Keeping Up with Today’s Data Protection Challenges
The data protection workload grows more challenging with every passing year. Today, ransomware attacks—the latest and arguably the most serious threat—put a great deal of pressure on IT managers to ensure the resiliency of digital assets. According to IT Central Station members, the Zerto platform helps them achieve this objective within a single cloud solution.
Mitigating Ransomware and Facilitating Data Recovery
Ransomware, which involves hackers encrypting the victim’s critical data assets and demanding payment for de-encryption, has become a torment of public and private sector enterprises. The threat of ransomware was definitely on the mind of one Zerto user who explained, “We use Zerto to protect our staff information against ransomware, and [it] is outlined in our disaster recovery plan.”
This user’s organization maintains a disaster recovery (DR) site to which they fail over if anything happens at their primary datacenter. “We have only our core services that we could not live without being protected,” they said. “Don’t underestimate how good it feels to roll back data instantly. It makes me look like a wizard at my desk,” they added.
For Amit B., a manager of IT infrastructure and resiliency at Asian Paints, a consumer goods company, Zerto is essential for replication of virtual appliances, failover automation, and failback processes at their DR site. His team also takes advantage of Zerto for recovery at their DR site at different time stamps using the solution’s journal history.
Amit noted Zerto enabled DR protection for virtual appliances with minimal administrator time and without any additional license cost. He explained, “The dashboards are very intuitive and can be published to the CIO and CTO. It also allowed us to preconfigure the boot sequence for a failover test or actual recovery.” He added that backup at their DR site is “the icing on the cake.”
Zerto inspires confidence in users, which is an important quality in a replication solution. System owners need to be sure they’re ready for recovery at all times. One user is planning to move all of their company’s data to the cloud because Zerto “has given us the confidence to know that our complex systems are being backed up off-site in real time and are testable on demand.” They added, “This gives me a real sense of ease when speaking to management about our resilience; being able to demonstrate it includes everyone in the processes to confirm that.” They felt one other major benefit of Zerto is “the ability to fully test your entire environment without actually performing a failover.”
Protecting Data Anywhere, Anytime
Data protection benefits from working across multiple sites. For example, Stephen F., a senior operations engineer at a health-care company, employs Zerto for DR replication to a separate datacenter. The company uses VMware at both sites, replicating around 80 VMs from their primary datacenter in London to their secondary datacenter in Beccles. Most of these are SQL servers with the VSS agent installed. Stephen also found “the ability to do a test failover to an isolated environment has been very useful, as this allows us to test servers without any implications to our live environment.”
Improving Speed and Ease of Operation
“This solution is an integral part of our DR plan,” said Tim K., a senior systems engineer at Quarles & Brady LLP, a legal firm. “The data and servers we needed are protected in a group as I need them. Changing or adding servers is easy and fast.” In particular, he found the ability to protect resources that are in hurricane zones to be “fantastic.” He said, “Being able to safely perform DR testing remotely has enabled us to meet DR goals that were put in place. The first DR test with everyone in a room was fun, as everyone who hadn’t seen it was amazed at how fast a server can come online.”
Ease of use is what mattered to Stephen F., who found Zerto to be simple to set up and easy to use, with the dashboard being “very clear and concise, showing any problems in different colors.”
For Tim L., also a senior systems engineer at a non-tech company, “The ease of failover and test environments has proven invaluable.” He added, “It is literally as easy as pushing a button to flip to a contained test environment for staging rollouts or verifying backup integrity.” His company uses Zerto for critical applications and infrastructure to allow immediate failover at their DR site. To increase uptime, they replicate their entire active directory infrastructure too.
Staying Flexible and Intuitive
Flexibility is a good characteristic for solutions that support data protection. Circumstances change in an organization, so the easier it is for replication solutions to keep up, the better off everyone will be. A Zerto user at a large wholesaler/distributor spoke to this issue, saying, “The most valuable feature of Zerto is its overall flexibility, where it can be used for standard DR or you can also use it for server migrations, datacenter consolidations, etc. You can also use it for data protection and physical to virtual migrations as well.”
A user at a financial services firm revealed that “the fact that the interface is so intuitive is wonderful. The setup and customization of VPGs are great too. They allow you to customize all of the IP information and even the MAC (if you wish) for any and all VMs, allowing you to change the IP or gateway or whatever for any VM you might fail over.” They added, “It is incredibly granular, and I really appreciate that. Zerto has also caused us to organize our datastores in a better fashion that makes sense so that they are by priority and not just random.”
Data protection is unlikely to get any easier going forward. The ransomware threat does not appear to be slowing down, and more ominous threats may occur. Now is the time to get on top of replication and DR challenges.