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It was time for vRetreat 2020 and Patrick invited me to attend as always. How could I say no! We were all set to go but then things changed and this version of vRetreat was turned into a virtual event.

However, you can always count on the vCommunity to make any event a success, even if remote and virtual. Once we were all on video chat, even the pre-event chit chat made it an immensely enjoyable session, let alone the information that came later.

The event was well-attended by superstars like Barry Coombs, Megan Warren, Rynardt Spies, Kyle Davies, Marco Broeken, Ibrahim Quraishi, Amit Panchal, and Andy Nash to name a few. Everyone joined well before the first presentation (having no traffic to blame!) and that was our chance to catch up with one another and check up on how everyone was feeling.

A special mention for Marco for making us all jealous with his multi-server Folding@Home donor cluster! We’re all trying Marco, alright! 🙂 Plug Alert: You can join this great cause too – here’s how.

Barry also chipped in with a short doodle demo of his own but if you want to see how he creates his magical doodles, here a quick video of him covering this event:

Zerto and Kemp were the two companies presenting this time. After lunch and some coffee, we were all fueled up and ready to absorb all the information. First up it was Zerto!


Zerto is not new to vRetreat. I also met them in 2018 when Zerto has just released version 6.0 of their IT Resilience Platform. It so happens that this time, Zerto has just announced version 8.0 and Steve Blow was here to give us an update on what’s new.

Steve started with a quick recap of version 7.0 to set the scene and how Zerto’s IT resilience platform aims to cover all the data protection needs for its customers via that single platform.

Zerto IT Resilience Platform

The headline for Version 8.0 is its support for Google Cloud in the form of VMware on Google. With that, Zerto completes its support on all major public clouds, in addition to others.

Zerto - VMware on Google Architecture

Architecturally, it’s not much different from how its deployed on other clouds i.e. the same appliances are deployed into what is essentially another VMware environment. For the same reason, it works in the same way, which is good news for Zerto practitioners as there is nothing new to learn and it just works!

In addition to that, there are other enhancements such as:

  • Long term retention with AWS Storage Gateway
  • Support for Azure Gen 2 VMs and Managed Disks in all Azure regions
  • Automated Failback Configuration for AWS and Azure
  • Support for Virtual Volumes for VMware

That was the infrastructure side but there’s more in terms of platform and analytics too! The main improvements to look out for are:

  • Rapid Reverse Protection for Workload Mobility
  • New Application-Aware Retention
  • Long Term Retention Reporting, and
  • Efficient Resource Planning

There are so many enhancements that it would be impossible for me to cover in this post but do check out this summary of what’s new with Zerto 8.0 to get a flavour.

If you haven’t learnt about Zerto yet, I would highly recommend you do as it’s an extremely intelligent bit of technology.

Zerto also has on-demand labs available to play with so there’s no excuse not to check it out really!


Next was Frank Yue from Kemp. Kemp specialises in load-balancing appliances whether they’re physical or virtual and have many form factors for the various platforms that are common within organisations.

Frank’s session was focussed on the 3 use cases in which Horizon can be load-balanced using Kemp load balancers, the correct way of doing it and pros and cons of each.

That’s very topical because due to the COVID-19 situation these days, many companies are looking to provide or enhance their home working capabilities and in a lot of cases, that means deployment of Horizon as the VDI solution. Every company has its internal networking set up in a particular way, which in turn, influences the ways in which load balancing can be implemented.

Kemp - Why Load Balance


Correct setup and function of load balancing are absolutely crucial in providing the best VDI experience and hence, the refresher from Frank on what’s important when implementing it.

As a basic topology, it’s always best to have load balancers not just for your external front ends to Horizon UAGs (Universal Access Gateways) but also internal load balancers for your Horizon Connection servers.

Kemp - Typical Horizon Topology

Once that topology is decided, the next big question is how the load balancing is configured which in turn, decides how to configure the various IPs, URLs and Port Numbers in the configuration.

A discussion of all those configurations will be too much for this post but there are three options that cover the typical scenarios:

  • Source IP Affinity
  • Mulit-Port Number Groups, and
  • Multiple VIPs Configuration

There are pros and cons to each but Source IP Affinity is the most common and recommended if that suits the network configurations of an organisation.  The good news is that Kemp supports all of them.

For more information, check out these resources:

In addition to that, you can participate in Kemp’s Technical Previews, if you fancy playing with what they’re looking to release next.

Do check out more on Zerto and Kemp as what I’ve mentioned in this post can’t possibly do justice to their products as they offer a lot more. I’ve given you a few links so go explore them now while you’ve taken the time out to read this post! 🙂

This vRetreat was a little different for obvious reasons but it was a fun and information filled event nevertheless. It didn’t take much time to get back to family either!

Hope everyone is safe and we get back to normal soon but can’t wait for the next one already!