Zerto looks to expand Continuous Data Protection beyond mission critical apps

Zerto is announcing enhancements to their platform to encourage its use in more mainstream data protection use cases. They also intend to support next-gen cloud-native applications, and accordingly have announced Zerto for Kubernetes.

Today, at their virtualized ZertoCON event, continuous data protection vendor Zerto made a pair of announcements intended to expand their IT Resilience Platform more broadly in the data protection space. On one level, this involves, architectural and workflow changes designed to encourage Zerto’s use beyond mission-critical disaster recovery [DR] use to broader data protection use cases, including next-generation cloud-native applications. To this end, Zerto also announced the forthcoming release of Zerto for Kubernetes.

“We want to show how with some of the additions we bring to the product, you can use CDP [Continuous Data Protection] instead of your current snapshot-based backup solutions,” emphasized Gil Levonai, Zerto’s senior vice president of product and CMO, in his product strategy and roadmap keynote. “This means CDP for all data tiers.”

“In the past, most customers have used us for their mission critical apps, perhaps  10-20% of the total,” said Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn,  Director of Technical Marketing at Zerto. “Typically our use cases have been DR and mobility, and most workflows have focused on that. We have been missing the day to day restore operations,”

Van Doorn said that the growing importance of RTOs across all application tiers led to Zerto’s decision to broaden out, expanding their platform to bring their CDP to all application tiers. Since Zerto’s converged vision of DR, backup and cloud mobility has only been available since the 7.0 release, CDP came into a market where basic data protection was already in place for the vast majority of customers. As a result, CDP has tended to be used in niche cases.

“What we have seen in the market is companies with traditional backup bring in CDP as an add-on for key applications,” he stated. “Instead of people wanting to protect only a few applications with CDP, we want to protect everything with CDP and we have an advantage over everyone else because we can already do that at scale.”

Van Doorn emphasized the importance of Zerto’s being able to mix and match architectures for maximum flexibility in determining the right protection for the right application.

“As a software-only solution, we can build mix and match the type of architectures,” he said. “It’s all based on CDP, and our scale-out software  architecture.”

Zerto will be extending its public cloud capabilities to amplify the use cases where they can be used there.

“We have always been able to back up to the public cloud, but now we are adding tiering to the cloud,” van Doorn said. “This will solidify our use cases there, especially around compliance.”

New workflows have also been added for new use cases.

“We have added workflows for those day to day restore operations where we have not typically been used,” van Doorn stated. “We have also further automated data protection to ensure every VM is backed up with policy-driven management. In addition, we added encryption and security, and automatic VRA lifecycle management for maintenance.”

The plan is to roll out these capabilities over the next several Zerto releases.

The other announcement is Zerto for Kubernetes, which the company is highlighting as exemplary of the next generation, cloud native applications it intends to fully support.

“This is part of our long-term commitment for all applications, including next generation and born in the cloud applications,” said Oded Kedem, Zerto’s Chief Architect and Co-Founder, during the product strategy and roadmap keynote. “Zerto’s vision is to provide resilience for all business applications.”

Zerto for Kubernetes will protect applications across Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), VMware Tanzu, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, and Red Hat OpenShift.

“We are very agnostic and want to support this full range, so given the amount of testing required, this is why this is just being announced now,” van Doorn said. “We are already in tech preview, and we have customers running it right now. It will be in beta by the end of the year with a full release by early next year.

“People who are used to Kubernetes will find this very easy because it’s built in to how they deploy their applications and integrate it into their CI/CD pipeline,” van Doorn indicated.

“Adding next-gen to the Zerto platform is a huge step for us,” Livonai added.

So what’s the next application to get this kind of support? Van Doorn was cautious on that one.

“The roadmap is not set in stone, although the next step could be going into PaaS or SaaS protection,” he said.

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