- Enrico recently attended Cloud Field Day 9, and had some thoughts on NetApp’s identity in the new cloud world. You can read his insights here.
- This article from Chris Wahl on multi-cloud design patterns was fantastic, and well worth reading.
- I really enjoyed this piece from Russ on technical debt, and some considerations when thinking about how we can “future-proof” our solutions.
- The Raspberry Pi 400 was announced recently. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC 464, so I have a real soft spot for jamming computers inside keyboards.
- I enjoyed this piece from Chris M. Evans on hybrid storage, and what it really means nowadays.
- Working from home a bit this year? Me too. Tom wrote a great article on some of the security challenges associated with the new normal.
- Everyone has a quadrant nowadays, and Zerto has found itself in another one recently. You can read more about that here.
- Working with VMware Cloud Director and wanting to build a custom theme? Check out this article.
Zerto recently announced 8.5 of its product, along with a new offering, Zerto Data Protection (ZDP). I had the good fortune to catch up with Caroline Seymour (VP, Product Marketing) about the news and thought I’d share some thoughts here.
ZDP, Yeah You Know Me
Global Pandemic for $200 Please, Alex
In “these uncertain times”, organisations are facing new challenges
- No downtime, no data loss, 24/7 availability
- Influx of remote work
- Data growth and sprawl
- Security threats
- Acceleration of cloud
Many of these things were already a problem, and the global pandemic has done a great job highlighting them.
Zerto paints a bleak picture of the “legacy architecture” adopted by many of the traditional dat protection solutions, positing that many IT shops need to use a variety of tools to get to a point where operations staff can sleep better at night. Disaster recovery, for example, is frequently handled via replication for mission-critical applications, with backup being performed via periodic snapshots for all other applications. ZDP aims to being all this together under one banner of continuous data protection, delivering:
- Local continuous backup and long-term retention (LTR) to public cloud; and
- Pricing optimised for backup.
[image courtesy of Zerto]
[image courtesy of Zerto]
So what do you get with ZDP? Some neat features, including:
- Continuous backup with journal
- Instant restore from local journal
- Application consistent recovery
- Short-term SLA policy settings
- Intelligent index and search
- LTR to disk, object or Cloud (Azure, AWS)
- LTR policies, daily incremental with weekly, monthly or yearly fulls
- Data protection workflows
It wouldn’t be a new software product without some mention of new licensing. If you want to use ZDP, you get:
- Backup for short-term retention and LTR;
- On-premises or backup to cloud;
- Analytics; and
- Orchestration and automation for backup functions.
If you’re sticking with (the existing) Zerto Cloud Edition, you get:
- Everything in ZDP;
- Disaster Recovery for on-premises and cloud;
- Multi-cloud support; and
- Orchestration and automation.
A big focus of Zerto’s recently has been VMware on public cloud support, including the various flavours of VMware on Azure, AWS, and Oracle Cloud. There are a bunch of reasons why this approach has proven popular with existing VMware customers looking to migrate from on-premises to public cloud, including:
- Native VMware support – run existing VMware workloads natively on IaaS;
- Policies and configuration don’t need to change;
- Minimal changes – no need to refactor applications; and
- IaaS benefits- reliability, scale, and operational model.
[image courtesy of Zerto]
New in 8.5
With 8.5, you can now backup directly to Microsoft Azure and AWS. You also get instant file and folder restores to production. There’s now support for VMware on public cloud disaster recovery and data protection for Microsoft Azure VMware Solution, Google Cloud VMware Engine, and the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. You also get platform automation and lifecycle management features, including:
- Auto-evacuate for recovery hosts;
- Auto-populate for recovery hosts; and
- Encryption capabilities.
And finally, a Zerto PowerShell Cmdlets Module has also been released.
Thoughts and Further Reading
The writing’s been on the wall for some time that Zerto might need to expand its solution offering to incorporate backup and recovery. Continuous data protection is a great feature and my experience with Zerto has been that it does what it says on the tin. The market, however, is looking for ways to consolidate solution offerings in order to save a few more dollarydoos and keep the finance department happy. I haven’t seen the street pricing for ZDP, but Seymour seemed confident that it stacks up well against the more traditional data protection options on the market, particularly when compared against offerings that incorporate components that deal with CDP and periodic data protection with different tools. There’s a new TCO calculator on the Zerto website, and there’s also the opportunity to talk to a Zerto account representative about your particular needs.
I’ve always treated regular backup and recovery and disaster recovery as very different things, mainly because they are. Companies frequently make the mistake of trying to cobble together some kind of DR solution using traditional backup and recovery tools. I’m interested to see how Zerto goes with this approach. It’s not the first company to converge elements that fit in the data protection space together, and it will be interesting to see how much of the initial uptake of ZDP is with existing customers or net new logos. The broadening of support for the VMware on X public cloud workloads is good news for enterprises too (putting aside my thoughts on whether or not that’s a great long term strategy for said enterprises). There’s some interesting stuff happening, and I’m looking forward to see how the story unfolds over the next 6 – 12 months.
Welcome to Random Short Take #43. A few players have worn 43 in the NBA, including Frank Brickowski, but my favourite from this list is Red Kerr (more for his commentary chops than his game, I think). Let’s get random.
- Mike Wilson has published Part 2 of his VMware VCP 2020 Study Guide and it’s a ripper. Check it out here. I try to duck and weave when it comes to certification exams nowadays, but these kind of resources are invaluable.
- It’s been a while since I had stick time with Data Domain OS, but Preston’s article on password hardening was very useful.
- Mr Foskett bought a cloud, of sorts. Read more about that here. Anyone who knows Stephen knows that he’s all about what’s talking about what’s happening in the industry, but I do enjoy reading about these home projects as well.
- Speaking of clouds, Rancher was named “A Leader” in multi-cloud container development platforms by an independent research firm. You can read the press release here.
- Datadobi had a good story to share about what it did with UMass Memorial Health Care. You can read the story here.
- Steve O has done way too much work understanding how to change the default theme in Veeam Enterprise Manager 10 and documenting the process so you don’t need to work it out. Read about the process here.
- Speaking of data protection, Zerto has noticed Azure adoption increasing at quite a pace, amongst other things.
- This was a great article on open source storage from Chin-Fah.
- There have been a lot of articles written by folks about various home office setups since COVID-19 became a thing, but this one by Jason Benedicic deserves a special mention. I bought a new desk and decluttered a fair bit of my setup, but it wasn’t on this level.
- Speaking of COVID-19, there’s a hunger for new TV content as people across the world find themselves confined to their homes. The Ringer published an interesting article on the challenges of diving in to the archives to dig up and broadcast some television gold.
- Backblaze made the news a while ago when they announced S3 compatibility, and this blog post covers how you can move from AWS S3 to Backblaze. And check out the offer to cover your data transfer costs too.
- Zerto has had a bigger cloud presence with 7.5 and 8.0, and Oracle Public Cloud is now a partner too.
- Speaking of cloud, Leaseweb Global recently announced the launch of its Leaseweb Cloud Connect product offering. You can read the press release here.
- One of my favourite bands is The Mark Of Cain. It’s the 25th anniversary of the Ill At Ease album (the ultimate gym or breakup album – you choose), and the band has started publishing articles detailing the background info on the recording process. It’s fascinating stuff, and you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
- The nice folks over at Scale Computing have been doing some stuff with various healthcare organisations lately. You can read more about that here. I’m hoping to check in with Scale Computing in the near future when I’ve got a moment. I’m looking forward to hearing about what else they’ve been up to.
- Ray recently attended Cloud Field Day 8, and the presentation from Igneous prompted this article.
The February edition of the Brisbane VMUG meeting (and first for 2020) will be held on Tuesday 18th February at Fishburners (Level 2, 155 Queen Street) from 4 – 6pm. It’s sponsored by Zerto and promises to be a great afternoon.
Here’s the agenda:
- VMUG Intro
- VMware Presentation
- Zerto Presentation: Leveraging Azure Cloud and VMware with no disruption and fully orchestrated fail-over capabilities with Zerto’s Continuous Data Replication. Also learn about what’s new for Azure here in Australia with the imminent release of incremental snapshots of Azure’s managed disks and what this means for Zerto users.
- Refreshments and drinks post-event.
Zerto has gone to great lengths to make sure this will be a fun and informative session and I’m really looking forward to hearing about what’s happening with Continuous Data Replication. You can find out more information and register for the event here. I hope to see you there. Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring one of these events, please get in touch with me and I can help make it happen.
Here’s a semi-regular listicle of random news items that might be of some interest.
- This is a great article covering QoS enhancements in Purity 5.3. Speaking of Pure Storage I’m looking forward to attending Pure//Accelerate in Austin in the next few weeks. I’ll be participating in a Storage Field Day Exclusive event as well – you can find more details on that here.
- My friends at Scale Computing have entered into an OEM agreement with Acronis to add more data protection and DR capabilities to the HC3 platform. You can read more about that here.
- Commvault just acquired Hedvig for a pretty penny. It will be interesting to see how they bring them into the fold. This article from Max made for interesting reading.
- DH2i are presenting a webinar on September 10th at 11am Pacific, “On the Road Again – How to Secure Your Network for Remote User Access”. I’ve spoken to the people at DH2i in the past and they’re doing some really interesting stuff. If your timezone lines up with this, check it out.
- This was some typically insightful coverage of VMworld US from Justin Warren over at Forbes.
- I caught up with Zerto while I was at VMworld US last week, and they talked to me about their VAIO announcement. Justin Paul did a good job of summarising it here.
- Speaking of VMworld, William has posted links to the session videos – check it out here.
- Project Pacific was big news at VMworld, and I really enjoyed this article from Joep.
Zerto recently held their annual user conference (ZertoCON) in Nashville, TN. I had the opportunity to talk to Rob Strechay about some of the key announcements coming out of the event and thought I’d cover them here.
You can now acquire Zerto either as a perpetual license or via a subscription. There’s previously been some concept of subscription pricing with Zerto, with customers having rented via managed service providers, but this is the first time it’s being offered directly to customers. Strechay noted that Zerto is “[n]ot trying to move to a subscription-only model”, but they are keen to give customers further flexibility in how they consume the product. Note that the subscription pricing also includes maintenance and support.
7.5 Is Just Around The Corner
If it feels like 7.0 was only just delivered, that’s because it was (in April). But 7.5 is already just around the corner. They’re looking to add a bunch of features, including:
- Deeper integration with StoreOnce from HPE using Catalyst-based API, leveraging source-side deduplication
- Qualification of Azure’s Data Box
- Cloud mobility – in 7.0 they started down the path with Azure. Zerto Cloud Appliances now autoscale within Azure.
There’s a lot more focus on Azure in 7.5, and Zerto are working on
- Managed failback / managed disks in Azure
- Integration with Azure Active Directory
- Adding encryption at rest in AWS, and doing some IAM integration
- Automated driver injection on the fly as you recover into AWS (with Red Hat)
Building on their previous analytics work, you’ll also be able to (shortly) download Zerto Virtual Manager. This talks to vCenter and can gather data and help customers plan their VMware to VMware (or to Azure / AWS) migrations.
Zerto has now completed the initial certification to use VMware’s vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering (VAIO) and they’ll be leveraging these in 7.5. Strechay said they’ll probably have both versions in the product for a little while.
Thoughts And Further Reading
I’d spoken with Strechay previously about Zerto’s plans to compete against the “traditional” data protection vendors, and asked him what the customer response has been to Zerto’s ambitions (and execution). He said that, as they’re already off-siting data (as part of the 3-2-1 data protection philosophy), how hard is it to take it to the next level? He said a number of customers were very motivated to use long term retention, and wanted to move on from their existing backup vendors. I’ve waxed lyrical in the past about what I thought some of the key differences were between periodic data protection, disaster recovery, and disaster avoidance were. That doesn’t mean that companies like Zerto aren’t doing a pretty decent job of blurring the lines between the types of solution they offer, particularly with the data mobility capabilities built in to their offerings. I think there’s a lot of scope with Zerto to move into spaces that they’ve previously only been peripherally involved in. It makes sense that they’d focus on data mobility and off-site data protection capabilities. There’s a good story developing with their cloud integration, and it seems like they’ll just continue to add features and capabilities to the product. I really like that they’re not afraid to make promises on upcoming releases and have (thus far) been able to deliver on them.
The news about VAIO certification is pretty big, and it might remove some of the pressure that potential customers have faced previously about adopting protection solutions that weren’t entirely blessed by VMware.
I’m looking forward to see what Zerto ends up delivering with 7.5, and I’m really enjoying the progress they’re making with both their on-premises and public cloud focused solutions. You can read Zerto’s press release here, and Andrea Mauro published a comprehensive overview here.
Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I recently found interesting. You might find them interesting too. Episode 15 – it could become a regular thing. Maybe every other week? Fortnightly even.
- The Data Vault Alliance has made an announcement about its existence, and in my opinion it’s worth looking at.
- This article on storage performance benchmarking with fio is pretty useful, particularly if you need to do performance benchmarking on storage systems.
- My friend Alastair attended ZertoCon recently, and wrote a thought-provoking article on the value of smaller conference events.
- Speaking of conferences, Richard Arnold provided some useful coverage of the keynote at VeeamON 2019.
- Preston co-wrote a book on protecting stuff in the cloud and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
- I found this article on dream jobs by Paul Cunningham to be right on the money.
- I’m keen to look into this encryption solution from Thales and Pure Storage.
- This article about Datrium ControlShift from Joep was a great read too.
- Speaking of modern data protection challenges – this article by Matt on Cohesity’s recently-introduced ability to protect Office 365 workloads was a ripper.
Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I found interesting. You might find it interesting too. Maybe.
- I’ve been a fan of Backblaze for some time now, and I find their blog posts useful. This one, entitled “A Workflow Playbook for Migrating Your Media Assets to a MAM“, was of particular interest to me.
- Speaking of Backblaze, this article on SSDs and reliability should prove useful, particularly if you’re new to the technology. And the salty comments from various readers are great too.
- Zerto just announced the myZerto Labs Program as a way for “IT professionals to test, understand and experiment with the IT Resilience Platform using virtual infrastructure”. You can sign up here.
- If you’re in the area, I’m speaking at the Sydney VMUG UserCon on Tuesday 19th March. I’ll be covering how to “Build Your Personal Brand by Starting and Maintaining a Blog”. It’s more about blogging than branding, but I’m hoping there’s enough to keep the punters engaged. Details here. If you can’t get along to the event, I’ll likely publish the deck on this site in the near future.
- The nice people at Axellio had some success at the US Air Force Pitch Day recently. You can read more about that here.
- UltraViolet is going away. This kind of thing is disheartening (and a big reason why I persist in buying physical copies of things still).
- I’m heading to Dell Technologies World this year. Michael was on the TV recently, talking about the journey and looking ahead. You can see more here.
Zerto recently announced version 6.5 of their Zero Virtual Replication (ZVR) product and I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Blow and Caroline Seymour about the announcement.
Zerto 6.5 includes features that will accelerate this adoption, specifically:
- Expanding the Cloud Control Panel;
- Enhancing recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives; and
- Supporting Microsoft Azure Premium SSD Managed Disk.
Zerto’s Long Term Retention feature has also been enhanced. You now have the ability to do incremental backups – effectively deliver forever incremental capability – with synthetic fulls as required. There’s also:
- Support for Microsoft Data Box Edge using standard storage protocols; and
- The ability to recover individual VMs out of Virtual Protection Groups.
Zerto have worked hard to improve their analytics capabilities, providing:
- Data for quarterly reports, including SLA compliance;
- Troubleshooting of monthly data anomalies;
- Enhanced data about VMs including journal size, throughput, IOPS and WAN; and
- Cloud Service Provider Client Organisational Filter with enhanced visibility to create customer reports and automatically deliver real-time analysis to clients.
Zerto have been busy at Microsoft’s Ignite event recently, and are also holding “IT Resilience Roadshow” events in the U.S. and Europe in the next few months in collaboration with Microsoft. There’s a Zerto+Azure workshop being held at each event, as well as the ability to sit for “Zerto+Azure Specialist” Certification. The workshop will give you the opportunity to use Zerto+Azure to:
- Create a Disaster Recovery environment in Azure;
- Migrate End of Life Windows Server 2008/SQL Server 2008 to Azure;
- Migrate your on-premises data centre to Azure; and
- Move or protect Linux and other workloads to Azure.
I’ve been a fan of Zerto for some time. They’ve historically done a lot with DR solutions and are now moving nicely beyond just DR into “IT Resilience”, with a solution that aims to incorporate a range of features. Zerto have also been pretty transparent with the market in terms of their vision for version 7. There’s an on-demand webinar you can register for that will provide some further insights into what that will bring. I’m a fan of their multi-cloud strategy, and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue to evolve.
I like it when companies aren’t afraid to show their hand a little. Too often companies focus on keeping these announcements a big secret until some special event or arbitrary date in a marketing team’s calendar. I know that Zerto haven’t quite finished version 7 yet, but they have been pretty upfront about the direction they’re trying to head in and some of the ways they’re intending to get there. In my opinion this is a good thing, as it gives their customer base time to prepare, and an idea of what capabilities they’ll be able to leverage in the future. Ultimately, Zerto are providing a solution that is geared up to help protect critical infrastructure assets and move data around to where you need it to be (whether it is planned or not). Zerto seem to understand that the element of surprise isn’t really what their customers are in to when looking at these types of solutions. It isn’t always about being the first company to offer this or that capability. Instead, it should be about offering capabilities that actually work reliably.