straightforward. There is plenty of very easy to follow documentation when it comes to implementing it. There is also a lot of training provided so you can understand it before you implement it. Those two things make it pretty easy.

Just to stand it up and get everything going, that took an hour or two. The overall implementation was over the course of three days, because our core is heavily utilized.

We had a ZVM Virtual Manager on our production side and another on our DR site. Most of our data is replicated from production to DR. We do have some that are in the DR replicating back, but not a lot. Our main concern was between both sites, because we don't have a very large pipe. Even though Zerto's compression is pretty good, we didn't want to send that data all back over. Our main priority, when we set it up again, was that we were able to retain a lot of the data at our DR location and remap it by using preseeded disks, which was huge.

What about the implementation team?

At least two staff members are required for deployment and maintenance. Whenever an update is released, we try to do that fairly quickly. For quarterly updates or major releases, we try to stay on top of them. Then, whenever we deploy new systems, applications, or servers, depending on the RTO and RPO, we add Zerto to those. That is daily, depending on how much workload we have and how many servers we are deploying. Those two people add those groups and such configuration into Zerto.

From an implementation standpoint, just follow the guide and check their support page for things. Worst case, reach out to support if you have already paid for it. It is pretty straightforward.

What was our ROI?

Zerto has helped reduce downtime. We have had servers go down and could easily spin them back up at our DR location almost instantly. Instead of taking an hour, it took a minute.

On average, it saves us three to five hours a day.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay for 150 VMs per year. It is not cheap.

Having backup and DR is somewhat moderately important to us. The problem with us, and a lot of companies, is the issue with on-prem Zerto. It utilizes whatever you have for a SAN. Or, if you are like us, we have a vSAN and that storage is not cheap. So, it is cheaper to have a self-contained backup system that is on its own storage rather than utilizing your data center storage, like your vSAN. While it is somewhat important to have both backup and DR, it is not incredibly important to have both. I know Zero is trying to heavily dip their toes in the water of backup and recovery. Once you see what Zerto can do, I don't think anyone will not take Zerto because they don't necessarily specialize in backup and recovery 100 percent. They do replication so well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Zerto did really well with presenting their solution to the management here, really getting people involved, and helping them understand what and how it could be used. At the time, their real-time recovery was pretty far above anybody else available, and even still somewhat.

Other solutions would take an entire workday to recover our core infrastructure. With Zerto, we are done within an hour for all our major systems.

As far as the GUI goes, Zerto is more user-friendly than a lot of other products, such as Avamar and Commvault. It is fairly easy to use, but I think the GUI interface of Zerto is pretty far above the rest.

We use Avamar, and I don't see Zerto replacing Avamar for the simple fact of retention and how expensive the storage is. Using an RPM storage is pretty pricey, especially to try to rely on that for a long retention of seven years, for instance. 

What other advice do I have?

When it comes to purchasing, I highly recommend Zerto all the time to friends that I have at other companies. 

It is just for DR. We keep an average of three days of retention, e.g., journal history of three days. However, it is not always the same for all products. We don't really keep it for backups. That is more of a convenience thing.

Currently, we don't utilize the cloud. It may be an option in the future. The cloud was a bad word for our bank for a long time, and that is starting to change.

Biggest lesson learnt: DR tests don't have to be so painful.

I would rate Zerto as 10 out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Jason Moore
Senior Director - Information Technology at Revenew International
Real User
Top 20
With continuous data protection we can see exactly how many seconds behind real-time we are
Pros and Cons
  • "The continuous data protection is great. We love it because I can see exactly how many seconds behind real-time we are, which is usually under 10 seconds. It keeps things up to date. We love the product."
  • "For what we got it for, it does it great. I use a different solution for my disk-to-disk local backups to where I can have a local backup of files. I don't think Zerto does that well to where it keeps a memory of the files that are there. Basically, when something is deleted on Zerto, it gets deleted on the replicated version. So, some sort of snapshotting or something where I could have backups at different points in time of files would be a really helpful tool."

What is our primary use case?

We have servers in Houston and we have servers at a DR site, we need to be able to make sure that they're replicated in some form or fashion. That's what we use Zerto for, to replicate between our primary site and our DR site.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest improvement for us was going from a possible 24-hour lag on our backups to real-time lag. With the hurricanes here in Houston, buildings losing power, and so on, it was nice having the ability to just go flip a switch and we're live with current data as opposed to we're live with what happened yesterday.

Zerto has helped to decrease the number of people involved when we need to failback workloads. It's a much smaller number. It's time-consuming because of the way it works, but it's not overly overbearing. Instead of taking a better part of the day or two to get everything up and running, it really only takes us three or four hours. It has also decreased the number of people we need. It would take three or four of us to bring up servers, make sure they're all running, test them, and all that stuff. Now, it takes one person to bring them all up and then there's a couple of us to test it, so we have half or less of what it used to take. 

We've never had a ransomware issue. The reasons for our failover has typically been natural disaster caused.

What is most valuable?

Pretty much all of the features are valuable. The biggest thing we use it for is replication, so the ability to set up our virtual server, set it to replicate, and Zerto handling everything else is the biggest feature that we like.

The continuous data protection is great. We love it because we can see exactly how many seconds behind real-time we are, which is usually under 10 seconds. It keeps things up to date. We love the product.

We currently don't use it for long-term retention. It's something we may look at in the future, but that's not the product we're using for that.

Zerto is very easy to use once everything's set up, which isn't difficult. It takes a little bit of time to make sure all the network stuff is all set up properly, but once everything's set up, using it day to day is very simple.

Zerto has saved us money by enabling us to do DR in the cloud rather than in a physical data center. Our DR is to a physical data center. We don't put our data in the cloud.

What needs improvement?

For what we got it for, it does it great. I use a different solution for my disk-to-disk local backups to where I can have a local backup of files. I don't think Zerto does that well to where it keeps a memory of the files that are there. Basically, when something is deleted on Zerto, it gets deleted on the replicated version. So, some sort of snapshotting or something where I could have backups at different points in time of files would be a really helpful tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Zerto for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. The only downtime we have is during upgrades and patches. I really haven't had any problems with the platform or stability.

The time it takes to update or patch depends on the size of the patch. Major upgrades take a little bit longer, but I mean, it's typically a couple of hours at the most. It's not a huge thing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has been great. It continues to grow as we grow. I haven't had any problems with it.

Zerto is being used 100% across our environment. 

We've got about 11 servers doing backups in the 20 to 25 terabyte range most of the time.

Only I work with Zerto in my company. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The two times that we've contacted technical support, we didn't have any problems. They've been helpful. They made sure we got the issue resolved and did very well with it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Veeam. We switched because of real-time backups. Veeam was a point-in-time backup. We said, "You're going to back up at this time." It took a snapshot and backed it up. Zerto just continually backs it up and makes sure that we're currently up to date and matching the server at your primary.

We use Zerto primarily for disaster recovery to the DR site. We still use Veeam for our backup disk-to-disk local for file backups.

Once Zerto is set up and running it is much more hands-off. You don't really have to do anything. You just log in to check, make sure everything's going well, and you're pretty much done. With Veeam, I feel like I have to check in a little bit more often, make sure the backups are running properly, making sure all the files are there, and everything like that. There is a little bit more checking to do on a regular basis.

I don't know if we would have failed over with Veeam because of the amount of time it took and coming back online at the primary site. I don't know that we would have failed over, which would have been probably five or six days of downtime. If we had failed over, we'd probably have lost two or three days in one direction, and probably another two or three days coming back to the primary.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It took a little while to make sure we had everything connected right, and that it was going to the right place, but it's no more difficult than any other setup for something like this. I didn't find it difficult at all.

If you don't include seeding and you only include the setup and deployment, it only took us a day or two of planning and then another day of actually implementing it. The seeding took a while, but that's to be expected.

In terms of our implementation strategy, we were using a different product back then, which wasn't as up to date and live. We were just backing up at night, so we had a nightly snapshot that was being transferred to our DR site. Our strategy with Zerto was to get us to more of a real-time backup solution at the DR site and make sure everything was good. That was the entire purpose of going with Zerto.

What about the implementation team?

We used a third-party integrator for the deployment. We used Centre Technologies and they were great. We've used them for other stuff and we didn't have any problems with it and never have.

What was our ROI?

The one time we had the failover and run at the DR site, instead of having two or three days of downtime, we really had less than one day of downtime. If you measure that in how much money we were able to make that day, it's around $200,000 to $300,000.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are on the lowest license because we don't exceed the number of servers for the base license, so I don't have a lot of information about licensing. The price of it was comparable, if not better than what we were paying for Veeam. I have no problem with the pricing at all.

There are no additional costs to the standard licensing. 

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you know how long it's going to take to do your initial seeding. If you've got a lot of data, and you're doing it over a pretty good distance, just make sure your pipe is big enough for the initial seeding. Once the seeding's done, pipe size doesn't matter, but the initial seeding can take a good amount of time over a small-ish pipe if you're replicating a lot of data.

For our largest servers to seed can take a full week or to 10 days for one server, for our large file server to seed is about seven terabytes, but we don't have a huge pipe at our DR site. We negotiated to increase the pipe size temporarily while we were doing the seeding, and that reduced the time drastically on how long it took to seed. I can't really give a number or what to look for. I would just have that conversation with Zerto about how long a certain pipe is going to take. How long is it going to take to seed using whatever pipe size based on the amount of data that they have.

Make sure all of your notifications are set up well when it fails. It takes a little tweaking and making sure that everything is set up right, but when you want to make sure you're notified if you get outside your SLA on how long the backups are trailing, making sure all that's set up properly is key.

I would rate Zerto a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Chief Information Officer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
We have reduced the amount of workloads being handled
Pros and Cons
  • "We have seen ROI. The biggest way that we have seen it is in avoided downtime. We have had outages before, and we count downtime in terms of dollars spent. We have cut that down so dramatically, which provides us a very quick ROI. We have drastically reduced the amount of time it takes us to recover workloads, from an average of two hours to an average of 10 minutes."
  • "My only business complaint is the cost of the solution. I feel like the cost could be a tad lower, but we are willing to pay extra to get the Premium service."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it to protect all our on-premise virtual workloads, which includes mission-critical applications, line of business applications, and several unstructured data type repositories for disaster recovery.

It is our sole disaster recovery solution for what it does. It is protecting all the workloads at SmartBank. 

Both of our data centers are on-premise and in colocations. Our plan over the next year or two is that we will very likely be shifting to DR in the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

We had a ransomware event on one of our file servers. We detected that event very quickly using other methodologies. However, because we had Zerto in place on that server, within about 30 minutes from seeing the problem, we were able to go back and recover that machine before that ransomware event had happened. This is a great example of the solution's ability to restore so quickly that it really helped us.

Because of its ease of use, it has increased the number of people in IT who can failback or move workloads. This used to be something that was done only by our infrastructure team, because it was manual processes and complex. We now have the virtual protection setup so effectively, and Zerto does it so effectively, that we have now been able to get another three or four people from other groups of our IT company trained on how to do recovery operations. This helps us tremendously when we are doing recovery because there are just a lot more people who might be available to do it. On average, we have saved two hours per workload, and we have hundreds of workloads. We have taken about a two-hour process down to about 10 minutes in terms of recovery. Zerto is really good at what it does. It has been tremendous.

We can have a single person restoring scores of machines as well as doing DR. Backups are still managed separately. In our case, we did not reduce staff. Our staff was already kind of a limiting factor. We put Zerto in to enable our staff to do more, not to reduce our staff. Therefore, we have tremendously reduced the amount of workloads being handled by specialists.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the ease of use, i.e., the relatively low complexity of the solution, as well as the speed and effectiveness of the solution. This allows us to protect our workloads with extremely small latency, making it very easy for us to monitor and recover. So, we are very happy with it.

In terms of Zerto providing continuous data protection, I would rate it as a nine out of 10. It is incredibly effective at what it does. I really have no complaints.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more managed service= options. While Zerto isn't doing this a lot, there are a ton of third-parties who are doing managed services with Zerto.

For how long have I used the solution?

For this company, we have only been using it for about six months. However, I have used it at two other companies for a total of about four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For our current needs, the scalability seems excellent. The scalability of the solution is really more of a function of your bandwidth and the amount of virtual resources you can point at it. I don't think there is any conceivable scalability limit.

Probably 10 people on my team touch Zerto in a meaningful way: 

  • Four of them are infrastructure and data center engineers. They support the storage, users, communications, the software, and the configuration of most of the back-end system as well as monitor the solution. They do a lot there. 
  • The other six people are our technical support director, enterprise applications team, and information security officer. Those people also get into Zerto. They generally do failover testing and monitor certain VPGs for parts of our system that they are responsible for, and they do some protection configuration. 

The heavy lifting is done on the infrastructure side, but the other teams monitor, maintain, and most importantly, test it. This is a big deal because we previously had the infrastructure team do all the testing for us before Zerto. Now, the business unit managers directly in IT can do their own testing, which is a big change for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is excellent. They have a great support portal, which is easy to use. They are very responsive and generally able to help us with any configuration or performance issues that we run into.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous product was VMware Site Recovery Manager. We switched to get a less complex system that could protect our workloads better and enable faster recovery. Those were kind of the main reasons why we switched. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed Zerto initially with a VAR. They explained the process very well. It was just an initial installation service which included some training. Then, we took over the management of it and have been managing it in-house ever since.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. The biggest way that we have seen it is in avoided downtime. We have had outages before, and we count downtime in terms of dollars spent. We have cut that down so dramatically, which provides us a very quick ROI. We have drastically reduced the amount of time it takes us to recover workloads, from an average of two hours to an average of 10 minutes.

We measure our downtime in thousands of dollars per minute. While it depends on what is down and who it is impacting, we take in an average of $1,000 a minute at a minimum. So, 120 minutes of downtime at $1,000 is $120,000 per workload that is down, and that can add up very quickly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

My only business complaint is the cost of the solution. I feel like the cost could be a tad lower, but we are willing to pay extra to get the Premium service.

Zerto does a per-workload licensing model, per-server. It is simple and straightforward, but it is not super flexible. It is kind of a one size fits all. They charge the same price for those workloads. I feel like they could have some flexible licensing option possibly based on criticality, just so we could protect less important work. I would love to protect every workload in my environment with Zerto, whether I really need it or not, but the cost is such that I really have to justify that protection. So, if we had some more flexibility, e.g., you could protect servers with a two-, three-, or four-hour RPO at a certain price point versus mission-critical every five minutes, then I would be interested in that.

The costs are the license and annual maintenance, which is the only other ongoing fee. I would imagine a lot of customers also have an initial project cost to get it implemented, if they choose to go that direction, like we did.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We do not currently use it for long-term retention. We have another solution for long-term backup retention, but we are in the second year of a three-year contract, so we will evaluate Zerto when those contracts are up. We will probably test it out. It is certainly something that we will look at. We will also plan to vet having backup and DR in one platform.

The incumbent was Site Recovery Manager, so we evaluated them as an incumbent. We also evaluated Veeam Disaster Recovery Orchestrator. We use Veeam for data backup, and they have a disaster recovery piece. It would have been an add-on to our Veeam, so we evaluated that while also looking at Zerto.

It would be ideal to integrate your backup and disaster recovery into a single solution, so that is a pro whichever way you go with it. Zerto certainly has an answer for that, but so did Veeam. Zerto's replication is superior to anyone else's out there. It's faster, simpler, and effective. I don't think I could get as low an RTO and RPO with any other solution other than Zerto.

When comparing this solution to Site Recovery Manager, pay special attention to the fact that Zerto is hypervisor-agnostic and hardware-agnostic. It is a true software-based solution, which gives flexible options in terms of the types of equipment that they can recover on and to. Ultimately, it is very flexible. It is the most flexible platform for system replication. 

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely advise them to give Zerto a chance and PoC it, if they desire. It is the best solution in the marketplace currently and has maintained that for quite some time.

I would give them a nine (out of 10). I really love the solution. I want more Zerto, but I can't afford more Zerto. I would love to protect everything in our environment, but we do have to make a business decision to do that because there is a requisite cost.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.