Is Zerto the iPhone of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?

By Zerto, on 12 March, 2013

Today’s post is by Eric Hannah, Zerto’s Regional Sales Manager for the North Central US Region.

Remember the days when we used individual devices for every task in day to day life?  It wasn’t long ago that we had home telephones, answering machines with tapes, a clock, a camera and film, a map, compass, a television.  Jump ahead a handful of years to today and with the advancements in technology, you have one device that makes calls, keeps voicemail, takes pictures, captures video, receives mail, provides directions, displays movies and tv shows, does banking, connects you with friends….  (Reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Waits songs “Step Right Up” for you music fans out there.)

I’ve spent my career representing data center solutions including servers, storage, security, data protection, performance monitoring, and so on.  I transitioned from the complete data center solution provider to the smaller single product manufacturer (or IT startup) with the goal of representing the most valuable technologies in the market.  And what I’d looked for (and recently found) is a product with the iPhone’s effect of delivering value – a single, complete solution to the everyday problems in IT.

Zerto has that iPhone effect for the challenges of data protection and application availability or BC/DR.

Before Zerto, there were multiple products I would have to recommend that my clients make investments in, train on, manage, and piece together to protect data and recover applications in order to be able to deliver DR services to the business interests – solutions that proved very costly with minimal return, more like an insurance policy.  Let’s take a look at some of these:

Local Data Protection:

To protect a local production application and its data, my clients would invest in multiple products including a backup server, backup software, backup agents (included in the software typically), snapshot software (used like backup software) and a backup media that may have been disk, de-duplication disk, optical disk, tape or a combination of 2 or more.

These devices are required to deliver a copy of the application data locally to the IT department.  Typically these processes are run at night (or possibly an extra snapshot job or two during the day) to provide IT with the opportunity to recover to yesterday’s data set.

Local Application Availability:

Before server virtualization, and even in a few IT data centers today, applications would run on physical servers and would require a complete second server and licensing of the application for high availability.  Of course server virtualization has been a game changer and has become a data center standard.  With virtualization, my clients can invest in add on features to achieve high availability locally in a virtual environment without having to have a complete separate second server but use another in a server cluster – a significant improvement in efficiency over duplicating physical servers but still an investment in product.

Remote Data Protection:

Most enterprises today have the requirement for an offsite recoverable copy of data.  This can be achieved by a contract with an offsite data management company taking tapes or optical disk of site or investing further in a second backup disk or de-duplicated disk backup target for the secondary site and replicate between the two.  Not only does this require duplicate investments in media but also an investment in a second site – power, cooling, electricity, management, floor space, etc.  This additional capital is spent to ensure that in the event of a full site failure, an enterprise can restore its information at a second site.  But how good is that data if we can’t get it online quickly?

Remote Application Availability or Business Continuity:

Most physical replication strategies will get my clients’ data to that second site.  It may be yesterday’s or even last week’s data.  And then when clients suffer a major outage, it’s off to the races to get applications fired up and back online and mapped to the recovered data sets for our businesses to resume.   Clients can invest even further in tools that help automate this process somewhat.  Even then, there is a bit of a manual process required to do remapping of server and storage devices, network updates, etc.

Zerto Brings Complete DR to Applications:

At the core, all these investments go to giving enterprises the ability to recover data and applications.  With the standardization of server virtualization in the data center today, Zerto was built to deliver all of this in a single solution for virtual applications – data protection, replication and application availability.

What is the iPhone effect for DR?

  • Ability to recover data to previous point in time (backup server, backup software, snapshotting)
  • Continuous data replication (array replication, backup disk replication, offsite tape)
  • Complete and automated application recovery (backup software, local high availability, orchestration, array replication)
  • Offsite clone of application data (backup replication, offsite tape)

When you have a technology that can achieve and deliver on the service levels of over four or more technologies, there is a typically a significant return on an investment.

Like the iPhone, Zerto customers are not quite aware of what they were missing before they tried Zerto.  They got accustomed to the fact that juggling many solutions across multiple departments was the way disaster recovery had to be. So if you have multiple data protection and application availability products, I encourage you to get a trial of Zerto to understand the iPhone effect.  I promise it will make what you’re doing for DR now feel like 10 years ago, walking into a cell phone store, and realizing what a single solution can do.

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