Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Israeli Start-Up Zerto Aims to Bring Disaster Recovery to the Cloud

Bad things happen in business, so you have to have a plan to keep things running. In enterprise IT circles this is called “disaster recovery” and “business continuity.” Fire, floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks: You name it, every type of unplanned disaster known to man has its business impact, and that puts businesses in the uncomfortable and often expensive position of having to plan for the worst kind of “what-if” scenarios.

For businesses that can afford it, the ideal thing to have is a redundant copy of the company’s IT infrastructure. When disaster strikes, the existing gear can fail over to the extra gear and keep things running. The problem is, this means bearing the cost of acquiring and maintaining roughly twice the infrastructure that you need on a day-to-day basis. The costs are numerous: Added staffing, rented space in a data center, energy, bandwidth, etc.

You’d think that by now someone would have figured out how to tackle this problem using cloud computing, and, as of today, you’d be right. An Israeli start-up called Zerto is coming out of stealth mode with exactly this kind of service in mind.

I talked with Ziv Kedem, Zerto’s CEO. He told me that disaster recovery is a problem that’s crying out for a cloud-based solution. “It’s something you only want when you really need it. When you build a disaster recovery system, you have to buy all the servers and storage and all the other things that go into it, and then you have to pay all the operational overhead. It quickly gets expensive and complex to manage.”

Zerto’s approach takes advantage of a key cloud technology — virtualization — running several virtual computers within the confines of one or more physical computers. It used to be that truly vital applications were too important to entrust to a virtual machine, Ziv told me. Now, everything is being virtualized, so, as part of the disaster-planning process, they need to be replicated. Zerto moves the business of replication to the hypervisor, the software used to manage virtual machines. This, he says, is a key capability missing for enterprises that want to rely more on the cloud.

The company is backed by more than $6 million in investments from Battery Ventures and Greylock Partners. Kedem and his brother Oded are the founders. They were behind a previous disaster recovery company called Kashya that was required by EMC for $150 million in 2006 and is now known by the EMC brand RecoverPoint.

Zerto plans to work with several cloud service providers and is currently in testing with three specific cloud companies, though it won’t say yet who they are. It will also work with private clouds. It is also on trial in five large companies — it wouldn’t name them yet, either. But my guess is we’ll be hearing more from Zerto later this year.

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