Azure Managed Disk Incremental Snapshots and Zerto

At Ignite, Microsoft announced they added managed disk incremental snapshots. Zerto leverages the managed disks incremental snapshot feature for replication from Azure.

I’m part of the Global Alliances team at Zerto. We are responsible for the Microsoft relationship and get to collaborate with the Zerto Product teams and Azure Product teams to bring new features to the market.

The Zerto product teams have been working hard for several months with Microsoft to get the incremental snapshot feature developed.  The Azure storage team is great to work with as a partner. They actually listen to partner needs and develop APIs and functionality to meet those needs. At Ignite, I did a presentation of how Zerto uses the Incremental Snapshot feature in Raman Kumar’s THR3114 Migrate and protect your production applications running on Azure Disks.

This is an important feature to Zerto because Zerto doesn’t have agents in the virtual machines so Zerto needs Azure storage and their APIs to act more like a enterprise storage in order to track changes.

I also did a short demo in the session and I protected three servers with multiple disks from vSphere to Azure using Premium Managed disks then failed them over to Azure. I also set up reverse protection from Azure back to vSphere.

3 VMs protected to Azure with Premium Managed Disks then failed over to run in Azure

Below, we see the VMs and the multiple Premium SSD Managed disks as well as the Snapshots. The way that the incremental snapshots work is they are constantly updating and snapshotting only the incremental data to be more efficient. For example, in the image below of the Azure Portal during the protection from Azure to vSphere, the older snapshot’s data has been deleted due to a newer snapshot tracking that data. Eventually the oldest snapshot will be deleted as the Zerto protection continues.

Azure incremental snapshots being created and deleted automatically by Zerto for change tracking

To move back to vSphere from Azure, we use the Move command.

Moving VMs from Azure back to vSphere

I select my VPG that is replicating from Azure to vSphere.

Selecting the Virtual Protection Group to move from Azure to vSphere

I keep the Reverse Protection on so once the VMs are back in vSphere, they automatically replicate back to Azure.

Reverse Protection selected so the VMs will replicate back to Azure once running in vSphere

Click Move.

Move the VMs

Acknowledge the Commit Policy Warning.

The Commit Policy allows you to automatically commit or roll back the Move in a specified period of time

And watch the move progress.

The move progress

The VMs automatically deallocate from Azure.

VMs automatically deallocated from Azure once moved to vSphere

The VMs are moved and running in vSphere with protection automatically set up to Azure.

The VMs back in vSphere being protected to Azure

The new incremental snapshot feature helps Zerto complete the move in and move out of Azure scenarios.

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