Rubrik recently announced 4.2 of their Cloud Data Management platform and I was fortunate enough to sit in on a sneak preview from Chris Wahl, Kenneth Hui, and Rebecca Fitzhugh. “Purpose Built for the Hybrid Cloud”, there are a whole bunch of new features in this release. I’ve included a summary table below, and will dig in to some of the more interesting ones.
|Expanding the Ecosystem
||Core Features & Services
|AWS Native Protection (EC2 Instances)
||SQL Server FILESTREAM
|VMware vCloud Director Integration
||Rubrik Edge on Hyper-V
||SQL Server Log Shipping
|Windows Full Volume Protection
||NAS Native API Integration
|AIX & Solaris Support
||VLAN Tagging (GUI)
||NAS SMB Scan Enhancements
||AHV VSS snapshot
||Proxy per Archival Location
||Reader-Writer Archival Locations
AWS Native Protection (EC2 Instances)
One of the key parts of this announcement is cloud-native protection, delivered specifically with AWS EBS Snapshots. The cool thing is you can have Rubrik running on-premises or sitting in the cloud.
- Automate manual processes – use policy engine to automate lifecycle management of snapshots, including scheduling and retention
- Rapid recovery from failure – eliminate manual steps for instance and file recovery
- Replicate instances in other availability zones and regions – launch instances in other AZs and Regions when needed using snapshots
- Consolidate data management – one solution to manage data across on-premises DCs and public clouds
Snapshots have been a manual process to deal with. Now there’s no need to mess with crontab or various AWS tools to get the snaps done. It also aligns with Rubrik’s vision of having a single tool to manage both cloud and on-premises workloads. The good news is that files in snapshots are indexed and searchable, so individual file recovery is also pretty simple.
VMware vCloud Director Integration
It may or may not be a surprise to learn that VMware vCloud Director is still in heavy use with service providers, so news of Rubrik integration with vCD shouldn’t be too shocking. Rubrik spent a little time talking about some of the “Foundational Services” they offer, including:
- Backup – Hosted or Managed
- ROBO Protection
- DR – Mirrored Site service
- Archival – Hosted or Managed
The value they add, though, is in the additional services, or what they term “Next Generation premium services”. These include:
- Dev / Test
- Cloud Archival
- DR in Cloud
- Near-zero availability
- Cloud migration
- Cloud app protection
Self-service is the key
To be able to deliver a number of these services, particularly in the service provider space, there’s been a big focus on multi-tenancy.
- Operate multi-customer configuration through a single cluster
- Logically partition cluster into tenants as “Organisations”
- Offer self-service management for each organisation
- Centrally control, monitoring and reporting with aggregated data
Support for vCD (version 8.10 and later) is as follows:
- Auto discovery of vCD hierarchy
- SLA based auto protect at different levels of vCD hierarchy
- vCD Instance
- vCD Organization • Org VDC
- Recovery workflows
- Export and Instant recovery
- Network settings
- File restore
- Self-service using multi-tenancy
- Reports for vCD organization
Windows Full Volume Protection
Rubrik have always had fileset-based protection, and they’re now offering the ability with Windows hosts to protect a volume at a time, eg. C:\ volume. These protection jobs incorporate additional information such as partition type, volume size, and permissions.
[image courtesy of Rubrik]
There’s also a Rubrik-created package to create bootable Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) media to restore the OS as well as provide disk partition information. There are multiple options for customers to recover entire volumes in addition to system state, including Master Boot Record (MBR), GUID Partition Table (GPT) information, and OS.
Why would you? There are a few use cases, including
- P2V – remember those?
- Physical RDM mapping compatibility – you might still have those about, because, well, reasons
- Physical Exchange servers and log truncation
- Cloud mobility (AWS to Azure or vice versa)
So now you can select volumes or filesets, and you can store the volumes in a Volume Group.
[image courtesy of Rubrik]
AIX and Solaris Support
Wahl was reluctant to refer to AIX and Solaris as “traditional” DC applications, because it all makes us feel that little bit older. In any case, AIX support was already available in the 4.1.1 release, and 4.2 adds Oracle Solaris support. There are a few restore scenarios that come to mind, particularly when it comes to things like migration. These include:
- Restore (in place) – Restores the original AIX server at the original path or a different path.
- Export (out of place) – Allows exporting to another AIX or Linux host that has the Rubrik Backup Service (RBS) running.
- Download Only – Ability to download files to the machine from which the administrator is running the Rubrik web interface.
- Migration – Any AIX application data can be restored or exported to a Linux host, or vice versa from Linux to an AIX host. In some cases, customers have leveraged this capability for OS migrations, removing the need for other tools.
Rubrik Envoy is a trusted ambassador (its certificate is issued by the Rubrik cluster) that represents the service provider’s Rubrik cluster in an isolated tenant network.
[image courtesy of Rubrik]
The idea is that service providers are able to offer backup-as-a-service (BaaS) to co-hosted tenants, enabling self-service SLA management with on-demand backup and recovery. The cool thing is you don’t have to deploy the Virtual Edition into the tenant network to get the connectivity you need. Here’s how it comes together:
- Once a tenant subscribes to BaaS from the SP, an Envoy virtual appliance is deployed on the tenant’s network.
- The tenant may log into Envoy, which will route the Rubrik UI to the MSP’s Rubrik cluster.
- Envoy will only allow access to objects that belong to the tenant.
- The Rubrik cluster works with the tenant VMs, via Envoy, for all application quiescence, file restore, point-in-time recovery, etc.
Network throttling is something that a lot of customers were interested in. There’s not an awful lot to say about it, but the options are No, Default and Scheduled. You can use it to configure the amount of bandwidth used by archival and replication traffic, for example.
Core Feature Improvements
There are a few other nice things that have been added to the platform as well.
- Rubrik Edge is now available on Hyper-V
- VLAN tagging was supported in 4.1 via the CLI, GUI configuration is now available
- SNMPv2c support (I loves me some SNMP)
- GUI support for multi-file recovery
A few other enhancements have been added, including:
- SQL Server FILESTREAM fully supported now (I’m not shouting, it’s just how they like to write it);
- SQL Server Log Shipping; and
- Per-Archive Proxy Support.
Rubrik were also pretty happy to announce NAS Vendor Native API Integration with NetApp and Isilon.
- Network Attached Storage (NAS) vendor-native API integration.
- NetApp ONTAP (ONTAP API v8.2 and later) supporting cluster-mode for NetApp filers.
- Dell EMC Isilon OneFS (v8.x and later) + ChangeList (v7.1.1 and later)
- NAS vendor-native API integration further enhances our current capability to take volume-based snapshots.
- This feature also enhances the overall backup fileset backup performance.
NAS SMB Scan Enhancements have also been included, providing a 10x performance improvement (according to Rubrik).
Point releases aren’t meant to be massive undertakings, but companies like Rubrik are moving at a fair pace and adding support for products to try and meet the requirements of their customers. There’s a fair bit going on in this one, and the support for AWS snapshots is kind of a big deal. I really like Rubrik’s focus on multi-tenancy, and they’re slowing opening up doors to some enterprises still using the likes of AIX and Solaris. This has previously been the domain of the more traditional vendors, so it’s nice to see progress has been made. Not all of the world runs on containers or in vSphere VMs, so delivering this capability will only help Rubrik gain traction in some of the more conservative shops around town.
Rubrik are working hard to address some of the “enterprise-y” shortcomings or gaps that may have been present in earlier iterations of their product. It’s great to see this progress over such a short period of time, and I’m looking forward to hearing about what else they have up their sleeve.