What is our primary use case?
I am a solution provider and Zerto is one of the products that I implement for my clients.
Most of my customers use this product for disaster recovery purposes. Some of them use it in a local, on-premises environment, whereas other customers use it in the cloud.
We have assisted some of our clients with on-premises to cloud migration. These were customers that had an established local environment but wanted to explore the cloud. For these clients, it is a cloud-based DR implementation.
There are four or five customers that did not want a cloud deployment, so we have implemented the DR site on-premises for them.
If the client is given the choice, typically they prefer a cloud-based deployment. CDP technology is becoming the new norm, even for the backup industry. However, there are some instances where it is not an option. For example, in some situations, they cannot use cloud-based storage due to legal and compliance requirements.
Some of our customers that are making a digital transformation cannot afford to lose hours or even minutes of data. As such, I think that cloud-based disaster recovery is the future and the customers understand why it is much more important for them. Together with our reputation, I see this as a game-changing situation.
How has it helped my organization?
Most of my customers are interested in DR and do not know much about the long-term retention capability. Our last three deployments already had a backup implemented from the integrator and didn't need an overnight one to avoid the loss of data. We discussed this with them and explained that this product offers much more than what they are using it for. We pointed out that it was a two-in-one solution but they continue to use it primarily for DR.
Our customers find that the interface is really easy to use. It gives you a great deal of flexibility for the administrators, as well as for the end-users to a certain extent. Overall, with respect to ease of use, this product scores the highest points in this area.
What is most valuable?
The functionality available in the console is not complicated and is easy to use, especially for DR failover. It just works.
It offers a high level of compression, which is very good. My customers and I are interested in this feature primarily because it saves bandwidth.
The most important feature is that the recovery point (RPO) is less than one minute. This is really good for our customers, as they can keep their data loss to a minimum.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see a separate product offer for performing backups, although I think that this is something that they are expecting to release in the next version.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Zerto for between three and four years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Based on the number of support calls that I get from my customers, where we have done the deployment, issues arise very rarely. From time to time, we get calls because the allocated space is running out. Otherwise, it is pretty much stable.
Even the situation where the allocated space runs low is rare and I haven't had this type of call in a long time. The reason for this is that I take precautions during deployment. For example, I check to see whether they have too many workflows. I know what it is that we need to do including how many VRAs we need to deploy and what the configuration should be. Over the past three to four years, I have only had to deal with four or five support tickets. Apart from that, I haven't experienced any problems.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I do not have a great deal of experience with scaling this product because all of my customers have only a few hundred VMs. I know that Zerto has the capability to go beyond 5,000 or 10,000, but that is something that I've never experienced. My understanding is that it is very capable at the data center management level.
How are customer service and technical support?
In the initial phase, I leveraged technical support, but then I completed the deployment.
During the PoC, there were one or two times where I had to contact them to deal with issues. I am pretty happy with how they respond and how they follow up compared with the other vendors that I work with.
I don't have much of a complaint with respect to support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have been working with Zerto since version 6 and the most recent one that we deployed was version 8.5. Approximately six months ago, our customer that was using version 6 was upgraded to version 8, because version 8.5 was not yet released.
I also have experience with Veeam but Zerto uses a very different technology to perform the backup and change tracking. Veeam leverages the VSS technology for the volume set up, which will do the job but it is not ideal. Zerto has taken one step ahead by utilizing the Journal technology, which is the main difference that I can think of between these two products.
Prior to working with Zerto, many of my clients were using the VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) feature, which comes built into the product, based on their licensing. I have also had a customer who was using Commvault and others that were using NetBackup. These are typically the enterprise-caliber products that I expect to find.
One of my customers is using Veeam and because of the difference in price, with Zerto being more expensive, they did not switch. My customer felt that Veeam was convenient and the price was more tolerable. This is the only instance where my customer did not transition to Zerto.
The customers who switched have done so because Zerto provides the lowest RPO and RTO. It is one of the main points that I emphasize about this product because it is very important to them. There is also a saving in bandwidth, which is something that my customers are concerned with because they typically don't have fancy high-speed connections. The compression is superb and really helps in this regard. These are the two primary selling points.
How was the initial setup?
For us, this solution is not difficult to deploy. For a complicated environment then you have to do careful planning but otherwise, it is not hard to deploy.
Typically, if everything is well in place, the deployment will take between one and three hours. In cases where the customer's environment is very complex then I might need a little bit more time. I would estimate that it would take six-plus hours, after careful planning and ensuring that all of the resources are in place.
The installation takes less than 30 minutes; however, the customer environment increases the time because we have to do things like open ports on the firewall. We tell them about these preparations in advance but we always end up doing some of the work ourselves. In situations where the firewall has already been properly configured, I can normally complete the installation and configuration in one hour.
I have two customers that use the cloud-based deployment on Azure but the majority of them use it in a local, on-premises environment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The main challenge that I face with this solution is the price. All of my customers are happy with how this product works and they like it, but unfortunately, in the market that I represent, Zerto is expensive when compared with the competition.
Another issue is that Zerto has expectations with respect to the minimum number of devices that they are protecting at a given price range. I understand that this is an enterprise product, but unfortunately, price-wise, it is really tough when it comes to the TCO for the customers in the one or two countries that I represent. Apart from that, everyone understands the value, but at the end of the day it comes down to the price being slightly higher.
Pricing is something that I have discussed with the regional head of sales in this area. I have explained that you can't have a price of 25 million per year in this region, and in turn, have requested a lower price with different models for corporations. Unfortunately, I have not received a positive response so far.
What other advice do I have?
With the separate backup product expected to be available in the next release, in a way, they have already done what I was expecting to offer to our customers. They have also announced some features that are really interesting. Right now, I'm waiting to get the new products in my hands.
My advice for anybody who is implementing Zerto is that if the system administrator has basic knowledge about networking and storage, then setting it up and deploying it will be easy, and not an issue at all. They just have to be careful and take the appropriate time to plan properly, especially in a complex environment.
In summary, this is a stable, enterprise-grade product.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?