It’s that time of year again. Grab your shopping carts and run through the gauntlet of vendors at this years VMworld. For me, my first stop will be the DR section. In that section I am looking forward to seeing the demonstrations from Zerto. If you don’t know about Zerto, they provide enterprise-class disaster recovery and business continuity solutions for virtualized data centers and cloud environments.
I recently ran a POC with the product and was quite impressed. I have used the VMware SRM product before and the fail over / fail back options are very similar. You can schedule a live or test fail over at any time. For me, SRM is not an option. With XYZ storage vendor on one end and ZYX storage vendor on the other, storage replication is not an option. VMware Site Recovery Manager has a growing list of supported SAN vendors to provide that SAN replication. Or your storage vendor might just offer to sell you a replacement for that other SAN. Whether that would be cost effective depends on many things: maintenance renewals on the SAN, the cost of the SAN, re-platform costs, training costs, data tiering options. All vs that number of virtual machines you would need to protect in your virtual infrastructure with Zerto. The other question you should ask yourself is “If my environment is highly virtualized (let’s say 80% or more) would it be cost effective to replace the SAN so I can use tools like EMC recovery point and SRM just to replicate that leftover 20% of physical assets along with my virtual infrastructure?”. Of course if those 20% of physical assets are business critical you might say yes. But if you can get away with using a clustering technology across datacenters or a server based replication technology, all you would need is Zerto for your virtual infrastructure. One thing I love about Zerto is that you can replicate virtual machines from something high end in one site to something low end in another. Let’s say an an IBM DS8000 in production to a Dell MD3000 iSCSI array in DR. You can even change the provisioning formats on the fly of the virtual machines. Of course careful planning must be made for performance when choosing these options.
There is also the free vSphere replication option. I have not used this myself, but I do plan on scheduling some testing. There are some big difference between vSphere replication and Zerto. I’m sure there will be some improvements to vSphere replication in ver 5.5.
I don’t want to get into a step by step instillation in this post. I had a similar experience to Justin Paul when using the product. It is very easy to use and has a lot of great options. Make sure to stop by the booth at VMworld and check them out.