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DanTurner
CIO at Per Mar Security Services
Real User
Top 5
The ability to spin things up near-instantaneously enables us to guarantee our uptime

Pros and Cons

  • "We are doing continuous data protection. It works flawlessly. Our recovery points are measured in seconds. We have all these "baby snapshots" throughout the course of the day, so we can roll a VM back to any point in time, spin it up, and away we go. We're actively using that. It works great."
  • "One thing I would like to see, and I know that this is on their roadmap, is the ability to use long-term storage in the cloud, like in Azure or AWS, making that even more seamless. Whether it's stored in glacier or on-prem, being able to retrieve that data in a quick manner would be helpful. They're just not there yet."

What is our primary use case?

We're backing up VMs with it. Our company has about 200 VMs and we're using Zerto on 30 of them in the main line of business applications. We're using it to replicate all that data over to our DR site so we can do our testing and reporting against that. 

Within those 30 servers we've broken out into three different SLAs on which ones get spun up first. We have it all scripted with monthly plans to fail over, spin it up, actually use it over there, spin it down, bring it back into production, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

The business that we're in means we have to run our network 365 days, 24/7, with no downtime. If there's any kind of interruption to business processes — power outage, tornado, fire, etc. — we need to be able to get certain systems up and going in almost real-time. That's how we're leveraging Zerto, to guarantee that uptime and for the ability to spin these things up near-instantaneously.

I know my networking team loves the tool and the interface and being able to roll back and do the failover stuff very easily. But for me, personally, it's how it has impacted our business. The reporting functionality showing that our DR plan is rock-solid and stable, and my ability to generate summaries for our customers, have really improved business processes for us. It gives peace of mind to our customers that our systems are stable and the services that we're providing are stable.

Also, when we need to failback or move workloads, Zerto decreases the time it takes and the number of people involved. The failback feature, from a technical standpoint, is what sold us on Zerto. One of the challenges we had with Site Recovery Manager was spinning up and being in production at DR. If everything is equal, everything is patched and everything's working, both solutions offer a very similar experience: the ability to move a workload from production to disaster recovery works with both of them, no problem. Coming back the other way was just a bear of a move with Site Recovery Manager. With Zerto, it's almost seamless. With Zerto, it takes about four or five mouse clicks and stuff fails back over, and our end-users are none the wiser. And it's just one guy doing it. When failing back from Site Recovery Manager, we'd have to get one of our sys admins involved and we'd have to let our end-users know that they all had to log out.

While it hasn't reduced staff, we have become more efficient and it has allowed me to reprioritize some projects. It's freed up some capacity, for sure. We haven't reduced headcount, but it has definitely taken a big wedge out of the daily grind of our backup and recovery; the stuff they always had to check.

What is most valuable?

Personally, what I find valuable is the executive summary that says our DR plan is operational. I can then pass that out to our customers. 

Per Mar has about 75,000 customers and, more and more these days, especially given all this [COVID] pandemic, we're asked: Do you have a business continuity plan? Is it tested regularly? Do you have documentation for it? Two years ago, a simple email from me saying, "Yes, we have this," sufficed. We're finding now that people want true documentation from an independent system that generates a report. The reporting that comes out of Zerto is a lifesaver for me. I'm able to generate that up, send it out to the customers that need it, and say, "Yes. Here are our SLAs. Here is our monthly test routine. Here is where it shows us being successful," and so forth.

We are doing continuous data protection. It works flawlessly. Our recovery points are measured in seconds. We have all these "baby snapshots" throughout the course of the day, so we can roll a VM back to any point in time, spin it up, and away we go. We're actively using that. It works great.

It's easy to use and there isn't a huge learning curve. Even some of the advanced features are very intuitive to folks who have been in this space before. If you have any kind of skill sets around any kind of backup and recovery tool, the user interface for Zerto is very natural.

What needs improvement?

One thing I would like to see, and I know that this is on their roadmap, is the ability to use long-term storage in the cloud, like in Azure or AWS, making that even more seamless. Whether it's stored in glacier or on-prem, being able to retrieve that data in a quick manner would be helpful. They're just not there yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Zerto for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It just works. We architected it pretty nicely. One of our licensed servers is a complete test solution for us to show that it is truly working. We're able to take a small test server, a Dev server is really what it is, and we can move from production, move it over to DR, have it run over there for a day, and then we move it back with no data loss. 

It's never not worked and when you come from the SRM world, that's just unheard of. Now we're a year into this product and have gone through an upgrade, and our June test went off without a hitch. It's very rock-solid.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their tech support has been fantastic to work with. We ran into a glitch when we did our update in mid-May and our primary data center stopped talking to our secondary data center. We couldn't figure it out. We got their tech support involved right away. They identified a bug right away. They were able to roll us back and then stayed engaged with us as they figured out how to fix the bug. And once the bug was isolated and fixed, they got right back a hold of us to say, "We're ready to go," and then they walked us through upgrading both sides. There was a lot of hand-holding in that upgrade scenario. It was a fantastic experience.

It took them four or five days to fix the bug and they stayed engaged with us just about every single day, letting us know the status of it and when it went to QA. We didn't fall into a black hole. It was a very customer-centric experience.

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

We were using VMware Site Recovery Manager. We're still a VMware shop. Zerto replaced SRM. It was probably cost-agnostic, but what it really came down to was that SRM breaks all the time. You apply some patches or a Windows update. Uptime and reliability for us are super-critical. We don't have a ton of time to spend on making sure it's always working. We were really looking for a solution that we could architect, deploy, and just let it run, knowing that we're protected without our always having to go back and mess around with it.

What we kept finding with Site Recovery Manager was that every time we wanted to do a full-scale, failover DR test, we would have to spend a week ahead of time prepping for it, to make sure everything would work flawlessly during our test. It always worked, we knew how to patch it and get around it. But disaster doesn't give you a two-week notice. You don't know you're going to have a tornado in two weeks. You get about a 10-minute notice and then you've got cows flying through the air. We wanted a tool that we know would just run and work and be reliable. 

It was cost-neutral to the budget, the timing was right, and the solution was rock-solid so we made the change.

How was the initial setup?

Ease of use and deployment are fantastic. This is a solution that we started with a proof of concept. We threw it in a lab and said, "Hey, let's just see what it looks like." Next thing you know, we never even had to tear down the proof of concept. Once we started seeing it working we said, "This is definitely something that we want." All we really ended up doing was negotiating licenses, applying the license key, and we were off to the races.

Soup to nuts, it took us five hours to spin the whole solution up and to create our protection groups. It was very fast. That includes downloading the software, spinning the VM up, and protecting and backing up data.

We worked with one of their engineers through the proof of concept. Once we said, "Hey, this is going to work," we tested it on a few servers and then we became a paying customer. They worked with us to help us define what made sense for the 30 licenses that we bought and what machines to deploy it to. But it's really not a complicated tool to deploy. There wasn't a ton of architecting and solution-building around it. There was some, but it was a very simple solution to install.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. And even when you cost-compare against Site Recovery Manager, none of these solutions is cheap. But we are folks who need to have uptime and these things have to work. When you start comparing it against Site Recovery Manager, Zerto blows it out of the water, in my opinion.

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

If it were easier to license, and to scale it out a little bit more economically, that'd be a godsend. At the end of the day, my druthers would be to have all 200 of our servers protected by this platform. But for a company of our size, that stretches our IT budget and it just doesn't make economic sense. I would really love to be able to just apply Zerto to every virtual machine that we spin up, drop it into the right SLA bucket, and just be done with it, knowing that it's protected, soup to nuts. Unfortunately, that's just cost prohibitive.

My advice would definitely be to leverage the number of VMs. It's not a cheap solution by any stretch, but it delivers on its promise. There's definitely value in the investment. With hindsight, I would have gotten a better cost per VM if I was able to buy, say, 100 licenses. It would have been easier for me to put other servers under the protection of Zerto. I wish I would have had that flexibility at the time. Eventually, budgets will open up and I'll be able to go get another 50 or so licenses, but I'll still be paying a higher price, more than if I would have negotiated a higher quantity to begin with.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We took a look at a couple of other solutions. The other ones fell off the table pretty quickly. We're based in Iowa. We have a good account team here in Iowa from Zerto that knew our account from previous relationships. They came around and said, "This is a tool that you guys really need to take a hard look at."

The sales process took about six months. They came in about six months before my renewal with VMware. We had a few conversations and, about two to three months before the renewal, designed a proof of concept to see if it was actually going to work. They came in and did that. My guys were raving about it and I saw some of the reporting out of it. At that point I said, "Okay, done deal." It was cost neutral. When Site Recovery Manager came up, we canceled that portion of the renewal. There wasn't really a need for us to go out to market. I just trusted the account guys. They knew who we were. The tool worked the way they called it. I don't get too picky. If it works, it's good enough for me.

What other advice do I have?

Take a hard look at it. Don't pass it by, don't be scared off by the price. Definitely take them up on the proof of concept. Have the team come in and do that. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

They talk about technology that can just actually do what it promises. I've been doing this for over 20 years and sometimes you get jaded by the fact that people over-promise and under-deliver. Zerto was definitely on the opposite end of that spectrum. The solution went in so easily that I had to do a double-take when my guys were telling me, "Hey, it's already up and running." I said, "It can't be done already." I'm used to complicated deployments. They promised and it does exactly what they said it would do. Don't be so skeptical. Keep an open mind to it and explore the possibilities.

I just sat through ZertoCON. They put a lot of emphasis on long-term retention. It really started putting a question out there as to whether you need a different backup and recovery solution. We use a different partner called Rubrik for backup and recovery. The challenge that we have with Zerto is that we're only protecting 30 VMs, whereas with Rubrik, we're protecting all 200. There's a little bit of a dance between value and return. So we're not using Zerto for long-term storage right now. We're evaluating it. I don't know if it makes economic sense to do so, but we are taking a look at it. And we're not protecting all 200 servers because of cost.

In terms of using the solution for a data recovery situation due to ransomware or other causes, knock on wood, we have not had to use it in that capacity just yet. We have a very mature cyber security posture and we haven't been popped by ransomware in the last year. But it does give me peace of mind that we also have that ability. That's just another layer of our cyber security posture and we know that we're protected against those threats. So there's definitely a peace of mind around that.

The only folks using it are on our IT team, about five or six of us. Five of my guys use it on a regular basis and know how to manage it. I'm the sixth guy. If I ever have to get in there, we're in trouble.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
David Block
Senior Systems Engineer at a non-tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Easiest and cheapest way to get near real-time replication

Pros and Cons

  • "We relocated all our virtual machines from Belgium to Budapest, Hungary. I am not sure how we would have done it without Zerto, because we were able to keep the data in sync. We would have needed to have a lot more expensive storage products online at the time that could have kept that replication. From what I have seen from other methods, that would have required a much higher amount of bandwidth as well, then the cost would have been extreme. The mechanisms available to us with a storage space replication would have been more labor-intensive and prone to error. It was much easier and more successful with Zerto than other ways at our disposal."
  • "They had a bug recently that has come up and caused some issues. They currently have a bug in their production versions that prevents their product from functioning in some scenarios, and we have hit a few of those scenarios."

What is our primary use case?

We have typical use cases for it: resilience and disaster recovery. They have some other functionalities that their software can help account for, but we are using its disaster recovery and resilience, which are kind of its core functions.

How has it helped my organization?

I have used it in many scenarios, including a temporary data center move in Europe. I had to move all my resources from Belgium to Budapest, and then back, once our data center was physically moved across town in Belgium. I am not sure how this would have been accomplished without Zerto. 

With Zerto, the move was incredibly easy to do. It was click of a button, wait 10 minutes, and everything is up, then turn on the data center. Once the data center was relocated and rebuilt, click a button, and wait a few minutes, then it now runs back to the original site. It was that easy. The data center move part was obviously the hard part, as it should have been, not keeping the applications going at a secondary site during that time. That was a pretty big success with Zerto and our largest use case for it: a data center move.

We are currently using Zerto with some more modern databases, application servers, and tertiary systems to provide redundancy and resiliency to our crown jewel application. We have been doing a lot of DR testing scenarios, part of which relies on Zerto and part of which are other mechanisms. In general, when we have done our recent testing using the Zerto portions, once we say, "Okay, we are doing this now," it is taking less than three minutes on average for the systems to be fully back online at the new location once we start. That includes booting all the Windows VMs up. The actual VMs were ready to go and functional within 30 seconds. However, some of them are larger Windows machines and those take their time to boot, getting services online and connected to everything. So, the Zerto part was literally under a minute in these test scenarios to clear a total failure and initiate our disaster recovery function.

What is most valuable?

The near real-time replication is probably the biggest value of this solution. There are some other ways to get that done, but this seemed to be the easiest and cheapest way to get near real-time replication. In most instances, our RPO is about five seconds, which is pretty aggressive and not that taxing to achieve with Zerto.

The ease of use is pretty high. It really isn't very complex to use. They did a good job with the UI, and it is fairly obvious where you need to click, what you need to click, and what you are doing. There are good confirmation screens, so you are not going to accidentally take down or move loads that you are not trying to. It is fairly user-friendly, easy to use, and you don't need to read a manual for three weeks to start using it.

What needs improvement?

Previously, our main need for Zerto was actually database cluster servers running fairly old software, SQL 2008 on Microsoft Windows clusters with none of the advanced SQL clustering functionality. Our environment is all virtualized. The way we had to present the storage to our host machines in VMware was via raw device mapping (RDM). Technically, Zerto can do that, but not very well. We have gone to some different methods for our databases, which don't actually use or rely on Zerto because the solution wasn't that functional with RDMs. This is an old, antiquated technology that we are currently moving off of. I can't really blame them, but it definitely is something they thought they could do better than they could in practice.

They had a bug recently that has come up and caused some issues. They currently have a bug in their production versions that prevents their product from functioning in some scenarios, and we have hit a few of those scenarios. Aside from that, when it is not hitting a bug, and if we're not trying to use it for our old-style, old-school databases, it functions incredibly well.

For how long have I used the solution?

I had an early Zerto certification from their first ZertoCON conference. I received a certification from them in May 2016, so I have been using it for at least five years. I would have been one of the initial users at my company, so they have been using Zerto for at least five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is reasonably good, but I wouldn't say excellent. We have had some odd issues with vRAs, which are little VMs that hang off of every VMware host that we have. Those aren't consistent, but they do occasionally happen. As I referenced earlier, there is a bug in the system right now that can affect my VM recovery. It tries to put too many requests into VMware at once, and VMware will timeout those requests, which causes Zerto to fail. That has not been constant throughout our use of Zerto. It is usually a flawless operation, and that is why I can still say good to very good, even though they currently have a bug. It is very uncommon for them to have anything that affects the platform negatively.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability hasn't seemed to be an issue. We started out with two sites connected in the same city. Now, we are running the connected infrastructure of Zerto on three different continents. Some of those continents have various cities and/or countries involved. That has not given us an issue with scalability at all. It seems to be fairly flexible in adding whatever you need it to do. As long as you have the bandwidth capability and reasonable latency between sites, Zerto seems to work quite well.

10 to 12 people are actively in Zerto, or even know what it is besides a word that an IT guy uses to say, "It is okay." Generally speaking, their titles would be network administrator, network engineer, or senior network engineer. 

For all our sites, most of our IT staff wouldn't be allowed to mess with it. Because if you hit the wrong buttons in Zerto, you can take down an application. So, there is a fairly small list of folks who would be able to get into this. Only a few sites can actually access the management console. They are located in Louisville, Kentucky; Belgium, Budapest, and Melbourne, Australia.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support as eight out of 10. They know the product very well. I have had a couple misfires at times, but they are pretty good in general.

One of the issues that we had early on was regarding some of the storage functionality, especially regarding RDMs. I had contacts and conferences with the Zerto development staff, whom I believe are in Israel, about the ability to ignore disks in Zerto for my virtual protection groups (VPGs). What they can do currently is mark them as temporary disks, then they will do a one-time copy, and that is it. However, some of those temporary disks are extremely large, so it wasn't a great answer for us. I would like the ability to ignore disks instead of still trying to replicate every disk on a VM as being protected by Zerto. The biggest thing that they can do right now is improve their product. This would have been much better a few years ago rather than now. Now, we are finding other ways around it.

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

We previously had some storage-based replication, which we are currently still using, but nothing that really fits the same mold that Zerto does.

Zerto's database storage replication is not good with RDMs. We are still doing storage-based replication for those. 

Our new schematic is self-replicating. It doesn't require any type of Zerto replication or storage-based replication, so that was a need removed.

How was the initial setup?

It was quite straightforward. You just install the software, point it to your vCenter instance, and then deploy your vRAs, which is done automatically. Updates have been the same, e.g., quite straightforward. The only challenge with updates is if you have multiple Zerto instances that are linked to each other. To be able to replicate to different sites, they can't be out more than a half a version. For instance, I am running version 8.5 on all my sites that are currently running Zerto, but I couldn't be running those if I was running 7.5 anywhere. That would have been too far out of appliance. That is more of a minor challenge than a problem. I don't consider that to be a shortcoming, but it is well-documented, easy to figure out, and also pretty straightforward.

The first site was also kind of a learning experience. That deployment took less than a day from, "Okay, let's start the download," to, "Look, it's doing something," and you need to stand up two sites to go from site A to site B. That took less than a day to get them up and functional in at least some capacity, protecting some machines and workloads.

What about the implementation team?

We generally try to perform all functions in-house instead of bringing in a third-party or contractor service to help for deployments. That was the model that we followed. We read the documentation, had Zerto's number handy in case we ran into issues, and deployed it ourselves.

There are probably only five of us (out of the 12 who have access) needed for deployment maintenance. Their titles would be network administrator, network engineer, or senior network engineer. 

It is fairly simple to deploy and maintain. We do product upgrades every six to 12 months.

What was our ROI?

We relocated all our virtual machines from Belgium to Budapest, Hungary. I am not sure how we would have done it without Zerto, because we were able to keep the data in sync. We would have needed to have a lot more expensive storage products online at the time that could have kept that replication. From what I have seen from other methods, that would have required a much higher amount of bandwidth as well, then the cost would have been extreme. The mechanisms available to us with a storage space replication would have been more labor-intensive and prone to error. It was much easier and more successful with Zerto than other ways at our disposal.

Zerto has reduced the time involved that staff would spend on a data recovery operation. We don't have dedicated resources for disaster recovery. It is a scenario where, "Everybody, stop what you are doing. This is what we are all working on right now." We haven't had a reduction in headcount because of Zerto, but we have reduced the use of existing headcount.

DR management is less time-intensive and resource intensive. Therefore, there are less staff hours involved because of Zerto, but not less headcount.

Zerto has helped to reduce downtime in any situation. The easiest one to point out was the data center move. It took minutes to move an application to a different country, then minutes once again to move it back. That would have been hours at best to days with the other solutions that we had at our disposal.

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

Even though we are on-prem, the licensing model was changed to more of a cloud licensing model. We pay for blocks of protected machines. You need to buy a block for use and pay for maintenance annually based on the block size that you have.

When they changed their licensing model, pricing might have gotten a little more expensive for some use cases, but it has been pretty straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It is a little easier to use than Cohesity or Rubrik, but we haven't really had another DR platform in place. 

At the time of evaluation, we did not have a good snapshot-based backup platform, such as Cohesity and Rubrik, so that was not much of an option. The only thing we were aware of and investigating was VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM), which is VMware's built-in system, SRM, and played around with it. In comparison to Zerto at that time, Site Recovery Manager is a nightmare. Zerto was definitely the easy button when we were last investigating solutions. Zerto was better in terms of ease of use, visibility, and costs. Frankly, these are all the metrics that we looked at, and Zerto worked better than SRM as well as it was easier and cheaper.

What other advice do I have?

Do a PoC. Test it along with other solutions that you are looking at and make a decision. Our decision was easy, and it was Zerto.

We are changing the infrastructure supporting our primary crown jewel application and will be utilizing Zerto more heavily in that. We are expanding the amount of application servers as well as adding some database servers that Zerto will be responsible for, and currently aren't. We are expanding using Zerto because we are expanding the assets for our application. That is happening currently. We have been working on that switchover for the last 12 months. We are getting close to actually deploying all those changes in production, so that is a fairly recent and ongoing task.

We haven't had to deal with a data recovery situation due to ransomware or other causes. We have a combination of luck and some pretty good security measures in place to where we haven't had an impactful ransomware event, CryptoLocker event, etc. In that event, I don't think Zerto would probably be the first thing that we would try to utilize. We have some pretty good backup mechanisms as well. We would probably look to those first to restore from backups. We have a fairly aggressive backup schedule with many servers backed up once an hour or more, which contain critical data. That is probably where we would go first.

There is a need to have both DR and backup in one solution, but it is not important. There are better backup methodologies that we use and they cover more use cases.

We are not utilizing any cloud resources for DR at this point. Our applications are very CPU and memory intensive, which becomes very expensive to run in the cloud.

We have other mechanisms for long-term retention.

Biggest lesson learnt: Disaster recovery doesn't have to be the biggest challenge in your organization.

I would rate Zerto as eight out of 10. The rating may not sound great, but it is pretty high for me.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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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Learn what your peers think about Zerto. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
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John Skarja
IT Architect, ICT Dept at Niagara Health System
Real User
Easy to work with, provides extra protection during site upgrades, and the reporting is good

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the ease of upgrades."
  • "I would like to have an overall orchestration capability that would enable you to do multiple VPGs in some sort of order, with delays in between."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for disaster recovery and business continuance.

We are protecting: SQL, our file servers, and some other applications that are specific to the healthcare domain.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of providing continuous data protection, Zerto has been great. We've had no real issues and it's pretty easy to work with.

At this time, we do not use Zerto for long-term retention. It's something that we may look into, although we don't protect all of our VMs. We only have 60 licenses, but we have more than 300 VMs. We use Veeam for the actual backups at the moment, and it didn't seem practical to have two separate solutions, where we use Zerto for a few and Veeam for the rest. Licensing-wise, it was too expensive to put replication functionality on every VM, just to get a backup of it. I know that Zerto is changing its licensing so that you can get a backup only. However, when we purchased Veeam, it was for three years and we still have part of a year left. After that expires, we will revisit it.

Prior to implementing Zerto, we didn't really have any way at all if there was a disaster at one site to be able to spin things up at the other site. It would have been restored from backups, but we didn't have a backup environment at the other site that they would restore there. This meant that depending on how bad the outage was, it was going to be weeks or months to be able to get back up and running. Now we're in a situation, at least with our key applications, that we could get those back up in a matter of minutes versus weeks. There is now a much better comfort level there.

If we had to failback or move workloads, Zerto would decrease the time it takes to do so. Fortunately, we've never had an event where we've actually had to use Zerto for a live failover. We test the VPGs and get the actual individual teams that run the software involved to test everything out, to make sure it's good. Other than that, fortunately, we haven't really had a need to actually fail anything over at this point.

We have leveraged it at times to move a workload. An example of this is that we've had servers that we were initially told were going to be built at one site, but then a couple of weeks later, it's "Well, no, we want this at the other site." So, instead of having to create a new VM at the other site, decommission the old one, and all that work that's involved with that, we just used Zerto to move it. This is something that saved us a lot of time and it worked perfectly. Between building another one and decommissioning, it is probably a savings of three days' work between all of the people involved.

Fortunately, we haven't had to use Zerto to recover due to a ransomware attack. We haven't been hit with anything like that yet. That's one of the things that also made it attractive for us, was that we're able to potentially get to a point in time just before that happened.

We have also used it in a scenario where we've had a vendor doing an upgrade. We replicated it to the same site instead of the alternate site, just so that if something went wrong we'd have a more instant restore point that we could pick from versus our backups. Since our backups only run once a night, we could have potentially lost a decent amount of data. Again, the upgrade went smoothly, so we didn't have to leverage it, but if there was going to be a problem with that then it would have saved us time and potentially data.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ease of upgrades. We've updated it numerous times since we started, and we can perform upgrades, including with VMware, without impacting anything in conjunction with it.

The reporting on failovers, including the step-by-step and the times, is useful because we can run through a failover and provide reports on it.

I find Zerto extremely easy to use. Setting up VPGs, the upgrade process, failover, and testing are all super easy to do. It is all very straightforward, including the initial setup.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have an overall orchestration capability that would enable you to do multiple VPGs in some sort of order, with delays in between. For example, at least in our testing scenario, we have our domain controllers. We have to fail that over first, get those up and running before we bring up the application side so that people can log in. If there was an actual failover, there would be certain things that would have to failover first, and get them running. Then, the application would be second, like SQL for example. For our dialysis application, one would have to have SQL up and running first before that. It would be nice to be able to select both and then say, start up this VPG and then wait 10 minutes and then fire up this one.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for between three and four years, since 2018

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find this product super stable and I've had basically zero problems with it. A couple of minor things came up, and support resolved them pretty much instantly. We've never actually been down with it, but one problem was where it didn't recognize our version of the VMware. It was an entry in some INI file but that was quickly resolved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would think it scales great and it's just a matter of licensing. Right now, we have just the basic license that enables us to go one-to-one. We do want to go to the one-to-many and then out to the cloud, which is an option that would be better for us. We're just waiting to get the cloud connectivity before we upgrade the license. In this aspect, it should scale well.

At this point, myself and perhaps one other person use the product. We're licensed for 60 VMs and we have just slightly less than that, in the upper 50s. I would think that our usage in the future will increase.

Every time that we have a project come along, as part of that, they're supposed to verify what the DR business continuity needs are in terms of RTO and RPO. The only option for us other than this is backups, which are up to 24 hours. If that doesn't meet the needs of a new project, we are supposed to get a Zerto license for it. It's something that should be increasing over time.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support from Zerto has been great. Anytime that we put a ticket in, they've called back very quickly, and the issues have always been resolved in less than a day. Really, it happens within hours.

It is also nice that you can open a case directly from the management console, instead of having to place a call and wait in a queue. When you open a ticket, it's created, and then they call you back. It seems to be a great process.

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

We are currently using Veeam for backups only, whereas Zerto is used for our business continuity disaster recovery. We have never used Veeam in terms of DR. When we purchased Zerto, you had to buy a license for replication. You could also leverage it for backup, but it didn't make sense because it was more pricey than using Veeam for that.

For backups, Veeam is pretty easy to use. Backups seem slightly more complex than the DR part, at least in terms of the way Zerto is doing them. Ultimately, it's easier for me to work with than Veeam's backup, per se. But backups historically have always been a little bit more tricky.

We used to have IBM Spectrum Protect, which was a total beast. So, Veeam is much easier to use than our previous backup solution. I know Veeam does have a DR product and we've never really looked at it. So, I can't really compare Zerto to that. I know Zerto does seem to be a better solution.

Prior to working with Zerto, we didn't have a DR business continuity plan. Essentially, we had no staff working on it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. We had it up and running in no time at all, and it wasn't something that took us weeks or months to implement. The install was done in less than a day and we were already starting to create VPGs immediately.

We started off as a trial running a PoC. We had a trial license mainly because, being in the healthcare industry, we have some unique applications. The other options for disaster recovery on those were going to be pretty pricey, and then, that would be a solution just for that one particular application. At that point, we were more interested in having the backups.

We don't like having five different backup utilities and we were hoping to have just one product that would handle all of our DR business continuance needs. That seemed to be Zerto when we looked at it, so we wanted to do a proof of concept on one main application, Meditech. It is our primary healthcare information system that everybody uses. It wasn't officially a supported DR business continuity methodology for it, but we did put it through the wringer a bit during the PoC phase to make sure it worked before we were really committed.

A lot of the other applications are straightforward, so we weren't as concerned with what we were going to do after the fact. But Medtech was one of the big driving ones that needed to be tested out before we committed to purchasing it. We did make calls to other hospitals who were Meditech customers as well, that were also using Zerto, to get a better comfort level based on their experiences.

What about the implementation team?

Two of us from the company, including a technical analyst and an enterprise architect, were involved in the initial setup. One of the vendor's reps came down to assist us with the first one, and he was great to deal with. Any questions that we had, he was able to answer them right away. He didn't say things like "I'll get back to you on that". He definitely knew what he was doing.

The install was pretty basic and we probably could have done it ourselves regardless, but just to fill in some of the knowledge gaps of how it actually works under the covers, he was able to provide that and some other pointers on things.

What was our ROI?

In terms of ROI, it is hard to say. Fortunately, we haven't had any issues. Obviously, if we had an issue we would have seen ROI, but it's kind of like insurance. You pay for it and then if nothing ever happens, that's it. But, if something were to happen, then you're pretty glad that you had it in place. 

Similarly, if you have an accident with your car, it's good that you had insurance because it's saving you money. But if you never have an accident, then you're spending money. In that way, I look at any disaster recovery business continuity as insurance.

Although we've never had to use it, if we do then we will see ROI the first time.

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

The pricing doesn't seem too bad for what it does. I know that the license that we have is being deprecated and I think you can only get their enterprise one moving forward. I know that we're supposed to change to that regardless, which is the one that gives us the ability to move out to the cloud and do multiple hypervisors, et cetera.

Overall, it seems fair to me. Plus, that you can do backups and everything with it means that it is even of greater value if you're doing your entire environment. It could cover everything you need to cover, plus the backups, all for one price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking at VMware Site Recovery Manager at that time as the other option, and Zerto seemed a lot easier to use and easier upgrade paths. Even within the path to update your VMware environment with two products, it seems like the easier of the two products.

What other advice do I have?

Now that a backup-only license will be available for Zero, switching away from Veeam is something that we'll look at when the time comes for Veeam renewals. One of the things that we'll do is a cost analysis, to see what it costs comparatively.

We are not using DR in the cloud, although we are looking at using it in the future.

My advice for anybody who is looking into implementing Zerto is to do like we did, which was to implement a proof of concept, just to feel good about the solution, that it's going to meet your needs. Feel free to reach out to other people that are in your industry, as we did with other healthcare people. There should be a decent number of people out there that are doing what you're trying to do.

Zerto seems pretty good at hooking people up with other customers that are doing the same thing they're doing, so you have a chance to talk to them directly. I've been on those calls and Zerto basically just hooks you up with that person and they don't stay on the call themselves. It's just you and them talking, so they're pretty unbiased answers from most people. I definitely suggest reaching out to Zerto to get feedback from customers. Basically, just do your due diligence and research.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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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Franklin
Enterprise Network Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
We know that in the event of a disaster, we can easily recover our state of being in a rather quick amount of time

Pros and Cons

  • "Zerto is very good at providing continuous data protection. For replication purposes, it's definitely better than Veeam. Veeam doesn't do as good a job as Zerto does when it comes to replication. The other alternative would be to just have backups somewhere. But even with backups, you lose a lot of time because you have to set it all up. With Zerto, you failover, you just click a couple of buttons and you run from the other location."
  • "The improvement that I would like to see is a little bit easier product knowledge, things like that. It's getting a lot better than it was before because it's not as old of a product as Cisco, but if you look for something like Cisco routing and networking, you'll find millions of articles out there and it's everywhere."

What is our primary use case?

We use Zerto for DR purposes, we replicate what's critical to continue business. We replicate it from our headquarters to another state, a DR site. If something happens to the headquarters where we are located we could run the continued business from the DR site with Zerto.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the way we function because we know that in the event of a disaster, we can easily recover our state of being in a rather quick amount of time. If there's malware, for example, we can go back to a point in time, up to five seconds before the malware started, and start production from that point on, undoing all the damage that the malware did. The ability to do that is a very good feature. It has replication and DR, but at the same time, if something happens with malware and it compromised your backups and compromised your offsite remote copies, you have that third option of saying, "We'll go to Zerto and see if we can reverse back from that point." That's pretty comforting.

If we need to fail back on work we would absolutely use Zerto for that. We'd probably do that first before we tried the backups. It's easier to do that than to try to look for the backups. 

Zerto decreases the amount of time spent trying to get everything back online. That's the most important part. If something happened, I could just go back. It would take me around 15 minutes to locate something and launch it fairly quickly. If you're doing it from a backup, you're probably going to look for a good backup, launch it, then it's got to set up. So you're looking at an hour, maybe, if you're lucky. It's a big difference.

We once had a server and there was some software and one of the controllers in the software wouldn't boot up and we did not have a copy. It was a brand new server, so we didn't have a backup copy of it just yet. We used Zerto to go back. It was in Zerto, but it wasn't on backups yet. We were replicating it just in case and we used that to restore the server back. I called support who walked me through it fairly quickly. The whole thing took around 15 to 20 minutes. It was easy. If we had used a different solution, it would have taken us an hour or maybe two. We would have needed to find the backup and then mount it. We would then launch code or a bunch of series of Wizards. Zerto is always running so if we need to get something, we just highlight, and then we go to more, and whatever we want to do, it's right there. We don't have to turn it on. We don't have to get it going. It's always running. Backups are in a stopped state, so we would have to get it going first, then look for something, then mount it, and then do whatever we're going to do. There are four steps there, versus with Zerto where it's, "Oh, it's in this VPG," go to more, it gives you all the actions you could do, clone, delete, copy and you just do it.

Zerto has reduced the number of staff involved in data recovery because it's only two people who manage the Zerto platform. It's mostly me. I do about 80% to 90% and then 10% is my supervisor. He's more into the meetings anyway. We require two people.

What is most valuable?

The replication is the most valuable feature. It's almost like a tape recorder. You can rewind if you need to, if something bad happens. You can rewind the tape and your production begins where your tape left off. Where you want it can be replayed for such a purpose.

Zerto is very good at providing continuous data protection. For replication purposes, it's definitely better than Veeam. Veeam doesn't do as good a job as Zerto does when it comes to replication. The other alternative would be to just have backups somewhere. But even with backups, you lose a lot of time because you have to set it all up. With Zerto, you failover, you just click a couple of buttons and you run from the other location.

It's very easy to use. Every morning I go into the dashboard and I can tell the health of the VPG groups. If there's a problem or anything, I'll see it in the active alerts. So the dashboard is pretty simple. There's a status that tells you if the RPOs are falling behind, or from what you set it to, there's a reminder that tells you when to do the failover test. I like that. If I'm going to add a server to a VPG, I just go to the VPG section of the menu, find our group, select it, and then edit it, go to VMs, and there it is. It gives it to me side by side. It tells me what is unprotected on the left, and then this is protected on the right. I can move from unprotected state to protected state or I can remove something that's in a protected state to an unprotected state. It always tells me at the dashboard from the bottom, how many licenses I have, and how many I'm using. I don't go over my license count where I might not be protected. It's pretty easy.

We've never had a situation where we had to go to Zerto for downtime. It's just protection, but we haven't had the situation where we've had to failover. Hopefully, we never do. It's like car insurance. You want car insurance, but you don't want to get into an accident.

What needs improvement?

The improvement that I would like to see is a little bit easier product knowledge, things like that. It's getting a lot better than it was before because it's not as old of a product as Cisco, but if you look for something like Cisco routing and networking, you'll find millions of articles out there and it's everywhere. It's prolific. So with Zerto, you have to find it within the Zerto application. Hopefully, as they grow, it'll be more out there on the net. Same thing with Microsoft. If you look for a problem with Microsoft, you're going to find millions of articles on it, maybe it's just because they've just been around for so long. I'm hoping that one day Zerto is just as prolific and can be found everywhere.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zerto for two years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Zerto is very stable. There are very few errors. I just don't see any errors. The only one time we had an issue with it was with journals. We were filling up too much and we called support and they walked us through it. We found out that we were replicating a temporary drive and it's not good practice to back up temporary drives because they constantly change when it's not even necessary. So we removed the temporary drives and we never had that problem again.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm a system administrator.

If you were doing recovery from a backup, you'd probably want at least two people looking through backups quickly to speed up locating them. You might need somebody to set up a mount server to mount the backups on. You can get away with three people but you might need three depending on how urgently you want to get going. It depends.

For DR management, if I was with another solution I would require more people. If you have a Dell EMC, they have storage administrators that that's all they do. And so that's a dedicated position. I'm a system administrator, which means that I do the storage, I deal with the servers. It allows me to do a lot of things, not just one thing.

Scalability is excellent. We have one here, we have the one there. I know we could add another ZVM, another location, or another DR site if we wanted to. That's been in the talks for a long time. It's on pause now because of COVID-19. But if at some point we decide that we want to add a secondary DR site that is geographically opposed to where we are now, then we could replicate one, two, and three at the same time. It's got good potential to be increased.

We have about 20 to 50 servers in Maryland and we replicate all the critical, essential ones that would be required to continue to run business to North Carolina. Everything is virtual, which helps us out. We have one Zerto virtual manager here, we have a Zerto virtual manager in North Carolina, and we do failover every six months just to make sure that it works. As a matter of fact, we have a failover test coming up that we have a test of failover to make sure that it's continuing to work.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is very good. I've used them before. When we had the journal issues, it was easy to resolve the issue.  We've done upgrades on the versions and they've always been very responsive. If I do a P1, which is critical or they do a P4, which is just information, they respond fairly quickly. 

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

We've used Veeam for backup. Before Veeam, we used Unitrends, which is even worse. It didn't work. 

Zerto's good for DR replication. I don't think anybody does it better. Veeam is good for short-term backups. It doesn't do well with the replication part at all - even they say it. I've spoken to reps who agree and say that Zerto's better at it than they are.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. You set up a ZVM here and there and tell it the direction you want it to replicate in to. You can create an EPG to the journal that goes attached.

Because we were setting it up in the middle of things, it took around one month. 

We did have a strategy of how to put those servers here, build servers there, and IP addresses we were going to assign to it. We did have some sense of where we were going to put things.

What about the implementation team?

We used the reseller who helped us with the deployment. They were great. It was easy. No problems with it.

We bought it through CTI.

What was our ROI?

I think we do see ROI. We need a defensive posture to protect ourselves.

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

Pricing is okay. You don't use Zerto to put all of your servers in Zerto. The purpose of it is you take what is absolutely critical to continue running your business, whatever servers are in your business continuity plan. Those are the ones that you put in Zerto. Then you'll be fine in the licensing because if you just buy 200 licenses or 300 licenses and you're backing up a utility server or any server that's not essential, then your bosses are going to think you're spending too much money. But if you just zero in on what's critical and back that up with licensing, you'll be fine.

There are no additional costs that I'm aware of. We have the licensing fees that come up and then that's it, as far as I know.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had a couple of proposals. We had the one from Veeam but we realized really quickly that it doesn't work for replication. The other alternative would have been to save the backups to the offsite location, have servers there, and load backups at the server location. That takes a lot of manual labor so we decided Zerto would the best option.

What other advice do I have?

We don't know what we're going to do for long-term retention. We use it for DR purposes only. But we are still looking at the long-term retention and what to do with it.

I would say if you're looking for true DR protection with minimal recovery time, then Zerto is probably going to be the one. If the objective is minimum time to recover, then this is the product you need to buy. If you want to spend time trying to set up again in a disaster, then there are a lot of things out there and for ransomware too. We have about a five-minute window where once data is compromised beyond five minutes, it's useless. So we need to keep the window to about five minutes. Because of that, Zerto is really going to have to do that at this point in a cost-effective way to recover. 

I like Zerto. You learn different things as you use it more and more, so you become more competent with it as you use it. I know that if you do have an issue, as with most other vendors, the easiest solution is to provide the logs as soon as you can, and then they're better prepared to respond if you do it that way.

I would rate Zerto a nine out of ten. Nothing is perfect. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
Evan Davis
Technology Infrastructure Manager at County of Grey
Real User
Top 20
If we do have an event or disaster, we know that we can recover from that much quicker than we were able to before

Pros and Cons

  • "There wasn't anything in place that compares to what we're getting from Zerto. Before Zerto, we didn't have a proper disaster recovery program or application in place. We had a simple backup solution where we could back up our data every 24 hours. So we went from that to being able to recover full systems within a matter of minutes. With Zerto, if we do have an event or disaster, we know that we can recover from that much quicker than we were able to before."
  • "Long-term retention of files is a function that isn't available yet that I'm looking forward to them providing. The long-term retention is the only other thing that I think needs improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We needed Zerto in order to provide a disaster recovery solution for the entire organization. We use it to replicate some resources on-prem and for quick recovery. We also use Azure to replicate for disaster. If we ever have a catastrophic failure or attack at our main headquarters, we could failover and run our resources in Azure. 

We don't use Zerto for backup, we use Veeam. Once the new long-term retention features are added to Zerto, then we will investigate using it for that and possibly dropping Veeam.

How has it helped my organization?

There wasn't anything in place that compares to what we're getting from Zerto. Before Zerto, we didn't have a proper disaster recovery program or application in place. We had a simple backup solution where we could back up our data every 24 hours. So we went from that to being able to recover full systems within a matter of minutes. With Zerto, if we do have an event or disaster, we know that we can recover from that much quicker than we were able to before.

We use Veeam Backup for data and not for replication so this is purely just for disaster recovery and replication. We don't use it for data backup, we're still using Veeam for that.

Zerto definitely decreases the time and people it takes when we need to failback or move workloads. The benefit of using it with the Cloud is that we don't have to maintain extra hard work or an extra infrastructure for disaster recovery. With Zerto and Azure, it can all be done essentially by one person. If we're restoring data and systems from the cloud, it can all be controlled from the Zerto interface, whether it's on-premise or in the Cloud. To move the data back, depending on the size of the disaster, if we were to have to rebuild our hardware on-premise, that would obviously require more people. But if it's just a matter of restoring data from the Cloud, it would only need one person. Whereas before, you could probably still do it with one person, but the amount of time that would take would be a lot longer. We would have had to rebuild servers to restore the data. With Zerto, we can restore entire servers from our Cloud repository and have them up and running, it would just be dependent on the speed of the internet. Zerto could easily save us days of time.

It saves us time in data recovery situations due to ransomware. If we had a ransomware attack, we could have our systems available for investigation and run our environment entirely in Azure, separate from our on-prem network. With Zerto as well, we could also recover our systems to the point in time before the ransomware attack happened, ensuring that it doesn't happen again. With our resources in the Cloud, we can scan it for infections and pull it out if it's been lying dormant. The big benefit against ransomware is that we can easily just go back in time to the point before the attack.

The ability to do DR in the Cloud rather than in a physical data center has enabled us to save money. It has saved us quite a bit of money by utilizing Cloud resources, instead of buying a whole new recovery site on-premise. We did an analysis of the buy and one of the reasons why we went with Zerto on Azure is because of the amount of money that we would save over a five-year period. Based on our analysis, it saved us roughly $25,000 a year.

What is most valuable?

The one-click failover feature is very valuable because of the ease of use as well as the little to no data loss with the constant replication in journaling technologies that it has.

The one-click failover feature is really valuable to us because we need a solution that's easy to use. There's the potential that myself or other staff may not be available at the point of the disaster and it would be possible to have somebody who may not know the technology be able to initiate a failover on our behalf by simply just asking them to click a button.

The important features of having little to no loss of data are extra valuable because if we do have a failover event or an event where we need to initiate a failover for disaster, having no data loss is really important because if we were to have a disaster where we needed to initiate the failover for recovery, and if there was data loss, that's lost time from staff. It's also really hard to tell what data is lost and what has to be made up. We have certain resources here that can't afford any sort of downtime or loss of data.

Its journaling technologies are always sending replicated data up so that we can view what the recovery point objectives would be in real-time. We can see it could be a matter of six seconds to a couple of minutes, and that gives us peace of mind that things are moving constantly so that when we do have a failure, we can go back to pretty much any point in time that we want and have our systems available again.

Zerto is very easy to use, the interface makes it really easy. The wizards that are available, the how-to guides, and the support from Zerto has made it really easy to use. With little to no training, we were able to get it up and running in the test environment in under a day. The interface makes it really easy to use from using it from day to day, setting up new jobs for replications, or even restoring data.

What needs improvement?

Long-term retention of files is a function that isn't available yet that I'm looking forward to them providing. The long-term retention is the only other thing that I think needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Zerto for around nine months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Zerto is very stable, we have not had any issues with it so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is fantastic. It can go from a very small number of machines up to a very large number of machines without any issue. We started small and they included more and more to it and I haven't had any issues. We have not had any problems scaling across sites to other sites within the organization and integrating it all together. It's as advertised that it can be in any environment of any size. It scales very well.

Only one or two people are required for the maintenance of this solution. As the manager of technology and infrastructure, I and the system administrators do the maintenance. I mostly work with it. One of my other staff works with it from time to time, but for the most part, it just does its thing and we don't really need to do a whole lot with it.

Zerto is used extensively in my company in the sense that it is our primary disaster recovery solution. It is used for servers throughout the County for all departments. Every system that we have in place relies on Zerto for DR. As servers increase, we will add those servers to Zerto, for disaster recovery purposes. It's completely integrated into our system.

Zerto hasn't reduced the number of staff involved in overall backup and DR management only because we have a small team to begin with. Our infrastructure team that I'm in charge of is only six staff. So DR and backup is one job amongst many, for all the staff here. The amount of time dedicated hasn't changed a whole lot for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is fantastic. Anytime we've had an issue, which has been not too many, they've been very good to resolve any issues.

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

We also use Veeam and it is really easy to use too. They're both easy programs to use. If anyone can use Veeam, they can use Zerto. I wouldn't say Zerto's any easier or Veeam's any harder. They do different things; Veeam does back up really well. If you need a backup solution, Veeam is far cheaper. Whereas Zerto is fantastic at disaster recovery and replication, but when it comes to backup, that's not really what it's made for. Moving forward that may change. But Zerto is definitely a much costlier program compared to Veeam but it does a lot more.

How was the initial setup?

Zerto itself was straightforward to set up. There was good documentation available and we utilized some of their engineering services to help set up as well. For the size of the products and the complexity that it can do, the actual setup and operations over this are quite easy. It took a couple of days, which included getting everything in Azure set up properly.

The implementation strategy that we did was to create the on-premise environment for a dedicated network, virtual machines, and the installation. Then Azure would become our disaster recovery site in the event that we needed it if we had a disaster on-premise, we could failover all of our services and servers that we needed to in Azure. Then our client computers would connect to them while in the Cloud while be prepared for recovery on-premise.

What about the implementation team?

We utilized a third-party consultant to assist with setting up our Azure environments and Zerto technicians helped us set up Zerto on Azure. Our experience was really good. There were some challenges and there was lots of learning to do, but overall, the experience was good. The staff from Zerto were exceptionally good. They really know the product well, helped quite a bit, and provided instructions and training on how to use it outside of that.

What was our ROI?

I think that return on investment will come in the event that we do have a disaster that we need to recover from. We have seen some ROI from Zerto by moving virtual machines between data centers, where that has saved us a lot of time. The technology not only is useful for disaster recovery, but also for server maintenance and moving resources between posts and impairments. Before, it could take hours to copy virtual machines, even days. We use Zerto to move resources around with little to no downtime in a lot quicker time. So we were able to save staff time and resources by using Zerto.

It wouldn't have cost us too much with the government. It's hard to equate a lot of downtime to dollars and cents for us because it's more so around staff time and convenience. We have long-term care homes that we need that are up all the time. And any of those maintenance windows we usually schedule after hours. So it's more of an inconvenience for IT staff to work overnight instead of during regular business hours.

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

Zerto is not cheap; however, it is worth the cost. The licensing model is easy. You buy based on the amount of virtual machines you want to protect and go from there. Even though it is not a cheap program, you do get what you pay for, but overall it became cheaper than maintaining a separate data center.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Cohesity, Rubrik, and Commvault. Veeam does replication as well, but it doesn't do it nearly as well. We looked at a few other solutions from Dell. We went with Zerto because it had all the disaster recovery functions that we needed, the ability to recover within minutes with minimal to no data loss, and is integrated well with Azure.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend doing the free proof of concept exercise with Zerto pre-sales engineers and work with them to discuss your environment and then review their recommendations on implementation. From time to time do the free training. I highly recommend doing that. Get your hands on this software and try it out first before doing the production implementation.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that disaster recovery doesn't have to be hard.

I would rate Zerto a ten out of ten. I don't rate many things ten, but Zerto offered me exactly what they're upfront with, what it will do, and it's doing exactly what they said it would do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
Rob Michel
Network Administrator at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Easy to set up and use with a nice GUI, good support, and the automated failover works well

Pros and Cons

  • "Zerto is extremely easy to use. You set it and forget it."
  • "The reporting could be improved in terms of the reports that you can show to auditors to prove that you have done the testing. I provide the reports that it generates now but, it would be great if, at the end of a DR test, it would generate a report of everything that Zerto did."

What is our primary use case?

Zerto runs on a Windows Virtual Server and we have it installed at two sites. There is the production site, as well as the failover DR site.

We use this product almost exclusively for disaster recovery. It is responsible for the automated recovery of what we deem to be our mission-critical servers.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of its ability to provide continuous data protection, this is a product that I trust. We test it quarterly to make sure that what the dashboard is telling us is correct. But, I've used it long enough to know that when I see the dashboard telling me that the virtual protection groups (VPGs) health are all green, then things are working correctly. Our average RPO is usually somewhere between three and 10 seconds.

We used to perform a disaster recovery test once a year, and it was painful because everything was manual. Now that we do it quarterly, we're able to provide management with reports of the tests, which not only makes management happy but also makes various governing bodies happy. We're a financial advisory firm, so it's the SEC that oversees us. That said, I'm sure this holds true in many industries. It allows you to have the reports to prove that you've done the tests. We don't have to ask them to take our word for it.

When we need to failback or move workloads, Zerto has absolutely decreased the time and number of people that are required to do so. For example, if I just want to test and prove that the network is up, it's something that I can do by myself. If I want to have people log in and test applications and stuff like that, I would need additional people. However, it has a built-in test function, so it will create a complete test network that you can run workloads on to show that the tests are successful. Afterward, you can delete the network and you're back just running, waiting for the next time you want to do that. In a situation like this, using Zerto saves eight hours or more and I can set it up and test it on my own unless I want people actually testing applications.

Thankfully, we have not had to use this product to recover from a ransomware attack or other disaster, but it would absolutely work in that case. By replicating the data, if ransomware were to hit the production side, it most likely would not also lock the disaster recovery side. This means that we would certainly be able to bring it up from there. Alternatively, it lets us pick points in time, so we can just go back to the moment in time before the ransomware happened. In a situation like this, I can't say that it would take fewer people but it would take fewer hours.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the automated failover, as it allows us to get the essential servers up at our DR site with little intervention.

Zerto is extremely easy to use. You set it and forget it.

It has a nice graphical interface.

What needs improvement?

The reporting could be improved in terms of the reports that you can show to auditors to prove that you have done the testing. I provide the reports that it generates now but, it would be great if, at the end of a DR test, it would generate a report of everything that Zerto did.

This would include details like what systems were up. Currently, that's not how the report reads. You would have to be an IT person to read the current reports that it produces. I would like for them to be the type of reports that I can put in front of an auditor or the president of our firm that would make sense to them, without me having to interpret and explain the results.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are in our seventh year of using Zerto.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, this solution is rock-solid. If it fails, it's not going to be Zerto that fails. It's going to be either that your storage has failed or the bandwidth, or connectivity, is not there. I don't see a way where Zerto would be the culprit in a failure-type instance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our company is fairly small and the entire firm relies on it. That said, only one person actively uses it. We have three or four IT staff but Zerto has always been my responsibility.

In terms of scalability, I bet it would be no issue whatsoever. It's licensed according to the virtual machines that you want to protect. The only limitation of the scalability would be how deep your pockets are because it's going to be license costs.

We're a registered financial advisory firm, and we are growing. In the past year to 18 months, we have grown from approximately 52 employees to 70 employees. Everybody relies on it because if we have a disaster recovery type of situation, then everybody is going to expect to be able to work.

It is still a very small number of IT staff, so I can see that as we hire more IT staff to support a larger user base, we will certainly have more users.  At least, I hope not to be the only one responsible for this solution as we grow.

How are customer service and support?

I would rate the technical support a ten out of ten.

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

Prior to Zerto, we used VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM). We switched because it requires a lot of manual upkeep, and there is no automation involved unless you write the scripts. There are lots of freeware sites where you can download scripts, but aside from that, we were spending a lot of time manually writing scripts and maintaining everything. This was really counterproductive for the amount of time we had available in a day.

Essentially, SRM was replaced because of better interface automation and ease of use. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup is very easily done because you tie it into your VMware vCenter. When you put in your credentials, it will recognize everything on your networks. It will recognize storage, whether it be cloud-based or as in our case, at another data center. Once you have those defined, it's just a matter of creating groups that you want to recover, server-wise.

The reason that you would want to do it in groups is that you can set it up in the automation such that it will bring up groups in a certain order. That way, you have a network where the domain controllers come up in the first group, and you can automate stuff from there.

Seven years ago, when I first started to use it, I found it more difficult. I wouldn't say that it was complex but they have certainly made improvements over the years. Where it stands now, if I had to set it up from scratch, I could probably do it in about an hour. Of course, that is because of the way I know the application but in terms of how they have changed the setup, it is certainly more user-friendly than it was compared to where it started.

I remember running into a couple of issues during the deployment, and I contacted their support. They were fantastic and helped me get through it. They made sure that all of my questions were answered, and that it was up and running how we intended it to be used. A lot of it probably had to do with me being a novice at that point, in terms of using the application.

It was a multi-site deployment, with a production site and a DR site, with dedicated storage for each. We have changed the storage that it uses over the years and if I had to do it again, I would use another vendor for storage. A lot of the issues that we ran into were related to the initial storage that we used, as opposed to Zerto issues, even though it was Zerto support that helped me fix them. 

Overall, the deployment was fairly easy. Not because everything went great, but because of the combination of the application being pretty well-written and the support. I would rate the deployment an eight out of ten.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed Zerto with the help of a consultant, contacting support as we needed to. The consultant was NetGain Technologies and they're based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Their service was phenomenal and I would use them again in a heartbeat for this type of deployment. Ultimately, any issues that we ran into boiled down to some issues with the storage we chose to run it on.

I am responsible for the maintenance. 

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen a return on investment in terms of the manhours that have to be put into maintaining and testing this type of product. Thankfully, we have never had to use it in a true DR situation. However, I can guarantee that if something were to happen, even beyond the manhours and ease of automation, that it would pay for itself.

Our network infrastructure runs pretty smoothly most of the time. That said, Zerto has helped us to reduce downtime by approximately 20%. It is difficult to equate this with a monetary value because we have to consider what happens when a client misses a trade or cannot get a hold of their portfolio manager.

If it were an outage of a couple of hours then the person might pay a little more or a little less for a stock that they were trying to purchase. Overall, however, it is difficult to estimate. We aren't a day trading-type firm, so ultimately, I'm not sure that a short outage has any effect on our revenue stream whatsoever.

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

As a small company, we own the smallest license that Zerto offers, which is 15 VMs. I've not had to contact them or my reseller about purchasing additional licenses or to find out how much they cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We spoke with VMware to see what their pipeline was for upgrades or changes to Site Recovery Manager and we also looked at both Cohesity and Rubrik.

I like the separation of the software and the storage, whereas some of those other products are all-in-one. You're buying the software and storage together on the same platform. This means that the scalability would be different.

Sometimes, this is a case of adding shelves for storage. In that situation, for example, you have to start taking the data center rack space into account. Whereas with Zerto, it lets us build upon hardware we already had, even though we use dedicated storage.

What other advice do I have?

Version 9 of this product is out. However, we have not yet upgraded. We're not leveraging the cloud the way a lot of companies do these days, and I know from the release notes that I've read that most of the new features are related to the cloud. There's not a lot of research and development being done on physical data centers anymore.

At this point, I'm very happy with where the product sits for my network. We are now just starting to move things to the cloud, which will take place over the next couple of years, so my assessment in this regard may change in perhaps a few years.

At the moment, we don't have plans to use it for long-term retention. We keep about three days' worth of data in Zerto and then it rolls off. We have other systems in place for long-term retention.

My advice for anybody who is looking into implementing Zerto is to do your homework. In the end, this product checks all of the boxes and it's the one that I would go with.

In the way that we use this solution, which I know is not how everybody uses it, we have storage that is specifically used for Zerto and two data centers. The way it works in that scenario, as long the bandwidth is there, meaning some sort of dedicated circuit between the two sites, it's flawless in my opinion.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using Zerto is that disaster recovery doesn't have to be a giant pain. I certainly used to look at it that way in the past.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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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Dain Baltierra
Senior IT Systems Engineer at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Can be implemented and used in an emergency situation anywhere

Pros and Cons

  • "The RTO and RPO are unparalleled. In the event you do have an issue, you can be back up and running (depending on the size of your infrastructure) within minutes. Your RTO can be 15 minutes and data loss be five minutes. I don't think that's matched by anybody else in the field."
  • "The alerting has room for improvement as it is the biggest pain point with the software. It is so bad. It is just general alerting on or off. There are so many emails all the time. You have no control over it, which is terrible. It is the worst part of the entire application. I have voiced this to Zerto hundreds of times for things like feature changes. Apparently, it's coming, but there is nothing concrete as to when you can do it."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for DR as well as migration. We have four data centers and migrate workloads between them.

We don't use it for backup.

How has it helped my organization?

We had some ransomware that got on and infected the corporate shared drives. It was just one system and one user type of thing. It didn't spread because we had it locked down pretty well. So, I just bumped the server back entirely so we did not have to worry about it.

We have only had one instance, and it wasn't widespread, where we had ransomware. The RPO was approximately 20 minutes. We had an active snapshot from when the incident happened, because we couldn't really iron it down. Therefore, Zerto saved us time in this data recovery situation because I didn't have to rebuild the thing or do a SnapMirror. 

If we had used a different solution, it might have taken a week for our data recovery situation instead of 20 minutes with four or five technical folks (not including management), instead of just me. This is because we didn't have anything documented and just counted on Zerto to do it. I don't know what the company had set up previously since I'm new, but at the previous place that I've experienced malware, you would have to stand everything up from scratch and scrape through all your backups and differentials. 

We use in the data center if there is a live event that could cost the company millions of dollars, which I haven't experienced, e.g., if our data center were to explode or get hit with a meteor, then ceases to exist. We have the option to go in and flip a switch. That has never happened. However, our tests using SRM went from a day to minutes when we switched to Zerto.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is DR. In my opinion, there is nothing better at what it does.

The solution provides fantastic continuous data protection. We do a lot of spin up test environments depending on what happened, then make changes and rip it down. Or, if we got hit with malware, then we use that to do a point-in-time recovery. We custom create software in-house, so we will spin up a test environment to test code deployments or do a copy to do the same thing, if we want it to be around longer than a test recovery. For example, somebody got hit with something, then they infected the server. We were able to restore it back to a point in time before the infection. 

It is super easy to use. A non-technical user can get it up in a day. I can get it up in 15 minutes. I've brought it to help desk guys and network operations center guys, and it's easily grasped.

What needs improvement?

While I am open to transitioning over to using Zerto for long-term retention, the problem is the alerting function in Zerto is very poor. That makes it a difficult use case to transition over.

The alerting has room for improvement as it is the biggest pain point with the software. It is so bad. It is just general alerting on or off. There are so many emails all the time. You have no control over it, which is terrible. It is the worst part of the entire application. I have voiced this to Zerto hundreds of times for things like feature changes. Apparently, it's coming, but there is nothing concrete as to when you can do it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is fantastic. It has gotten a lot better as far as the maintenance. Initially, it required a lot of prodding and poking. As it sits today, it is really stable, though you sometimes need to mirror the changes in the application to what you have changed in your own infrastructure.

The management once it is already deployed is easy to moderate. Things can get a little goofy with the DRS and if you're shuffling things around. If your infrastructure is pretty static, you're not going to have any problems with Zerto. But, if you move things around or do any updates, you have to come in and make sure everything is good to go. It is not difficult, but sometimes you are required to go in and maintain it. Because we turn off the alerting in most places, you don't know its status without going in and manually looking.

I am the primary Zerto administrator. Therefore, I own the product for my company and use it every day.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. It will scale essentially one-to-one with your virtual infrastructure. However, if you have more hosts and VMs, then you have to go in and manage that many more hosts and VMs.

Four people know it and use it to do things. I'm the primary, then there is another guy who is the direct backup on my team. Then I have trained a couple other people who know how to utilize it in the event of an emergency, e.g., "This is how you would failover X environment." Because it won't automatically do failovers, somebody has to pull the trigger. Therefore, we have documentation in order to do that. It is very simple.

We don't use it for everything, not in both instances where I implemented it or been in charge of running it over. However, it definitely has freed people up to do other things in that space. It only takes me to entirely administer Zerto, instead of a backup and recovery operations team with two or three people.

We are at about 60 percent of use. I would like to see more. We don't do persistent long-term backups or use any of the cloud functionality, though I think we will as we're in the midst of looking at AWS to potentially migrate workloads there. I also very interested in using it as cold storage.

How are customer service and technical support?

Initially, years ago, the technical support was very poor. We were promised one thing that was physically impossible with the software. I spent a lot of time fighting everybody in support. Since then, the support has been really good. In my experience, they are all mostly stateside. They understand the product inside and out to help you with your needs or come up with some type of creative solution.

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

At my previous company, we were using SRM and our DR tests would take one to two days. For our primary customer, we switched to Zerto, then it took 15 to 20 minutes instead of days. It was a huge difference. That was from Boise to North Carolina, then back. It was approximately 30 terabytes of data with 19 virtual machines. It was a pretty large orchestration.

SRM was replaced by Zerto due to simplicity. SRM is very complicated. It is also not easy to use and set up. Zerto is better for implementation and ease of use. So, it was a no-brainer.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, though it could be more straightforward. Now, you just install the software on a Windows system. It would be nice if they had an appliance that autodeployed in VMware. That would make it simple. But if you can install Office or any kind of application on Windows, you can do this. It is super easy to set up with minimal front-end learning required. 

The deployment takes about an hour for an experienced person. If it is your first time, then it will take a couple hours.

You need to know your use case for an instance where you need something to be backed up. Once that need is identified, you need to know where it is and where you want it to go. Once you already have those questions answered, the implementation is simple. Through the installation progress, you just plug in those values of where is it, what is it, and where do you want it to go, then you're done.

What about the implementation team?

At the company I'm with now and at my previous company, I was the architect and implementer. Zerto generally requires one person for the setup.

What was our ROI?

The RTO and RPO are unparalleled. In the event you do have an issue, you can be back up and running (depending on the size of your infrastructure) within minutes. Your RTO can be 15 minutes and data loss be five minutes. I don't think that's matched by anybody else in the field.

It has helped decrease the number of people involved in data center moves. For the infrastructure pieces, which is my primary responsibility, I am the sole person. Whereas, we use to have an OS guy and a network person before to manually configure the pieces. We also had application teams, but they are still relevant. Previously, it took four people because we were touching each environment and machine. Since we wanted it done fast, we would stack a bunch of people on it. Now, it's just me and it's done faster.

When migrating data centers, we have saved a lot of time on my team. Something that takes an hour or two used to take a week or two.

There is big ROI for ease of use, management, and labor overhead versus other solutions.

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

Zerto is more expensive than competitors, making the price difference pretty high. While it is very expensive, it's very powerful and good at what it does. The cost is why we are not leveraging it for everything in the organization. If it was dirt cheap, we would have LTR and DR on everything because it would just make sense to use it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We currently use Veeam and Commvault.

In general, moving VMs through VMware using site-to-site is not as easy than with Zerto because the data has to go on flight, and Zerto just sends it over. I like that aspect of it. During our data center moves, we move from one location to another (San Jose) with a two-hour total downtime from start to finish: From powering the systems down, getting them over, getting a live feed changed, and back up and running to the world. This would be way slower with a different product.

For long-term retention, we do Veeam to spinning disk. While the LTR is something I am interested in, I think Veeam has the upper hand with alerting and job management. Both Veeam and Zerto are easy to use, but Zerto is easier to use.

I am not a big Commvault fan.

It could replace Veeam and Commvault, but not at its current price point.

What other advice do I have?

Most people assume catastrophic failures have a long-term data impact. However, with Zerto, it doesn't have to be that way. If you spend the money to protect everything, you are going to get that low data recovery time. Whereas, if you are cheap and don't buy Zerto, it's going to be hours to days of data loss. With Zerto, it is in the minutes. Thus, how valuable is your data? That is where the cost justification comes in.

If you are thinking about implementing this type of solution:

  • How important is your data? 
  • Would your company go bankrupt if you were unable to do what your company does for a week? 
  • Do you have contract requirements which say you need to have a DR plan up and running? 
  • Do you want to spend a week doing it or 20 minutes doing it? 

It's that value of time, money, and data. I can implement Zerto and use it in an emergency situation anywhere. If you're talking to somebody like me who understands data protection and disaster recovery, the question is how much is your data worth to you and how fast do you need it back?

Currently, we are doing our own storage as the target for protection, but there is interest in enabling DR in the cloud, e.g., to do Glacier or something cheap in Azure.

I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
Serge Kovarsky
Manager System Administrators at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Decreases the time it takes to recover and the number of people needed to do so

Pros and Cons

  • "Zerto is so easy to use that when I showed it to my manager, he said jokingly, 'Huh. I could use it myself, I don't need you.' Zerto is most elegant."

    What is our primary use case?

    It's deployed on private cloud. I have two data centers, one in New Jersey, one in Ohio, which is my job site. I'm using a Zerto instance for my servers and another for my VDI machines. I can replicate everything.

    How has it helped my organization?

    When COVID started, everybody started to work from home and the internet connection to our New Jersey data center was saturated. But we had the same internet connection in Ohio, so why not use it? We needed to spread the load between data centers, so I used Zerto to failover 60 of our 175 users in New Jersey to Ohio, and they were able to work for nine months from Ohio. They were able to connect to their machines from home via Ohio, and it worked perfectly. Later, when we realized that the COVID situation would continue, we increased our internet connection to New Jersey and, using Zerto, I migrated all 60 users back. When COVID happened, Zerto saved the day. We didn't have to stop our business for a minute. It was seamless.

    We also had problems, a few times, with SQL Server. That was pretty early on in our use of Zerto, and I used Zerto to recover it from our other site. We were on SQL on the other site for a week until they figured out what was going on and fixed everything. After that, I used Zerto and migrated back to New Jersey. That was a big save.

    When I started with this company we used the Double-Take solution. It was very cumbersome and very difficult and we could only back up some servers. And when something happened, we could only have a limited number of people connect. When we started using Zerto, I was able to give every user a machine. Everybody could now log in to their machines and see all the applications, everything the same as it was before. People couldn't believe that was possible. To do it we created a fully virtualized environment.

    In addition, we are a very heavily regulated organization because we're working under SEC guidelines. We have large institutional clients like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. For them, we have to prove our resilience and our ability to work in any situation. If we cannot do that, they will pull their money out. We run DR tests and we share the test results with them. Our clients want to see them. We couldn't do that without this solution. Zerto gives us the easiest and the most reliable way to do it. When we ran DR tests before we had Zerto, it was always very difficult. It would take almost a day to bring things back. With Zerto, I can have everything back in 15 minutes. In 15 minutes everyone can connect and start to work.

    With our old solution, in a DR situation, we would need three system administrators working for hours before they got things to a point where a few people could start working again. And it took almost 24 hours to get everything back. And at the end of that time, we were exhausted. The first time we did it with Zerto, for practice, we clicked a couple of times and just sat back and watched.

    It decreases the time it takes to recover and the number of people needed to do it. We were planning to hire a person who would be dedicated to our DR solution, before Zerto, because that was the only way we had found it could be done. When we installed Zerto for a DR test, we were surprised how easy it was to do it. When we hired another system administrator, because we had grown as a company, I gave him something like a half-hour lesson on how to use Zerto and he started to use it himself.

    What is most valuable?

    The continuous data protection is very important. Even if it's synchronous, right now we are at seven seconds difference, so we practically have all our data available, always.

    Our old solution, Double-Take, required a lot of scripts and they were prone to mistakes. Zerto is so easy to use that when I showed it to my manager, he said jokingly, "Huh. I could use it myself, I don't need you." Zerto is most elegant. When I look at what's going inside Zerto, I see there is a ton of scripting but it's hidden from me. I just need to specify what I want to protect and where I want to protect it; very simple stuff. When they first brought in the solution, I saw what they were doing, how they were running all these commands, but again, I don't need to do any of that. If you do things right and you test it, it will just work with no issues at all. Nobody can come close to the elegance of Zerto.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Zerto since 2010 or 2011. We got Zerto when it was at version 1.2. They had just started.

    I just upgraded to 9.0 U1. We ran our tests for IT a few days ago, because we made some network changes. And Zerto just worked perfectly.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    From what I understand, if instead of 15 servers you need to protect 100 servers or 2,000 servers, if you properly plan everything it doesn't matter how many servers you have. To bring back 15 servers or 115, 15 VMs for 115 VMs, there is no difference. It will take the same amount of time.

    How are customer service and support?

    Their technical support is great. When we have issues they work with us and troubleshoot until we figure out what is going on. I have no complaints. 

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

    Initially, we used Double-Take on physical servers. We had five physical servers in our data center at that time. Later, we migrated all our servers from physical to virtual, using Compellent storage at the time. We were able to replicate our storage for DR, but it took a long time because there was a lot of manual work that was not scriptable. After that we found another solution, but it also required a lot of scripting and it was pretty cumbersome. It worked but it was pretty difficult.

    Finally, Zerto came to us and we tried it. It was just day and night, a big difference between the previous solution and Zerto.

    How was the initial setup?

    If you give me two Windows Servers, it will take less than 24 hours to replicate everything and you can already run a DR test. It's really amazing.

    Initially with Zerto, every time there was an upgrade, I practically had to do everything from scratch. I had to recreate the groups and everything else. It didn't work well and I told them, "This is a big issue." In version 5, I believe, they resolved this and I could pick up my environment and restore it. When I upgraded my Zerto from version 8 to 9, it worked great and automatically. After half an hour I was running a brand new environment.

    What was our ROI?

    Every single penny we have invested in Zerto has been worth it. It has allowed us to grow our business and acquire more clients. Our clients are very happy with our DR solution. That's why they give us more money. For a company like ours, the more money we manage, the more revenue we have. From that perspective, Zerto has paid for itself 100 times.

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

    It was a little bit expensive. It took a long time for us to get DR for our workstations. It's one thing when you have 15 servers, but when we needed to bring on almost another 200 users, and each was the same price as the servers, it was too expensive. But Zerto worked with us and gave us a solution that was pretty decent in terms of price. For my company, it was a good solution.

    We bought those initial 200 licenses and we pay for maintenance every year, but it's stable. We don't have any issues. We get support, we can upgrade to a new version when we want, and they will support the changes on the ESX host.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have looked at Commvault and HPE but I haven't found anything I like, so far, as much as Zerto.

    Initially, when we looked at some of the other solutions, before Zerto, we were thinking that we would have a special person who would constantly build scripts. But Zerto is so simple that I  don't spend much time on this side of things anymore. My manager said, "I don't need to worry if you go on vacation because I can just open the console and click 'Failover,' and that's it. Everything will be done in the background." Zerto is an incredible solution.

    It's not only about how much easier it is to install, set up, configure and, after that, run tests for DR. It also works. With previous solutions, DR tests failed a few times because they didn't work well or took too long. We would start a DR test at nine o'clock in the morning and we still couldn't bring things up until three in the afternoon. People couldn't wait that long. They hated those DR tests. Now, when we run DR tests at nine o'clock, everybody is back by 10 o'clock. We're really happy with this kind of scenario.

    When we talk to other vendors I say to them, "Okay, you want me to try your solution. Can you promise me, when it comes to DR tests or real DR, that in 15 minutes I can start to use my DR system?" They ask me, "Who gives you this ability to run in 15 minutes?" I tell them, "Zerto. I've done DR tests with Zerto for many years, and within 15 minutes we are up and running." They are surprised.

    What other advice do I have?

    The main thing to figure out before going with Zerto is, from a business point of view, what your company needs. What level of protection do you need? What regulations do you have to conform to? Can you survive with a seven-second difference in the data? Is 15 minutes enough or not?

    Also, you need to take into consideration, from the licensing perspective, not only the Zerto licenses, but that you need to have a license for ESX, vCenter, hosts, and hardware. You need to count everything before you decide to go with Zerto. In our case, we're doing private cloud, and we needed to build that private cloud first. You have to decide if that is workable for you or you're okay using Azure or some other public cloud provider. Once you work through all that, Zerto will definitely be very good for you.

    One issue we decided on, from a business perspective, was to divide our users into two groups: level one and level two. Level one users should be able to connect after 15 minutes and level-two users will be brought back after all level-one issues have been resolved, which should be within a couple of hours. When the business made that decision, we created the groups.

    We're also working with Zerto as a ransomware backup solution. Right now we are using seven-day journaling but we're putting it on external storage or cloud. We're thinking about a one-year solution where we can go back to any particular point in time, bring the server back, and get all the files. We upgraded our version so we can start to use external storage. Zerto is one of the greatest applications we have for security and vigilance.

    They did everything so well that I don't know how it can be improved. It's one of the best solutions among all the different components I have. I would rate most of the other solutions we're using between seven and nine out of 10. Only Zerto is a 10, along with my malware solution, Minerva Labs. Both companies are from Israel and I always grade both a 10 when I talk to others.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud
    Disclosure: IT Central Station 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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