Review: Zetta.net DataProtect – Enterprise-Grade Cloud Backup & Disaster Recovery
Enterprises of all sizes need the best data protection that fits their budget. Unfortunately, too many get bogged down with the complexities of running their own data protection infrastructure, offsite data storage, and disaster recovery solutions. Increasingly, the smarter choice for enterprise data protection is to offload those complexities to providers that specialize in cloud backup and disaster recovery. Besides reduced complexity, most enterprises experience reduced costs and improved reliability once they entrust data protection to specialists.
Recently, Zetta released Zetta.net DataProtect 4.5, an updated version of Zetta.net DataProtect with numerous new features. We’ve reviewed this cloud-based solution that protects more than 5PB of data, for thousands of enterprises.
But, before we discuss the results of our review, let’s first discuss the steps enterprises should take when selecting any cloud-based backup solution.
Four Factors to Consider When Selecting a Cloud-Based Backup Solution
Some of you may be familiar with cloud backup solutions for consumer use, which has a similar basic concept to enterprise-grade cloud-based backup solutions: move data from your servers to the cloud. It is important to clarify that, while the basic concept is similar, the feature-set, performance, and scalability of consumer-grade solutions are vastly different from enterprise-grade cloud-based backup solutions.
The first factor to consider for enterprise-grade cloud-based data protection solutions is the infrastructure used to protect your company’s most critical data. You must ensure that your data is stored in a secure cloud that is always available and fully supported.
Specifically, some things to look for when selecting infrastructure are:
- Geographically diverse data centers.
- Data centers audited with SSAE-16 Type II(statement on auditing standards) standards.
- A high level of security with data encryption during transport and at rest.
- A tier 4 data center as defined by the TIA (telecommunications industry association) data center tiering standards, including multiple power sources, redundant cooling, and complete fault tolerance.
- 24×7×365 US-based monitoring, response, and support.
The second factor to evaluate is the transport design used to move your critical data from your private data center to the cloud provider.
That transport must be high-speed, reliable, and secure. For example, that transport should provide features such as:
- Data encryption for security during transfer.
- An option to choose either a private network or an Internet-based transfer.
- The option to have data compressed and deduplicated during transfer to reduce network utilization.
- An option for multiple concurrent transfer streams to maximize performance.
3. Local Backup
The third factor to consider when evaluating cloud-based backup providers is how their local backup option is designed. With most cloud-based backup providers, their local backup design is limited to a client that is installed on each host or a virtual appliance, which collects data to be sent to the backup provider. However, if a large amount of data must be recovered, that recovery can take far too long, no matter the size of the company or criticality of the data.
Due to the size of the data and the speed of the network connection between the primary data center and cloud backup provider, a local backup option must be available. Unfortunately, most cloud-backup providers don’t offer a local backup option, and instead, tell you to use your existing backup application. By utilizing yet another backup application, enterprises are spending more on data protection and increasing the complexity. In fact, by employing a local backup application, enterprises are denied the convenience of a single recovery interface and, due to the additional complexity, open themselves up to potential data loss.
So, the things to look for in the local backup architecture of a cloud-backup solution include the following:
- Ability to have both cloud-based and local backup, all managed from a single interface.
- Ability to back up full server images while giving you the ability to restore individual files, if needed.
- Built-in archiving and the option to conduct a full recovery of critical servers should a disaster occur.
- An optional plugin within the architecture so you can design your own plugins that work with the backup application (or download backup-compatible applications from a marketplace), thus providing greater functionality and improved application.
4. Recovery Experience
The fourth and final factor to consider is the recovery experience. After all, if you can’t get to your data when you need it, what good is cloud-based backup and disaster recovery?
Thus, you should test whatever cloud-based solution you are considering with a number of real-world recovery scenarios. For example, you should test for:
- Individual file recovery (and the time required) from the local backup repository.
- Individual file recovery (and the time required) from the cloud-based backup repository.
- Full server, image based recovery to simulate a total server loss or loss of a LUN (logical unit number) where the virtual machine was stored.
- Recovery of specific enterprise applications like SQL, , Exchange or other applications.
- Recovery of specific enterprise operating systems such as Windows Server in the data center and Windows 8 on the desktop or other operating systems which may be in use, such as Mac OS X and Linux.
By carefully considering these four factors when selecting a cloud-based backup solution, you’ll ensure that you’ve chosen the best solution for your company.
Benefits of Protecting Your Infrastructure with Zetta.net DataProtect
Zetta’s DataProtect offers all of the features recommended in the “Four Factors to Consider” section above. Specifically, Zetta.net DataProtect offers:
- Infrastructure – Geo-diverse data centers that are SSAE-16 type II audited, data encryption (during transport and at rest), advanced redundant array of independent nodes RAIN for enterprise-grade data integrity, multiple carrier grade 10Gbps Internet connections, and 24×7×365 US-based monitoring, response, and support.
- Transfer – Internet and private transport options, secure encryption, compression, deduplication, multiple concurrent transport streams, local cache of digital signatures, and use of native file formats when replicating to the cloud.
- Local Backup Experience – Local and cloud-based backup, administered from a single interface, image-level backup, and more.
- Recovery Experience – Individual file recovery from local and cloud backups, full server image recovery, and application recovery like SQL, Exchange, and .while you may appreciate what Zetta.net DataProtect offers you and your company, you may be wondering how utilizing the Zetta.net DataProtect cloud-based backup solution would change your daily life as it relates to protecting your company’s data.
We found that with Zetta.net DataProtect in place you would:
- No longer have to worry about backup application upgrades, maintenance, and backup server hardware infrastructure.
- Not have to manage the storage utilization of the backup repository.
- Not have to manage the ever-increasing storage demands of most backup systems.
- No longer have to worry about offsite data protection, such as whether your backup tapes were lost or damaged during transport.
- Feel confident that application like SQL and Exchange could be recovered with application integrity.
- Have the flexibility to recover physical servers to virtual servers (P2V) or virtual servers to physical servers (V2P) during a disaster recovery, if needed.
- Know that you could restore even deleted files, thanks to Zetta.net DataProtect’s retention functionality.
- Have the option to leverage Zetta.net DataProtect’s archiving feature, allowing you to indefinitely recover items, typically items that were accidentally deleted.
- Be able to recover data from a variety of sources such as local storage, mounted drive, or from the cloud.
- Be able to backup virtual hosts (such as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V) with ease.
Finally, with Zetta.net DataProtect in place, your enterprise could potentially start saving money on data protection because cloud-based data protection carries a single, all-inclusive, monthly price tag.
What’s New in Zetta.net DataProtect 4.5
Our analysis of Zetta.net DataProtect was based on the most recent edition, Zetta.net DataProtect 4.5. We found that upgrading to the latest 4.5 version required no major application installations or planning. Additionally, as with other software as a service models, the new 4.5 didn’t require customers to purchase the new version or have software maintenance in place.
Version 4.5 delivered the following features:
- ZettaMirror Windows Image Backup — This allows you to create a VHD image of an entire disk at the push of a button. With the virtual hard disk (VHD) image, you have the flexibility to do physical-to-physical, physical to virtual, and virtual to virtual restores of entire systems. The VHD image is streamed directly to Zetta without the need for local staging storage. This allows customers to image systems without attaching any kind of additional storage for the purpose of backups.
- ZettaMirror 2-Factor Authentication —This feature utilizes the Google Authenticator App to allow you to receive a verification code on your phone (Android, iOS, or Blackberry) whenever you attempt to log in to the admin.zetta.net user interface. This additional security layer provides even greater protection for you and your data.
- ZettaMirror Integration with ConnectWise — Service providers using ConnectWise platform can fully integrate cloud-backup and recovery business processes with Zetta.net, as shown in Figure 2.
Detailed Analysis of Zetta.net DataProtect
With the new Zetta.net DataProtect 4.5 available we conducted analysis of functionality, performance, and usability in our enterprise-grade lab environment.
We started off by looking at the features offered by Zetta.net DataProtect and found the following:
Zetta.net DataProtect Features:
|Platforms Supported||• Windows – Windows XP and newer, for desktops, and Windows Server 2003 and newer, for Servers
• Linux - CentOS, Debian, RedHat, SUSE, and Ubuntu
• Mac OS - MacOS X and MacOS Server
|Types of Data That Can Be Protected||Unstructured Data, MS SQL, MS Exchange, Hyper-V, VMware, System State, NetApp, Oracle, and Server Images|
|Data Protection Features||Offsite backup and recovery, physical and virtual server backup, data replication, full server image-level backups, multiple virtual recovery options, built-in WAN optimization, and data archiving|
|Flexible Recovery Options||From local storage or the cloud via a web browser or mounted drive. In the event of a disaster, data can be loaded onto a hard drive and shipped.|
|Pricing||Starting from $175 per month, get backup and recovery software for an unlimited number of protected servers and backup sites. Included all application and OS plug-ins, all application/OS plug-ins, secure cloud storage, and 24/7 US-based tech support|
As there was no dedicated server to build, no operating system (OS) to install, and even no backup application to install, getting started with Zetta.net DataProtect only required the installation of a tiny backup client (only about 6MB) on servers that we wanted to protect shown in Figure 3).
The tiny client installs in seconds and then prompted us to add the server to the backup schedule as shown in Figure 4.
As part of adding a new server to be protected, we were prompted to configure that server for a particular type of backup protection, as you see below in Figure 5.
Selecting the type of server and data was important to ensure that we had application-specific recovery options.
With our server added and appearing on the Zetta.net DataProtect dashboard (in Figure 6), we could easily monitor the data protection status.
The backup started at the scheduled time and could be monitored on the server and in the Zetta.net DataProtect administrative interface.
Once completed, we could see the protected data in the Zetta.net DataProtect administrative interface and review comprehensive log data (shown in Figures 7 and 8).
A restore can easily be performed from the Zetta.net DataProtect admin interface or even from the local client (shown in Figure 9).
In fact, because files are stored in standard file formats in the Zetta cloud, we can access them from a web browser and even map a drive to the cloud for restores (shown in Figure 10).
Other than the backup and recovery physical host systems running Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X, we also reviewed how Zetta.net DataProtect can protect virtualization hosts.
The first hypervisor we looked at protecting with Zetta.net DataProtect was Microsoft Hyper-V. Zetta.net DataProtect runs as a client on each Hyper-V host so that no installation or changes have to be made to each of the guest virtual machines running on the Hyper-V host. With Zetta.net DataProtect installed, any new virtual machines created will automatically be protected. When you install the Zetta.net DataProtect client on the Hyper-V host, you will specify that you are running Hyper-V to ensure that the client knows to protect the guest virtual machines. This is a excellent way to backup many virtual machines, simply and easily.
The second hypervisor we looked at protecting with Zetta.net DataProtect was VMware vSphere. Today, Zetta.net DataProtect can protect vSphere virtual machines by either:
- Installing the Zetta.net DataProtect client on each virtual machine.
- Backing up virtual machines that are stored on a NFS-file share that can be backed up, such as a NetApp NAS.
Many companies use another backup program to backup their vSphere virtual machines and then use DataProtect to get their virtual machine backups offsite for disaster recovery purposes.
In the future, we hope that Zetta.net DataProtect will protect the option for backing up vSphere hosts by supporting the vSphere API for data protection, or VADP so that change block tracking (CBT) and volume shadow services (VSS) could be used to quiesce Windows virtual machines.
In the end, our test results demonstrated that Zetta.net DataProtect is exactly the type of innovative data protection solution that so many companies need. By eliminating the management and cost of in-house backup infrastructures and offsite tape storage systems, companies of all sizes can save money, be more efficient, and more reliably protect their data in the event of disaster.
- 100% recovery reliability
- 5PB current data backup size
- WAN optimization (10 patent-pending technologies)
- 130% customer growth in 2013
- 310% partner growth in 2013
- 97% customer retention
- 1,900% customer data growth from partners in 2013
- 99.99996% backup reliability
After reviewing Zetta.net DataProtect first-hand, we find that it’s a powerful option which allows enterprises of all sizes to eliminate the need to maintain a backup infrastructure, to achieve offsite data protection, to prepare for disaster recovery, and even to potentially save money on data protection over time.
Small and medium-sized businesses will especially appreciate what Zetta.net DataProtect offers as they are the companies that typically struggle with data protection the most. According to a Zetta survey, cloud-based data protection solutions have helped the most in education, law, accounting, nonprofit, healthcare, and high-tech companies.