Tech Transcends Language: Roundtable with Zerto Rob Strechay

Last week Zerto held a roundtable in Singapore. Attended by CSPs and business partners, we hear from industry experts including representatives from Singtel, IT Access, Century Link, AsiaSoft Solutions and ICONZ Webvisions. As well as discussing about DR and cloud adoption within APAC, a lot were interested to know more about Zerto and their future roadmap for the APAC markets.

Hosted by Rob Strechay, VP for Product and Solutions, and Stanley Lee, Solutions Engineering Manager, APJ; they discussed about adopting cloud technologies, market trends and demands, the pros and cons of various virtualisation vendors, as well as the past, present and future of Zerto products.

DSA senior journalist Satoko Omata had a chat with Rob after the roundtable, to discuss about DR in the cloud era, cloud trends and adoption as well as Zerto’s approach.

Rob led a light-hearted discussion during the roundtable, and continued the tone during the interview. Recently there have been several reports published regarding the increase in cloud adoption, and the trend looks promising for the APAC region. Rob has some ideas to why that is the case.

“I think in APAC, we’ve been seeing that people have been moving much more quickly to cloud than in, for instance, EMEA. Even though there is legacy equipment, they skipped over some of the trends. They missed or moved over what was that loosely integrated converged systems and move more towards hyperconverged. And because of that they are looking for that all in one experience, which is why cloud is pretty attractive.”

Despite that, discussions from an SI revealed that there are still some doubts to moving to cloud, especially for organisations that built on legacy. Rob agrees that security is one of the biggest inhibitors for people in this region, as most of them are still trying to figure out the best practice and implementation.

“I think that cloud providers have not done a great job expressing that, but I think some of them are starting to do a better job explaining how cloud can be more secure than an on premise environment because you get economies of scale, you get better expertise, and operations and you have some newer technologies to deploy as well.”

It’s not just security. Globally there’s a misconception to how much cloud providers actually cover in their services – and that’s dangerous for enterprise.

“I think that many of them have not planned for DR in cloud, and think that the cloud provider is actually taking care of that for them. I think it goes back to the people engaging in cloud asking the right questions, around DR, around security, around availability and SLAs of their data.”

During roundtable discussions, representatives expressed slight frustration in the expectation from clients for service providers to bear the responsibility for every issue. This is especially apparent for security related issues. One representative told us that it’s difficult to strike a balance between helping the customers as much as they can, as well as keeping costs low for SMEs.

While it’s easy to pin that as a lack of experience and knowhow to operationalise cloud compared to other regions, Rob stresses it’s not a problem specific in APAC. He notes that the progress rate is about the same in most regions globally. In fact, his personal experience seems to paint a different picture.

“In my experience I’ve seen there are more people adopting cloud here than there are in certain other areas. During my previous experience with Openstack, there were more customers in APAC than there were in the rest of the world. I think that’s because there’s a larger service provider base here, they come from that cloud first background already.”

Service providers don’t only build their own cloud; they are also one of the fastest adopters of their own technology. In fact, some service providers might partner with other public cloud technology to provide a more extensive service for their customers. Gradually other industries are looking, albeit at a slower rate, to move to cloud.

“We’ve also seen some of the folks in healthcare looking to move in that direction, but that has some of the regulatory related issues. Data sovereignty is one – where the data lives, but there’s also the data protection act and the correct handling of the data. Technology companies are probably the most furthest along in cloud in APAC.”

Another aspect raised by partner representatives, was the issue of SLAs. Often, many vendors have great products that looks great on paper, or on the first implementation. However, a lot of them see issues after upgrades have been made, or customers incurring extra costs due to certain clauses not covered by aspects of the products. Partners noted that they like the flexibility and consistency of service provided by Zerto.

Zerto started operations in the US, before moving to EMEA and finally APAC. Rob tells us he’s been seeing a “same kind of ramp rate for the region that we expected to see”. Although they started expanding into the English speaking countries, Rob believes ultimately technology is not limited by language.

“We started in the English speaking countries, mainly because those were easier for us. Once you move into the other countries we’re starting to see the non-English speaking country pick up like we thought they would. DR is a universal problem that needs to be solved and it transcends the language that’s been spoken.”

Zerto will be adding Azure as a location to their services, and will continue to help customers in moving to hybrid cloud model. “We think that hybrid cloud is here to stay. People will not only have on premise, they will use CSP, and perhaps have some in public cloud as well. It will be based on SLA and cost and where they put their data.”

For businesses starting to look at cloud, Rob has some advice. “One of the neat things about DR is, cloud is a great place to start – with DRaaS.”      

“If you haven’t started looking at what your cloud strategy is, start with your local VARs that are involved with CSP or your local CSP and use them as a resource for knowledge and how to operationalise, because the big parts are not the actual dollars you’ve spend or save by moving to cloud or a hybrid cloud, but it’s really operationalising it.”

Zerto will be releasing an upgrade later in the year. DSA will update with any new information as soon as we are able.

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