As a director working in the field of disaster recovery, I often get asked which backup and replication software is better: Zerto or Veeam.
The short answer is that I highly recommend both. Each has their own unique qualities. Both are consumer friendly, and most people would have to agree that they are competitive in the market. When considering which is best for your business, it’s important to take a hard look at what your needs are to decide the best fit. Below is a quick review of each technology and a comparison of their features.
Round 1 – Veeam
Veeam was created in 2006 with a strong focus on virtual machine data backup and replication. Veeam changed the backup and recovery market with their virtual machine first approach. While many legacy backup products were trying to retrofit their existing technology to support VMs, Veeam focused solely on them until 2016, when they released an agent to protect physical systems to augment their software.
Veeam uses VM snapshot technology in combination with changed block tracking (CBT) to create a replica of a virtual machine. While the snapshot is being taken, a redo file is created, and all changes made during the replication process are written into this file. Once the replication job is finished, the redo file is merged with the snapshot into a live disk file. The next time the replication job is started, only changes made since the last job will be copied to the replica virtual machine.
Veeam also utilizes backup protection that is optimized to allow for long term data retention, and one of Veeam’s key features is that it performs both backups and replications.
Round 2 – Zerto
In 2009, Zerto was founded and built to provide high availability protection to virtual machines. Zerto’s focus is on instant data recovery, and that has helped them become an industry leader in the field of disaster recovery. Another feature that sets Zerto apart from legacy backup products is simplified user interaction. Zerto, like Veeam, integrates painlessly into both Hyper-V and VMware environments.
Zerto doesn’t use snapshot technology like Veeam. Instead, Zerto deploys small virtual machines on its physical hosts. These Zerto VMs capture the data as it is written to the host and then send a copy of that data to the replication site. This process results in near-synchronous replication, since the data is sent to the DR site at the same time it is written to the production disk array. This replication process is continuous, so the delay between writing data to the host machine and sending it offsite is minimal.
Round 3 – The difference
The main difference between Zerto and Veeam is their recovery point objectives (RPOs). Zerto has a tighter RPO than Veeam due to the method it uses to capture data. However, Veeam has the advantage of being able to more efficiently capture and store data for long-term retention needs. There is also a significant pricing difference, with Veeam being cheaper than Zerto. Both solutions provide best-in-class solutions designed for the recovery of virtual infrastructures in the event of a disaster.
I have worked with many customers who utilize both products in order to meet their high availability needs while also achieving reliable long-term data retention. The recovery time objectives (RTOs) for both solutions are similar; when a VM is replicated it only takes minutes to boot the VM in either case. However, the RPO is a big difference, as Zerto provides in seconds what Veeam often needs a minimum of 15 minutes to accomplish (depending on data links and change rates). Most companies running Veeam replicate their data once a day, while Zerto users continuously replicate theirs.
Both solutions are leaders in the disaster recovery market today, but which one is right for your business depends on your unique requirements. If you already invested in Veeam for backup and your company has low RPO requirements, then Veeam is a nearly free option to use for replication. If you are looking for the fastest RPO on the market for your Virtual Systems, then Zerto is probably the product for you.
To conclude my analysis, there is no right or wrong solution. Both solutions are winners, and what is right for your business truly depends on your RTO/RPO requirements. For some users, the best choice is to use BOTH for added reliability.