Who is Rubrik?
From their website, “Rubrik Cloud Data Management delivers automated backup, instant recovery, offsite replication, and data archival in a simple, scale-out platform built for hybrid cloud.” In short, Rubrik protects your data. All of your data.
Rubrik describes themselves as handling backup and recovery, disaster recovery, archival and compliance, copy data management, search, and analytics. Call it “backup” if you like, although “backup” is clearly a lot more these days than making sure you have a copy of a file in case someone deletes it from the file server.
Modern backup is about making sure you can rewind your data back to a point in time, no matter where your data was stored, and, within some practical limit, no matter how much data you have to manage. This is what Rubrik does.
I’ve seen the platform in action a number of times over the years, and I identify the key value proposition as not only great capability, but also great ease of use. Rubrik has gone to a lot of trouble to design an interface that makes it easy to not only protect your data, but also find what you need to recover and restore it to a location of your choosing.
What did they announce?
On June 13, 2017, Rubrik announced major release 4.0, codenamed “Alta.” Alta merits the major dot zero release designation because of the many brand new features included. We’ll summarize them briefly here.
Rubrik is tightly integrated with Oracle RMAN, giving DBAs the ability to leverage Rubrik while using an interface they are comfortable with.
Microsoft Hyper-V is supported by Rubrik. For Hyper-V 2016, that support is via the native API, offering the full set of capabilities, including auto protect, failover cluster support, agentless backups, live mount, and instant recovery. For earlier Hyper-V versions, the support is via Connectors with a reduced feature set.
Cloud Instantiation is a new Rubrik feature that allows backups done on-premises to be restored to Amazon Web Services. Rubrik handles all of the cloudy details, including sending data from a VMDK to an S3 bucket, provisioning the size instance you request, creating an AMI, and launching the EC2 instance. Cloud Instantiation is limited to VMware virtual machines and AWS today.
SQL Server live mounting is another addition to the Rubrik platform. This allows some or all of a database to be mounted by Rubrik, presented, and used for testing specific database tables or rows, performing database health checks, and running development processes against a copy of production data.
And finally, Rubrik 4.0 offers an archive to tape feature. While tape was never intended to be a core feature of Rubrik, to be a compliant product in the EMEA and APAC markets, Rubrik needed to offer tape. They’ve done this through a partnership with QStar, since Rubrik doesn’t speak directly to tape libraries. Therefore, Rubrik speaks to QStar, which abstracts a variety of tape libraries away. QStar writes to tape using LTFS, and exposes tape data via CIFS shares.
There’s even more in Rubrik’s 4.0 Alta release, but these are the bits I chose to highlight here.
Do you need this product?
Every enterprise that is interested in running their business even when things go wrong needs a solution to preserve their data. The idea is to imagine where data lives, and what would happen to an organization if that data turned out to be unusable. For most organizations, the end result is very likely business impacting. Therefore, a data integrity system that provides a recovery path is crucial to ensure business continuity.
Rubrik and competing solutions provide a way to integrate backup and recovery technology with daily operations, making data integrity a normal part of your IT environment.
While there are perhaps a few environments out there where there’s simply too much data to be effectively protected, that’s not true for the vast majority of IT shops. In short, practically every organization with a meaningful amount of data to protect would benefit from a secondary storage platform like Rubrik.