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Zerto launches DR orchestration tool for AWS EC2

The new Zerto In-Cloud is standalone DR automation and orchestration software that uses EBS snapshots and AWS APIs instead of Zerto's continuous data protection technology.

Zerto officially launched its disaster recovery software for protecting AWS EC2 instances this week at AWS re:Invent 2021.

Zerto In-Cloud is a disaster recovery (DR) orchestration and automation tool for AWS EC2. It provides application-level failover, automated failover testing and cross-region failover. The software is also secured through role-based access control and multi-factor authentication and has built-in analytics so customers can track their storage consumption, recovery time objectives and other metrics.

Zerto In-Cloud doesn't use the continuous data protection technology found in Zerto's on-premises DR products, and instead uses AWS's native functions. The software takes Elastic Block Store (EBS) snapshots and uses them as restore points. During a failover, it automatically creates an EC2 instance, provided the customer has set up permissions and policies beforehand.

Customers running business-critical applications in the cloud need ways to protect them against disruptions such as regional outages and cyberattacks, said Gene Torres, technology evangelist at Zerto. Customers who have migrated these apps from on-premises to AWS have been struggling with the complexity of manually scripting DR using the platform's native tools. They're finding that DR in the cloud isn't as simple, scalable, automated or fast as DR for on-premises, he added.

The cloud is new technology for a lot of people, and they're still learning it.
Gene TorresTechnology evangelist, Zerto

"The cloud is new technology for a lot of people, and they're still learning it," Torres said.

Zerto In-Cloud addresses complexity with an HTML5 GUI to help customers control and manage DR operations, Torres said. Everything in the GUI can also be controlled via API and command-line interface, giving customers a way to integrate Zerto In-Cloud's functions with other applications.

Zerto In-Cloud is a standalone product for AWS-to-AWS failover and doesn't require any other Zerto product for it to run. It currently supports 17 global AWS regions, excluding China and AWS GovCloud.

Leaving the data center world

Zerto's core continuous data protection technology has done well for providing near-zero recovery point objective DR for on-premises workloads, but a lot of customer workloads have moved away from the data center, said Christophe Bertrand, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget. Those workloads still need protection, so it makes sense for Zerto to follow customers to the cloud, even if it means releasing a product that doesn't use its patented on-premises data protection technology.

"This is a very natural movement," Bertrand said. "They're essentially meeting market requirements."

For a new product, Zerto In-Cloud is a "solid first release," according to Bertrand. It addresses key customer demands with DR in AWS, such as nondisruptive automated failover testing and granular, application-level recovery.

Like any application that relies on cloud storage, the total cost of using Zerto In-Cloud isn't just the cost of a license, and the vendor should make this more transparent to customers, Bertrand said. EBS snapshots are stored in AWS S3, so the cost of storing snapshots will depend on how often they are taken and how many instances are being protected. The product needs a cost calculator, Bertrand said, which Zerto said is being worked on.

Zerto In-Cloud most directly competes with AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery, which uses CloudEndure technology that AWS acquired in January 2019. Elastic Disaster Recovery requires appliances and agents to perform its replication functions and has limited options for cross-region failover, Torres said. It's also simply not as features-rich as Zerto In-Cloud, according to Bertrand.

"AWS provides just a basic service. Zerto has something that feels complete," Bertrand said.

Johnny Yu covers enterprise data protection news for TechTarget's Storage sites SearchDataBackup and SearchDisasterRecovery. Before joining TechTarget in June 2018, he wrote for USA Today's consumer product review site

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