As a director working in the field of disaster recovery, I often get asked which backup and replication software is better: Zerto or Veeam.
The short answer is that I highly recommend both. Each has their own unique qualities. Both are consumer friendly, and most people would have to agree that they are competitive in the market. When considering which is best for your business, it’s important to take a hard look at what your needs are to decide the best fit. Below is a quick review of each technology and a comparison of their features.
Round 1 – Veeam
Veeam was created in 2006 with a strong focus on virtual machine data backup and replication. Veeam changed the backup and recovery market with their virtual machine first approach. While many legacy backup products were trying to retrofit their existing technology to support VMs, Veeam focused solely on them until 2016, when they released an agent to protect physical systems to augment their software.
Veeam uses VM snapshot technology in combination with changed block tracking (CBT) to create a replica of a virtual machine. While the snapshot is being taken, a redo file is created, and all changes made during the replication process are written into this file. Once the replication job is finished, the redo file is merged with the snapshot into a live disk file. The next time the replication job is started, only changes made since the last job will be copied to the replica virtual machine.
Veeam also utilizes backup protection that is optimized to allow for long term data retention, and one of Veeam’s key features is that it performs both backups and replications.
Round 2 – Zerto
In 2009, Zerto was founded and built to provide high availability protection to virtual machines. Zerto’s focus is on instant data recovery, and that has helped them become an industry leader in the field of disaster recovery. Another feature that sets Zerto apart from legacy backup products is simplified user interaction. Zerto, like Veeam, integrates painlessly into both Hyper-V and VMware environments.
Zerto doesn’t use snapshot technology like Veeam. Instead, Zerto deploys small virtual machines on its physical hosts. These Zerto VMs capture the data as it is written to the host and then send a copy of that data to the replication site. This process results in near-synchronous replication, since the data is sent to the DR site at the same time it is written to the production disk array. This replication process is continuous, so the delay between writing data to the host machine and sending it offsite is minimal.
Round 3 – The difference
The main difference between Zerto and Veeam is their recovery point objectives (RPOs). Zerto has a tighter RPO than Veeam due to the method it uses to capture data. However, Veeam has the advantage of being able to more efficiently capture and store data for long-term retention needs. There is also a significant pricing difference, with Veeam being cheaper than Zerto. Both solutions provide best-in-class solutions designed for the recovery of virtual infrastructures in the event of a disaster.
I have worked with many customers who utilize both products in order to meet their high availability needs while also achieving reliable long-term data retention. The recovery time objectives (RTOs) for both solutions are similar; when a VM is replicated it only takes minutes to boot the VM in either case. However, the RPO is a big difference, as Zerto provides in seconds what Veeam often needs a minimum of 15 minutes to accomplish (depending on data links and change rates). Most companies running Veeam replicate their data once a day, while Zerto users continuously replicate theirs.
Both solutions are leaders in the disaster recovery market today, but which one is right for your business depends on your unique requirements. If you already invested in Veeam for backup and your company has low RPO requirements, then Veeam is a nearly free option to use for replication. If you are looking for the fastest RPO on the market for your Virtual Systems, then Zerto is probably the product for you.
To conclude my analysis, there is no right or wrong solution. Both solutions are winners, and what is right for your business truly depends on your RTO/RPO requirements. For some users, the best choice is to use BOTH for added reliability.
I know it sounds cheesy, but no one likes to pay for insurance, myself included. A long time ago I was friends with a family that had 3 small children and was witness to their devastation when their house caught on fire due to a faulty outlet in the garage. My best friend was the sister of the gentleman that lost the majority of his important property. She also lived in the same neighborhood as him, so I passed by the house frequently. Human nature is to stop for a minute and think about what someone is going through when something terrible happens to them, but most of us go right back to our lives afterwards. In this situation, I was not able to block it and move on. You literally couldn’t ride through the neighborhood without smelling it, pull in to my friend’s driveway without seeing it, or think about them without remembering the kids’ toys melted together in the yard and driveway. On a positive note, he and his family, although they too loathed their monthly insurance cost, were relieved and secure knowing that this was only a short set back since their insurance would take care of their important property in a committed amount of time.
With Winter Storm Jonas coming out of nowhere, my first concern (after my personal family, of course) was to ensure that my customers were confident that, should they experience any type of outage that would impact their important property, we would be there to make sure that it was only a setback (if a problem at all) by honoring the delivery for their DR “insurance,” a feature that some wish they didn’t have to pay for.
Knowing on Thursday evening that the storm was brewing and headed our way, we made sure to let our customers know that they could count on us and remind them of the process since panic typically sets in during emergency situations. Those that have tested on an annual or even bi-annual schedule were able to respond back right away and thank us for being proactive and caring about their business; no worries on their part when it comes to their professional property. Not only have they paid for their “insurance,” they have tested it once or twice a year to be sure when they go to sleep at night that, if something should happen, they have taken the right steps to ensure that their family can remain their one and only concern.
According to most experts, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being created each day, and 90% of the data that exists in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. By the year 2020, it is estimated that 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.