Zerto – Challenge Accepted!

master of disasterSome call it the dark side, others call it the best decision they ever made. For now I’ll just say “Hi, I’m Justin and I’m with Zerto.”

I was in the VAR community for over 6 years, I’ve designed or helped design countless infrastructures and spent more nights on installs and troubleshooting sessions than I would care to recount. In the grand scheme of things however, projects were starting to look more like cookie cutters than adventures, and with that in mind it was time for something a little different.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. -Helen Keller

This cloud thing seems like it might stick around for a while, and Zerto is perfectly positioned to be the glue between those clouds. It also seems like an awesome new adventure with a lot of new things to learn and work on. After all up until this point my experience with AWS has been a hobby, and my experience with HyperV has been limited. But with Zerto officially supporting both, and more importantly mixing and matching between them all, there is a lot of opportunity to meet and learn about people and technology outside of the VMware space. I’m also hoping that before long we will see support for KVM at Zerto (no roadmap knowledge of that yet, just know there is a lot of opportunity there).

Starting Monday August 17th, my role will be Solutions Engineer covering the greater Ohio Valley area. So basically I will be helping customers and partners determine if Zerto is the right fit for their environment. So if you have DR questions and have been considering Zerto, give me a shout and I will see what I can do to help you through the process.

As for blogging I plan to change very little. I still plan to post as frequently as I have something intelligent to say (haha), because of partner NDA’s I was not allowed to share anything unannounced that Zerto was doing before… and as an employee the same rules will apply. But other than that it’s business as usual.

Hopefully community involvement, at least in my territory, will also go up. I plan to attend more customer focused events like VMUG’s and do more lunch and learn type events to help educate people not only about Zerto but about virtualization in general.

As always stay tuned, and let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

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15 Responses to "Zerto – Challenge Accepted!"

  1. Hi Justin and congratulation for the new adventure! I’m your follower (from Italy) since last year and I love your post in your amazing blog! Anyway, i starting to investigate for a DR for our company, I’ve see nutanix, simplivity and other traditional approach, but I never seen Zerto, can you hep me? Ah..and may the force be with u 🙂

  2. Congrats on the new role Justin! I’ve been using Zerto recently to migrate workloads from vCenter to AWS – it’s been a pretty painless process. Looking forward to your blog posts about upcoming enhancements and feature extensions (I know it’s in the works!).

  3. great to hear about the VMware to AWS migration experience. Definetly keep me in the loop on pain points and what you would like to have improved. I personally havent gotten to mess with the AWS features yet.

  4. Congratulations Justin.

    I am wondering , what exactly would Zerto be applicable to ? Could students at a University be able to work with this ?

  5. Hey Justin, I am curious if anyone has been successful with implementing Zerto 4.0 with AWS. If so, were there any pitfalls along the way that needed to be ironed out?

  6. As I’m only in week two I do not know if there any pitfalls yet, but I was told that there are several customers using the “to AWS” feature already. As I get more involved I’m sure I will share whatever I can.

  7. Justin Simoni – I’ve run into a few issues and there are some things I’ve ran into along the way. Remember the support for AWS is 1.0 so it will only get better. For example, if used as a DR target, you can fail over to AWS but not fail back (using the software) today. Yes you can manually export an imported EC2 instance and throw it into vCenter.

    Having said that, this and other functionality (I’ve been told) are just months away. Zerto has an awesome reputation and I believe they’ll do a great job of it once ready. The product is so easy to install and use.

    I also have to say their technical support is the best I’ve ever dealt with (vs HP, Cisco, etc). I’ve almost always had a response within 10 minutes and someone ready with a WebEx link to jump in remotely and assist. Even involving a level 3 engineer once was done on the first call (I was in the middle of a migration during a production change window!).

  8. DP,

    Your comment echo’s exactly why I was and still am excited to join team Zerto!

    ANd as for AWS… I’m told the same thing as we are telling customer… failback from AWS should be in the next release… and there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down from there in terms of roadmap. It should be a pretty exciting trip to say the least!

  9. Justin,

    To follow on to Mr. Simoni’s question above I’d like to add that I’ve recently implemented the Zerto/AWS solution. It’s not working. At least, not as advertised. And honestly I’m a bit irritated with the level or lack of support that I’ve received from Zerto (to the point that I’m posting on your blog).

    I will spare you some of the gory details but the short of the problem is that I cannot failover more than 5 VM in a VPG. Previously I was told to request from AWS an increase of the EC2-import-instance/volume which, possibly coincidentally, has a default limit of 5 (I cannot verify this as it’s not apparent in AWS). I did request such and have been told that the change has been made. Same problem and crickets from both ends.

    I just want one clear answer. Is this limit actually a hard limit on the number of VMs that can be imported or a limit on concurrent imports (as I’ve come to believe)? If the latter I may be barking up the wrong tree with AWS.

    Maybe you can find out.

    Thanks

  10. Hi Eric,

    That would be an AWS limitation of the EC2 import API (pretty clear in the documentation). To be more exact, the ImportInstance function of the API. When importing a large number of VMs it sure is annoying and I can understand your frustration.

    The good news is that AWS released an enhancement to the API with a new ImportImage function which supports up to 20 concurrent imports. I asked Zerto presales about which one they use when v4.0 got released and it is in fact ImportInstance and “it may change in a future release”. Feature request 🙂

    Moral of the story: limit your VPGs to 5 VMs at this time (at least, that’s how I got around it).

    Here is the AWS blog post re the VM import API update, which also includes native multi-volume support – https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/vm-import-update-faster-and-more-flexible-with-multi-volume-support/

  11. Thank you both for your replies. As it turns out it was AWS, not Zerto, that was the nexus of my grief. I had requested an import limit increase to suit my VPG and was told that it was increased. After failures and continued confusion on my part as to why it was failing I finally asked AWS support again to TRIPLE check the setting and was told that they set it up for US-East and not US-West as I required and was told they had done. It’s fixed now and I’m failing over a larger VPG as I write this. I feel a bit like Joe Pesci at the drive-thru.

    I will say that Zerto could do a better job of explaining the import-instance phenomenon. I was certainly under the impression that the 5 import limit would cause failover to be slow (i.e. queued imports). This is NOT what happens. It just fails at anything over the limit.

    I’m submitting this before the vpg fails over completely… I hope I don’t eat my words 🙂

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