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ZertoCON 2018: Fundamental Backup Change with IT Resilience Platform and Zerto 7


The third annual Zerto event known as ZertoCON took place last week in the company's US home town of Boston, MA.  With more than 700 registered for the event, it quickly became clear that the show's dominant theme of "Resilient and Ready" and the company's messaging around "IT Resilience" continues to gain momentum and captures interest with businesses and IT users around the globe as they expand their own digital transformation programs internally.

With digital transformation, businesses will come to rely on technology more heavily than ever before; and because of that, downtime will no longer be an option.  Gartner describes this as "IT Resilience Orchestration Automation (ITRO)", and defines it as:

IT Resilience Orchestration Automation (ITRO) solutions provide improved IT service availability, recovery and integrity through automation of application workload failover and failback. In addition, they also support improved data integrity and consistency between a primary production data center and a secondary recovery site. The recovery site may be an internal data center, a provider-managed data center or a virtual data center in a public cloud. ITRO technology has been fundamental to delivery of DRaaS, supporting physical and virtual server image replication, startup and shutdown within a provider-specific cloud. In addition, it also supports isolated recovery exercising that can be conducted in parallel with production operations, as well as selective failover of individual servers or groups of servers that support specific applications.

To kick the event into high gear and paint an appropriate forward looking picture, Nicholas Thompson, editor in chief at Wired Magazine, took ZertoCON audience members on a journey across humanity and technology -- exploring how technology is rapidly changing the world we live in -- and illustrated how innovation is driving our future lives, including how machine learning is helping social media platforms like Instagram automatically "protect" its users from content deemed "hurtful" or "harmful" (opening up further debate around First Amendment Rights).

By the end of the discussion, we are left with more questions around artificial intelligence, as we continue, as a people, to drive things forward until we reach a point where computers will ultimately become smarter than their creators.  The super computers we build tomorrow will themselves take over where we leave off to build even smarter computers -- taking the human element out of the picture.


But Wired Magazine's editor wasn't the only person looking ahead -- Zerto CEO and co-founder Ziv Kedem shared his own thoughts on the ever-changing IT landscape and his vision for the future of backup.  He talked about modern backup technologies, stating specifically that the technology as it exists today is incapable of meeting modern customer expectations or business requirements.

"Businesses expect no downtime, no data loss and no interruption," said Kedem.  He added, 'no backup technology based on periodic backups can achieve seconds of RPO at scale, instead backup needs to change by moving from periodic to continuous journal-based protection.'

And that's where Zerto comes into play.

During its annual event, Zerto executives hammered home the point that it plans to fundamentally change backup and data protection in order to meet the 'always on' demands of digital customers.

Let's face it, data protection criteria are changing.  The claim to fame is that where functionality used to be the dominant factor, now it is cost, ease of use and capability to support multiple data protection uses.

Ransomware and cyberthreats are also changing the landscape.  Presenters at ZertoCON noted that a ransomware attack is no longer an "if" scenario but a "when."  And traditional backup with recovery point objectives measured in hours will no longer suffice as businesses will want to recover things moments before the attack rather than recover things a day prior or even hours earlier.

By the numbers.

In 2017, unplanned outages such as those from natural disasters cost organizations $306 billion.  Ransomware and cyber threats added another $11.5 billion.  And a new joint IDC and Zerto study (The State of IT Resilience) coming out soon, reports that only slightly more than 7 percent of businesses feel like they have a truly resilient infrastructure.


Zerto's Vision

To respond to those challenges, Zerto said the foundation of their corporate vision is its IT Resilience Platform where the future of backup will be based on:

  • Best of breed Continuous Data Protection (CDP) technology, which is at the core of delivering IT resilience;
  • Continuous journal-based protection that will allow customers to deliver seconds of recovery point objectives (RPO) at scale for short and long-term data retention eliminating the need for legacy periodic based backups, ensuring no downtime, no data loss and no interruption;
  • New data protection workflows to automate recovery from any point in time across on-premises and cloud repositories.
Zerto 7
Building on its expertise with continuous data protection, the company said Zerto 7 will add new capabilities to its IT Resilience Platform to change the way that backup is done.  Specifically, the new key features to be included in Zerto 7 are:
  • A new ‘Elastic Journal' allowing for a continuous stream of recovery points with search and recovery across data, files or VMs from any point in time from 7 seconds to 7 years or more;
  • New data protection workflows to automate recovery from any point in time ensuring application consistency across repositories for short and long-term data retention;
  • Intelligent indexing and search across on-premises or cloud to enable recovery for short and long-term retention.

With presenting the company's vision, Kedem went on to explain how Zerto's new solution, Zerto 7 (which will be available in Q1, 2019) will be the first step in making that vision a reality.

Zerto announced that Zerto 7 would add data protection workflows to the company's IT Resilience Platform.  Instead of forcing IT teams to deal with cumbersome legacy point solutions, Zerto will converge backup, continuous data protection, disaster recovery, and cloud mobility solutions into a single, simple and scalable platform in order to be useful and meet customer expectations.

An IT resilience strategy combines continuous availability, workload mobility, and multi-cloud agility to ensure you can withstand any disruption, leverage new technology seamlessly, and move forward with confidence.  


The Zerto platform is based on a foundation of Continuous Data Protection, it's at the core of enabling resilience.  Orchestration and Automation is built in because you can't modernize and innovate if it's not automated and simple.  Analytics & Control provide complete visibility across multi-site, multi-cloud environments to ensure SLAs of the business are met.  


But the company isn't stopping there.  Additional capabilities already planned to be added include:

  • Prescriptive Analytic capabilities to analyze past performance to determine optimized business outcomes and answer the "what" is likely to happen with new "what if" capabilities
  • GUI and simplified workflows to further enhance and simplify the user experience
  • Incremental, synthetic and full copies to increase efficiency and reduce storage needs
  • And even further down the road, Zerto has designs to address physical applications, containers and cloud-based apps.

According to Zerto, the market is ready to change, in a big way.  They pointed to disruptions already coming from new market entrants such as Cohesity and Rubrik.  And added legacy backup vendors are struggling to take on cloud-based backup solutions.

Company officials strongly believe they have something special with its new platform.

"Periodic backups are a thing of the past, you can't achieve seconds of RPO at scale," said Rob Strechay, Zerto's senior vice president of product.  "Continuous, journal-based protection is the future."

Published Tuesday, May 29, 2018 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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