Dec 15, 2015

New Data Protection approach with Rubrik

Rubrik (, innovative startup dedicated to data protection, is one of the few vendors that recognizes that the secondary storage didn't really progress for at least a decade.
In other words, does the industry really invent something since the Data Reduction wave with DeDuplication and Compression ? For sure we all remember some famous examples such Ocarina Networks (acquired by Dell in 2010), Data Domain (acq. by EMC in 2009 for $2.4B), Diligent (acq. by IBM in 2008 for $210M), Avamar (acq. by EMC in 2006 for $165M), Alacritus (acq. by NetApp in 2005 for $11M) or DataCenter Technologies (acq. by Veritas in 2005).
But after that, nothing or just the dedup integrated a a feature to classic backup software or appliance. Done. I share Rubrik's view, classic products still exist but infrastructures now store more data with many different flavors of production environments, bare-metal or hypervisors based, and in many cases, use a legacy backup software is obsolete. You start a backup job but it can't finish because data sets are too big, too distributed, or application consistency is super tough to implement... in a few words, data protection need a new approach and Rubrik plays its role in that adventure.
Back to the genesis of Rubrik, the company was founded in 2014 by top engineers and leaders from Google, Facebook, VMware or Data Domain - Arvind Jain, Soham Mazumdar, Arvind Nithrakashyap - and Bipul Sinha, CEO and founder as well from Lightspeed Venture Partner. They have all in common that they understand the need, are motivated to change that landscape and know, a priori, how to build it. The company raised 2 rounds of money for a total of $51M, Series A was $10M by LSVP in March 2015 and Series B was $41M from LSVP and Greylock Ventures in May 2015. It's interesting to see also Mark Leslie, former CEO of Veritas Software, Frank Slootman, former CEO of Data Domain, and John W. Thompson former CEO of Symantec, who have made some significant investments to bootstrap the company. Rubrik is on a mission: To take out Backup software from the Enterprise. But to be serious, it's more than that, Backup is just a flavor of data protection and users, enterprises... don't really care about the product or the technology, in fact, what they need is an answer to their Data Protection challenge, just that. Historically, protect data was solved by backup software, but we all know that snapshot, versioning, cloning, replication, archival... are all data protection modes or flavors that all belong to the category. So now, you get the point, it's not about Backup, it's about Data Protection whatever is the (above) method used, users don't car, they care about their data. That's it. The notion always associated with data protection, at least it should be, is relates to RPO - Recovery Point Objectives - and RTO - Recovery Time Objectives - and to be serious, seen by users and applications not from the IT guy. RPO is essentially the quantity of data you accept to loose and this term refers to things before an event such a failure... This is perfectly illustrated with a daily backup job running everyday at 10pm, between jobs, nothing happens so IT accepts, if it doesn't do other things, to loose maximum 10 hours of work if we consider a failure just before the start a second job. RPO is key but for different applications and needs, you can consider different RPOs. A static web site backuped once a month or when changes occur is largely enough so in that case a RPO could be measured in days, weeks or months. For source code and development stuff, the company doesn't want to loose any good code written by its team, so a strict RPO is often in place. And finally imagine an activity with revenue, the RPO is also very strict. Now the RTO is different, if we reconsider these examples, we can imagine 3 different RTOs. As soon as you discover that your web site is down, you wish to recover and restart the site somewhere so in that case the RTO should be short. For development with no associated revenue, you can consider a flexible RTO in days or weeks and for the business transaction, of course the service must be protected with a very short RTO in mind. This RPO/RTO approach help everyone to map needs, requirements and the solution you need in each identified case.
So what is Rubrik about ? in a nutshell, Rubrik is about Converged Data Management, gathering together all flavors of data protection techniques in ONE product sold as an appliance to be easy to sell, to deploy, to use, to scale and to maintain. The expertise of Rubrik is in software but again to facilitate sales and the channel, an appliance model is perfect. The philosophy is to be non intrusive, there is no agent installed on VM or at the hypervisor level, the scalability is automatic, plug a new node and it will join the cluster. You receive a box and after 15 minutes the solution is running in production. To protection information just define a policy with SLA and run it.
The 2U appliance itself exists in 2 models, the R344 and the R348, with great resources in CPU, RAM, SSD, Network... and finally differ from the HDD capacity they offer: 48TB for the R344 and 96TB for the R348. Rubrik is an hybrid storage device as it includes SSD and HDD and you understand that each 2U chassis has 4 servers in it, it's the reason why things work by 4 in the spec sheet. The appliance exposes its storage via NFS or iSCSI and is managed through a REST API. In term of functions, Compression, Deduplication, Replication, Indexing, Snapshot, Encryption, Reporting, Super Granular Recovery... and a super easy and fast search mechanism (of course when we say indexing we implicitly associate search capability) are delivered by the system. For instance, a model like the R348 can easily managed 300 to 400 VMs. For long term data preservation, Rubrik relies on Amazon today and in the future Azure and Google but they don't offer by themselves a cold storage approach, Cold is Cloud for them. But you can also connected Rubrik to external object storage via S3 and even write to a NFS store. Also today the product is limited to VMware (vSphere 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0) but the market is so large that the limitation is more an advantage to stay focus. The model is 100% channel and start at $100k. The solution is superb, honestly, it's good to see people who have designed a radical new solution and solved the problem differently in favor of simplification. Success will come naturally when you have such product, it's just a term of execution but leaders pay attention to that. The product will flood the market, no doubt. Interesting to see that Cohesity and Rubrik share some ideas and participate to the revolution of secondary storage.

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