This content is part of the Conference Coverage: HPE Discover 2024 news and conference guide

Zerto to add protection, migration for KVMs

Open source Linux virtual machines are the next replication and migration target for HPE's Zerto backup and recovery tools, complementing new GreenLake capabilities.

LAS VEGAS -- HPE is expanding Zerto services to include backup and migration support of kernel-based virtual machines, an open source virtualization hypervisor, and cybervault capabilities on HPE storage hardware.

Zerto for KVM, which is expected to be available later this year, complements another virtualization offering for HPE Private Cloud, which is built on GreenLake, that the vendor unveiled this week at HPE Discover.

HPE executives said Zerto for KVM aims to expand the number of virtualization platforms available for customers and provide tools such as Zerto replication technology for potential migrations as uncertainty surrounding VMware under Broadcom clouds the market.

Migrations aren't likely to be handled by backup services alone, according to Krista Macomber, an analyst at Futurum Group. But customers are considering new providers, and anything to simplify that journey could be another selling point.

"They're not only trying to make sure they support a broad array of hypervisors, they're also helping customers on that journey whether they're migrating off VMware or testing something else," Macomber said.

Backup and run away

Zerto, acquired by HPE in 2021 for $374 million, offers backup and recovery capabilities as well as migration options for numerous virtualization providers and clouds, including Red Hat, IBM, AWS and VMware.

The Zerto software provides a snapshot journaling capability, enabling users to select from a range of snapshots that can be automatically earmarked to find ideal recovery points from incidents such as a cyberattack.

What was once a monopoly has slowly become a diaspora.
Chris SchinVice president of SaaS infrastructure services and cloud data services project manager, HPE

The snapshot journaling also enables customers to split and migrate backup data among different vendors and technologies, according to Chris Schin, vice president of SaaS infrastructure services and cloud data services project manager at HPE.

VMware's backup offerings -- a popular target for Zerto customers -- have recently been condensed into a single subscription service, Schin said. Vendors like HPE, Nutanix and more are expecting customers to reevaluate their VMware workloads against competitor hypervisors and associated backup services.

"The rest of the technology industry has grown to fill in around VMware with the assumption that VMware is always there," Schin said. "What was once a monopoly has slowly become a diaspora."

Zerto for KVM enables Zerto's recovery and automation features for KVM environments similar to other supported hypervisors.

Schin said support for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI virtualization is also a priority for the Zerto team in the months ahead.

Supporting a variety of environments is useful for customers to experiment and find alternative virtualization support, Macomber said, but VMware's significant industry footprint and tight integration within workloads will cause customers to stay.

"It's going to be difficult for a customer to migrate off VMware," she said. "We're not expecting a mass exodus, but customers are evaluating their options."

Customers looking for traditional backup and recovery services can now use HPE Alletra Storage MP, a software-defined block and file storage platform, for their Zerto Cyber Resilience Vault through a recent integration, Schin said. The Zerto Cyber Resilience Vault offers an air-gapping capability and now integrates with Virtual Lock technology within Alletra Storage MP to protect snapshots.

Zerto to streamline

Liberty Mutual, an insurance company based in Boston, used Zerto to help reduce its overall data center footprint and migrate a few hundred VMware virtual machines into other locales.

Christopher Lund, senior director of engineering for hybrid cloud technology at Liberty Mutual, said during a session at Discover that his team inherited a data center in Redmond, Wash., almost a decade prior and planned to close the location.

Liberty Mutual's Christopher Lund and HPE's Matt Boris speaking on stage at HPE Discover 2024.
Christopher Lund, senior director of engineering for hybrid cloud technology at Liberty Mutual (right), on stage with Matt Boris, vice president of go-to-market sales at HPE, at HPE Discover 2024.

The Liberty Mutual IT team needed to move about 600 VM workloads over a weekend from this data center to a primary East Coast data center. By using the Zerto platform for replication, all workloads were available by business hours Monday.

Lund said the team is considering using the Zerto technology to move more workloads, adding that finding a tool to handle Liberty Mutual's heterogeneous VM and container environments is difficult. 

"There has been more and more interest in how we are protecting these systems, and the backup recovery points are a key piece of that," Lund said. "We're not really at the point where there's a one-size-fits all [recovery technology] that works."

Tim McCarthy is a news writer for TechTarget Editorial covering cloud and data storage.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on June 21, 2024, to clarify the relationship between Liberty Mutual and Zerto.

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