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Zerto and HPE Operations Orchestration (OO) Fully Automates Disaster Recovery Testing



The following is a guest blog post by Shannon Snowden, Senior Technical Architect at Zerto 

Here at Zerto, we’re happy to be an HPE Gold Partner. If you aren’t familiar with us, please allow us to introduce ourselves and tell you how we became the standard for disaster recovery for virtualized environments in a very short period of time.

Sometimes you need to step back and redefine the problem. That’s exactly what Zerto did back in 2009.

Disaster recovery has always been too hard and too complex with too many moving parts. That’s understandable with physical hardware, but why take the same approach with virtual machines? First you need storage replication, then some scripts or orchestration software to automate as much as you can, but it’s still too complex because of the dependency on physical hardware.

 So we started with a clean canvas and designed a replication and orchestration product that leverages all of the benefits of virtualization. The end result was Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) and it made its debut at VMworld in 2011 where it won its category and overall Best of VMworld.

What makes ZVR so different? ZVR is a software only solution that works at the hypervisor layer and has the unique combination of unparalleled replication speed, journaling for point in time recoveries and streamlined orchestration. That allows ZVR to be completely agnostic to the storage hardware below the hypervisor and there is no impact to the VM guest operating systems above the hypervisor because there are no in-guest agents. ZVR does not use snapshots, ever. ZVR is continuous data replication from the source site to the target site.  Continuous data replication provides very low recovery point objectives (RPOs). Zerto’s customers often see sub-15 second RPOs! At the target site is a point in time journal that lets you recover entire groups of servers or whole datacenters up to the previous 14 days using checkpoints in the journal that are just seconds apart.

Zerto designed ZVR to fully orchestrate failover testing, failovers or migrations. Using a clean, easy to navigate user interface, you can non-disruptively test your DR plan in the middle of the day with no impact to production. Zerto customers know exactly how long the RTO is going to be because they non-disruptively test their DR plans regularly.

We would love to take full credit for the idea, but we want to give credit where it is due.  Customers using both ZVR and HPE Operations Orchestration (OO) recognized an opportunity to create a substantial value by pairing ZVR with HPE OO and they asked to make it happen.  We listened, and we agree. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with ZVR and HPE OO together. So HPE and Zerto got together and we made it happen.

Fully automated DR testing

Non-disruptive testing of disaster recovery is a powerful feature, but when we added our first content package to HPE Operations Orchestration, we took it to another level. Using the Zerto HPE OO content package located here, you can fully automate DR testing.  

The automated test connects to the Zerto Virtual Manager via API and then proceeds to test each Virtual Protection Group (VPG) you tell it to test. The VPGs are the collections of virtual machines that need to be tested and failed over together. During the workflow, the latest checkpoint is used from the Zerto PiT journal and the virtual machines are brought online in a test network you specify in the ZVR VPG configuration. You can specify how long you want the test to run so your end users can log-in to the VMs and verify that everything is working, or we have a placeholder in HPE OO to add in scripts to check services, databases or applications automatically. Once that step is complete, the workflow proceeds to send an email that notifies the stakeholders about the failover test results and automatically cleans up the environment to pre-testing status.

The HPE OO and ZVR combination can totally transform the way an organization manages their disaster recovery testing and introduces a confidence level in their ability to recover from a disaster event that they wouldn’t have imagined possible before ZVR and HPE OO. As Zerto creates more content packages for HPE OO, operations such as virtual machine migrations and failovers can be fully orchestrated in an HPE OO master workflow that includes physical servers and network equipment as well. In the future, you will be able to fully orchestrate entire datacenter migrations, disaster recoveries or general data portability for physical servers, networking and virtual machines using the combination of HPE OO and ZVR.

We look forward to adding even more content packages this year. Our goal is to fully automate the entire disaster recovery process with HPE OO, so the fun is just getting started.

Do you want to know more about Zerto and HPE OO and get started automating your DR testing? Click the links below to learn more:

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