At the Core
20 September 18

Complete Guide to Zerto Virtual Replication for Stress Free Disaster Recovery

About Zerto Virtual Replication

CoreDR with Zerto Virtual Replication defies the physical assets that limited older disaster recovery (DR) technologies through its hypervisor-based replication solution. The Zerto Virtual Replication Appliances (Z-VRAs) copy data as it is created and before it leaves the hypervisor, creating continuous replication and allowing for recovery time objectives (RTOs) of minutes and recovery point objectives (RPOs) of seconds.

CoreDR with Zerto Virtual Replication Set-Up

When you buy CoreDR, Virtacore’s Zerto Virtual Replication offering, three things happen:

  1. First, one of Virtacore’s engineers will set up a call with you to deploy your new Zerto Virtual Data Replication infrastructure in your environment.
  2. Then, Virtacore engineers will configure your Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs), which facilitate how your systems failover to Virtacore in the event of a disaster. We’ll review the set-up process in this section.
  3. Third, you will receive a login to your new Zerto Virtual Manager (ZVM).

Configuring Your Zerto Virtual Manager

The first step in setting up the Zerto virtual data replication infrastructure is to configure the ZVM. The ZVM manages disaster recovery, business continuity and offsite backup functionality at the site level.

You will need to have a VMware vCenter for this step. If you don’t have one, you can purchase a vCenter from Virtacore by becoming a Reserve Customer. Your engineer will be happy to get that process started if needed.

The ZVM should be installed in a Windows VM with 2vCPU, 4GB of RAM, a static IP and around 100GB of disk space.

Setting Up Your Virtual Replication Appliances

Once your ZVM is configured, your engineer will walk you through setting up your Z-VRAs. The Z-VRAs replicate the VMs and associated virtual disks; one VRA is installed per ESXi/Hyper-V host.

Configuring Your Virtual Protection Groups

Virtacore then works with you to configure your VPG, which facilitate how your systems failover to Virtacore in the event of a disaster.

  1. First, you’ll choose which VMs you want to protect with Zerto and then our engineer will help group them by application/service dependencies.
  2. Second, we will assist you with deciding in what order the VMs should be restored and brought online.
  3. Third, we’ll help determine what SLAs you want for each system in terms of RPO and RTO, which can be set granularly per each VPG in order to obtain different SLAs per different criticality of systems.
  4. Lastly, we’ll configure the networking at your environment and Virtacore’s environment to allow for replication and seamless re-IP’ing after live failover.

Testing Your Zerto Virtual Replication Recovery Process

Practice makes perfect, so once you install Zerto Virtual Replication it’s imperative to set up a plan for regular testing, at least on an annual basis. Regular testing ensures that the production systems at your source site are still online and unaffected.

Zerto’s Failover Test Operation

Using Zerto’s Failover Test Operation, you can create test virtual machines in a sandbox to ensure that they are correctly replicated at the recovery site. The testing is non-disruptive so you can do it any time without worry of your environment remaining protected. The test produces reports that can be used in compliance.

To run the test, login to Virtacore’s Zerto Self-Service Portal:

  1. Choose Failover Test.
  2. Choose a checkpoint to which you’ll restore your application. This can be existing or you can create a new one before starting the test.
  3. Within the remote site, go to the VPG settings to find the network specified for testing and configured to the checkpoint specified for recovery.
  4. Create test virtual machines.
  5. Power on the virtual machines by making them available to the user. This can be accomplished by using the boot order defined in the VPG.

To stop the test:

  1. Power off the virtual machines.
  2. Remove them from the inventory.
  3. Add the following tag to the checkpoint specified for the test: Tested at startDateAndTimeOfTest(OriginalCheckpoint_DateAndTime).

Virtacore’s Annual Assisted Live Disaster Recovery Exercise

To ensure all of our customers are testing their Zerto Virtual Replication, Virtacore offers an annual assisted live disaster recovery exercise, during which your actual production systems go offline and are brought online at Virtacore. We work with you to ensure your Zerto VPG configuration is optimal to ensure the live failover is successful and meets your RPO/RTO and SLAs.

You will be contacted to set up a time when the assisted live recovery will occur. The live recovery will then occur every year on the same date.

What Happens in the Event of a Live Disaster

Zerto Virtual Replication is fully automated and orchestrated so that getting your data back online in a high pressure situation is as easy as only a few clicks.

Self-Service Portal

When you experience a disaster event, you can log into Virtacore’s Zerto Self-Service Portal (ZSSP) to initiate a live failover of your systems to your disaster recovery site at Virtacore. Zerto’s built-in automation and orchestration allows these systems to be brought online with RPOs/RTOs of minutes and seconds.

In the event of a disaster you click the red failover button in the lower right hand corner. Once clicked, a pop-up will appear allowing you to select the applications (aka VPGs) that need recovery from a list.

A pop-up with appear asking you to verify the point in time to which the application need to be restored. The point you choose will need to be before any corruption occurred. Once you make a selection, a button will appear confirming that you want to start the failover. Upon clicking, the failover process begins and VMs will be booted and reconfigured where needed.

If you decide after beginning the failover process that you’ve made a mistake or need to change something, you also have the opportunity to failback. Reverse protection begins synching the additional work that was done at the recovery site to the production site, when the production site is ready for use. After the applications have been updated to the original production site, failback is again just a few clicks away.

Does this seem too easy? That’s because Zerto subscribes to the philosophy that people make mistakes in high pressure situations. As a result they keep their disaster recovery to only a few clicks to virtually eliminate mistakes.

Hands on Assistance

If you’re unsure of to what point in time to go back or which applications are corrupted, Virtacore’s hands on assistance has you covered. Call Virtacore any time night or day, 365 days a year and Virtacore engineers will help assist you in the failover process. You’ll be given our Emergency Phone number upon purchasing Zerto Virtual Replication.

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