Rubrik wants to simplify and scale your virtual machine backups. Rubrik sells a hardware appliance that includes onboard storage, plus the ability to send archival backups to the cloud (currently Amazon S3, or an OpenStack cloud that runs the Swift module). Rubrik does not support tape backup.
The Rubrik appliance integrates backup software and storage in a single package. The appliance functions as the backup server, runs the backup software, and includes the database for searching and indexing. It also supports replication and deduplication.
Appliances can be linked together to create clusters, and the onboard software creates a fabric that lets the backup environment scale as more appliances are added.
Note that you need to have a vSphere 5.1 environment or later to use Rubrik. The company says it’s considering supporting other hypervisors and bare metal workloads, but at present it only works with VMware.
The newest hardware is the r348 Hybrid Cloud Appliance. It’s a 2u box that mixes flash and hard disks. It offers over 300Tbytes of logical storage. Rubrik also offers two other appliances. You can mix and match appliance families in a cluster or fabric.
As mentioned, Rubrik deduplicates backups. As the appliance ingests VMs, it stores the contents on flash, then starts the dedupe process and moves it to longer-term storage.
The management software offers a variety of policy options, including the creation of SLA domains that automatically apply backup rules as new workloads are brought online. You can also create ‘Do Not Protect’ rules for domains or folders; for example, if you don’t want to back up test environments.
You can also take ad hoc snapshots as necessary.
Rubrik has numerous competitors that combine premises and cloud storage, including CTERA, Nasuni, Panzura and Microsoft’s StorSimple, so the company has some work to do to differentiate itself.
Then there’s tape. While more organizations are comfortable with cloud as a backup tier, storage architects and administrators are a cautious bunch, and with good reason—things go wrong, and if the data isn’t protected, they get the blame.
Rubrik is right that managing offsite tape storage is cumbersome: you can only search on metadata and restoration can be a hassle. But I still don’t know if that’s good enough to get old storage hands to part with tape.
Even if tape is a pain, you know it’s still there if you really need it. The question is, are storage pros comfortable enough to use the cloud as the only archival medium? For those ready to say yes, Rubrik is worth a look.
Rubrik was founded in 2014 and has raised $51 million to date over two rounds. Investors include Lightspeed Ventures and Greylock Partners, plus individual investors.
The company has four cofounders: Bipul Sinha, Arvind Jain, Soham Mazumdar, and Arvind Nithrakashyap. Jain is a founding engineer of Riverbed and a Google Distinguished Engineer. Mazumdar is also a former Google employee. Nithrakashyap is a cofounder of Oracle Exadata.
Disclaimer: Rubrik employees Chris Wahl, co-host of the Datanauts podcast from Packet Pushers.
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