Zerto recently announced we have been recognised in the Gartner MQ for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions, however it’s only as a ‘Niche Player’ so why are we celebrating? 

Disclaimer alert! These are my own views on Zerto’s backup capabilities not Zerto’s! 

Zerto 7.0 – Converged Backup & Recovery

Zerto has been recognised as a leader for disaster recovery for many years now and when 7.0 was released in April 2019 we announced our Long-Term Retention (LTR) capabilities. Coincidently this is also when my journey with Zerto began so it’s been great witnessing the innovation over the past 2 years. LTR was available to customers using the Enterprise Cloud Edition (ECE) license for on-premises purpose built backup appliances and NFS/SMB shares with Search and Restore capabilities. The LTR capabilities were added to the already existing software only architecture Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM) and the Virtual Replication Appliance (VRA) still not using snapshots or agents. The product has grown organically not via an acquisition or bolting on another component to the existing architecture. 

The first release of LTR in 7.0 it was aimed at existing and new customers aiming to simplify operations converging disaster recovery and backup however recovery options were limited (very niche). In 7.0 Zerto already had differentiators in the product utilising our scale out architecture for backup operations building the backup capabilities into the VRA’s and using the continuous data protection replication copy on the recovery site for LTR. The LTR schedule is configurable using the grandfather methodology in the Virtual Protection Groups (VPG) allowing you to configure retention based on the application requirements not via a blanket policy. This means we could non-disruptively perform a scheduled a LTR operation using the replica copies and a point in time in the Journal tiering data to a cheaper tier of on-premises storage without traversing the LAN/WAN. 

Zerto 7.5 – Enhancing Hybrid Cloud and Cyber Resilience with CDP

Following the bi-annual release cadence, Zerto released 7.5 in September 2019 which added VM-based File Level Restore from the Journal (JFLR) giving users the capability to recover files and folders from seconds ago. Search and Restore capabilities were enhanced enabling users to download files and folders from the Zerto Journal. A joint engineering effort with HPE added StoreOnce Catalyst integration utilising the Catalyst API adding source-side deduplication and propriety authentication.  

Zerto 8.0 – IT Resilience Everywhere

8.0 was released in March 2020 and you could see LTR was a priority with 7 new features in the release. The main ones being Application-Aware Retention for application recoverability from LTR repositories and greater insights into LTR processes. Reporting now provided visibility of operations and component statuses with added capacity reporting. Another repository was supported and Zerto’s first foray for LTR to the public cloud with AWS Storage Gateway for LTR and archiving. Repository portability allowed resync and restore of valid restore points to a ZVM of the same version or higher (a very underrated feature). 

Zerto 8.5 – New World, New Backup

A lot of noise came with the 8.5 release in November 2020 a new era of backup was upon us Local Continuous Backup and LTR (it’s just backup with better RPO’s). A new backup only license was introduced Zerto Data Protection (ZDP) aimed at customers who didn’t need DR but wanted to converge DR and backup without paying for the premium licenses. This changed how Zerto approached LTR conversations with customers as the new licenses are competitive on price and the recovery operations were only getting better. The big hitters from the release included public cloud support writing LTR directly to AWS S3 and Azure Blob storage and doing it efficiently with the introduction of built-in compression. Instant Restore of Files and Folders to production was added which included granular auditing and permissions with a new RBAC user for restores.  

Customers are taking notice. Zerto backup has gone from “good enough” to “an improvement on our old tooling” providing greater restore granularity at a better price with less impact on the production environment. In my region I’ve seen amazing growth as customers are reaping the benefits of converged DR and LTR to the public cloud particularly Azure.  

Gartner’s MQ Evaluation

Gartner evaluated Zerto’s capabilities and place in the MQ based on our 8.5 capabilities and since then we have released Zerto for Kubernetes (Z4K) which brings all the value of Zerto’s core platform to Kubernetes orchestrated applications and SaaS Backup powered by KeepIT for M365, MS Dynamics, Salesforce and Google Workspace data protection. Zerto 9.0 was released this month (July 2021) and is packed full of LTR enhancements which I’ll cover in my next post. That’s my brief cut down version of Zerto’s evolution as a backup and recovery vendor so why are we excited at being a “Niche Player”. Since the inclusion in the MQ Zerto’s capabilities have only grown pushing us towards the ‘Visionaries’ and with the acquisition of HPE the ability to execute is only going to increase! I’m not sure where we will be next year but I’m excited to find out.