The Approaching Backup (Hyper)Convergence #VFD5

When we talk about convergence in IT, it usually means bringing things together to make them easier to manage and use.  Network convergence, in the data center, is bringing together your storage and IP stacks, while hyperconverged is about bringing together compute and storage together in a platform that can easily scale as new capacity is needed.

One area where we haven’t seen a lot of convergence is the backup industry.  One new startup, fresh out of stealth mode, aims to change that by bringing together backup storage, compute, and virtualization backup software in a scalable and easy to use package.

I had the opportunity to hear from Rubrik, a new player in the backup space, at Virtualization Field Day 5.   My coworker, and fellow VFD5 delegate, Eric Shanks, has also written his thoughts on Rubrik.

Note: All travel and incidental expenses for attending Virtualization Field Day 5 were paid for by Gestalt IT.  This was the only compensation provided, and it did not influence the content of this post.

One of the challenges of architecting backup solutions for IT environments is that you need to bring together a number of disparate pieces, often from different vendors, and try to make them function as one.  Even if multiple components are from the same vendor, they’re often not integrated in a way to make them easy to deploy.

Rubrik’s goal is to be a “Time Machine for private cloud” and to make backup so simple that you can have the appliance racked and starting backups within 15 minutes.  Their product, which hit general availability in May, combines backup software, storage, and hardware in a package that is easy to deploy, use, and scale.

They front this with an HTML5 interface and advanced search capabilities for virtual machines and files within the virtual machine file system.  This works across both locally stored data and data that has been aged out to the cloud due to a local metadata cache.

Because they control the hardware and software for the entire platform, Rubrik is able to engineer everything for the best performance.  They utilize flash in each node to store backup metadata as well as ingest the inbound data streams to deduplicate and compress data.

Rubrik uses SLAs to determine how often virtual machines are protected and how long that data is saved.  Over time, that data can be aged out to Amazon S3.  They do not currently support replication to another Rubrik appliance in another location, but that is on the roadmap.

Although there are a lot of cool features in Rubrik, it is a version 1.0 product.  It is missing some things that more mature products have such as application-level item recovery and role-based access control.  They only support vSphere in this reslease.  However, the vendor has committed to adding many more features, and support for additional hypervisors, in future releases.

You can watch the introduction and technical deep dive for the Rubrik presentation on Youtube.  The links are below.

If you want to see a hands-on review of Rubrik, you can read Brian Suhr’s unboxing post here.

Rubrik has brought an innovative and exciting product to market, and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.


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