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Zerto unveils Kubernetes support at ZertoCon 2020

Zerto talked about its future releases during its ZertoCon 2020 virtual event. Next year, Zerto plans to release Kubernetes support and workflows for operational backup.

(This story was updated Nov. 19 to reflect Zerto for Kubernetes entering beta). 

Zerto is diving into containers protection with the official reveal of its Zerto for Kubernetes product.

Unveiled during the virtual ZertoCon 2020 keynote, the Zerto for Kubernetes beta program began in November, with a full launch planned for 2021. It will bring Zerto's IT Resilience Platform capabilities, which include continuous data protection (CDP) and point-in-time restores, to containers for the first time. Upon launch, Zerto will natively support Kubernetes, along with 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.

Zerto for Kubernetes will deploy at the cluster level, with every node on the cluster getting the Zerto daemon code. This allows Zerto to capture the state of the cluster using the same replication engine as it does for VMware. Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, director of technical marketing at Zerto, said this amounts to about a 3% to 4% resource overhead, which he said usually isn't enough to impact performance.

Other data protection vendors have already addressed container backup. Veritas released Docker container backup for its NetBackup software in January 2019, and IBM Spectrum Protect added container support in October 2019. Trilio's TrilioVault for Kubernetes provides container backup without installing agents in containers and entered beta last month. Backup vendors Asigra and Storware also provide agentless container backup.

Zerto for Kubernetes is still in early stage of development. According to van Doorn, Zerto still hasn't determined how the product will be licensed and sold, but there are plans to integrate it into the Zerto IT Resilience Platform and include capabilities such as analytics, automated workflows during failovers and nondisruptive disaster recovery (DR) testing.

International Financial Data Services (IFDS), a Canadian company that provides outsourcing of technology for financial institutions in Canada, Europe and Asia, is an early adopter of Zerto for Kubernetes. The company has a large containerized environment for QA testing and a small footprint of containers in production. Kent Pollard, senior infrastructure architect at IFDS, has been testing Zerto for Kubernetes and providing feedback. "From the limited testing I've been able to do, it's been very exciting. It has a lot of potential," said Pollard, who said he'll be more confident in putting critical data and applications in containers when the full release becomes available.

Zerto will also roll out CDP for operational backup and long-term retention in 2021. Van Doorn said Zerto is building out workflows to use Zerto's CDP capabilities for data protection use cases outside of DR and failover, which has been Zerto's primary focus. He said Zerto plans to add the ability to restore directly to production environments, native cloud repositories in AWS and Azure, plus automatic data protection and data reduction.

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the container backup market is heating up. Container adoption has grown among enterprises because their application development tends to be more mature, and this has fed a demand for container backup. Container backup also can't be achieved through traditional snapshotting or other previous backup methods, so it provides room for vendors to enter the market.

"Right now, it's still early stages, but I expect more intensity around this topic in the next few months," Bertrand said.

Bertrand said backup vendors are keenly aware of how Veeam's focus around VMware when virtualization was still relatively new led to its explosive growth and market presence. Veeam launched in 2006 and was acquired by private equity firm Insight Partners with a $5 billion valuation in January 2020. Similar success could be found by supporting Kubernetes as container adoption continues to grow.

Van Doorn said he has observed a rise of container adoption in enterprises, and it makes sense to build out Zerto to support wherever the customers are.

"It's the next logical step," Van Doorn said of container support.

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