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Crossing the Rubrikon: Rubrik sets out its rules of engagement

Back-up software killer sharpens its weapon

Startup back-up software-killer Rubrik has got itself a second major release of its system, plus a new cloud back-up cloud gateway.

Rubrik delivers a hyper-converged style appliance to enterprise customers. This runs the Converged Data Management (CDM) software and enables users to cross the Rubrikon, slipping the surly software bonds of back-up software – if Rubrik’s pitch is true – and back up your data to the Amazon s3 public cloud and also to private clouds.

The hybrid cloud appliances are numbered in the r300 series and the latest one is the r348, which “offers 300+ TB* of logical storage in a 2U unit”, from its 4 x x86 nodes. Like the others, it has a hybrid flash/disk design “to deliver high-speed data ingestion and instant access”, from its 2U innards and can be scaled out in a cluster of thousands of nodes. Rubrik says there is cluster-wide data tiering of pooled memory, SSDs, and HDDs.

The r330 protects up to 200 VMs, the r340 up to 300 and the r348 – if a Rubrik blogger’s claim of doubling capacity is true – protects up to 600.


Rubrik r348 – bezels can be boring, can't they?

Rubrik says you can “provision as many copies of your data from one 'golden copy' to accelerate DevOps [and] any copy of data can be instantly mounted on Rubrik”. This is similar to Delphix’ file copy virtualisation technology and Rubrik’s focus on back-up is akin to that of another copy data reduction startup: Actifio.

The CDM software can protect VMs with Rubrik’s automatic VM discovery. The company says you can “instantly recover VMs, applications and files to your production environment by booting the files directly on Rubrik. Recover as many VMs as needed without the complexity and time wasted in transferring files back to your primary system”.

Here’s how the automated data discovery is said to work:

Once the user enters the credentials for its virtualised environment (e.g., vCenter username/password for VMware vSphere environments), Rubrik auto-discovers details of the entire virtualised environment, such as hosts and applications. Auto-discovery happens a variety of ways, depending on the user environment. Rubrik utilises VMware APIs (vStorage APIs for Data Protection) to discover VMware environments. Support for additional virtualisation hypervisors, containers and applications will be rolled out in future releases.

The software provides application-consistent snapshots for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Active Directory and Oracle RDBMS – Snapshots mounted directly on Rubrik are exposed to the hypervisor through a NFS interface.

CDM 2.0 offers:

  • Asynchronous, deduplicated, WAN-efficient, multi-way, and master-master native replication
  • Integrated policy engine – selected desired RPOs and retention. Users can “define when data should be stored on-premises and archived to the cloud through this SLA engine. Data in-flight and at-rest in the cloud utilises military-standard AES 256-bit encryption
  • Disaster recovery with near-zero RTO and elastic RPO – failover and failback with complete data management among multiple sites. Mount your data directly on Rubrik for instant off-site recovery
  • Replication policy compliance, including alerts on areas to troubleshoot

What we have here is direct back-up, via snapshot, of VMware virtual machines, which bypasses the traditional back-up software infrastructure and seems like the first real, new technology-based competition to Veeam, and the myriad other newish back-up software suppliers. If you don’t have VMware virtualised servers, then Rubrik is a no-go product for you.

It might help to know that CommVault is paying attention to Rubrik: Stifel Nicolas MD Aaron Rakers said that “CommVault mentioned privately-held Rubrik several times during its (AGM) presentation” last week.

If you are thinking about crossing the Rubrikon, then grab yourself a data sheet here and a CDM technology white paper here. And if you are hungry for more, read a CDM v2.0 blog here. ®


* That 300+TB of logical storage will depend on the data reduction ratio and your mileage may vary.

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