Tech Field Day 12 Primer: Rubrik

RubrikRubrik will be presenting at Tech Field Day 12 on Day 2 (November 16th, 14:00 PDT), and I’m quite looking forward to hearing more from them. I had a chance to chat with some engineers from Rubrik in the Solutions Exchange at VMWorld 2015, and a couple of times at local VMUGs since. At the time the product struck me as unique in that it seems to revolve around simplicity, flexibility, and efficiency.

For a bit of background, Rubrik (founded in 2014) has had $112 million in funding across three series. They have an estimated 100 -250 employees at the moment and are based out of Palo Alto, California. According to Forbes (link to Internet Wayback Machine to avoid ad-block issues), Rubrik has an estimated 2016 revenue of $50 million.

Similar to other vendors, Rubrik appears to be a software company that uses hardware appliances as their delivery mechanism. Their appliances (known as ‘briks’) currently come in one of four configurations, ranging from the SMB-focused r334 to the security minded r528 (which includes drives rated for FIPS 140-2 L2 Self-encryption). The models also vary from 2 nodes to 4 node configurations – more details can be found here: http://www.rubrik.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Spec-Sheet-Rubrik-Appliance-Specs-1.pdf

Due to Rubrik’s scale-out approach, this can lead to much better dedupe and compression rates when compared to ‘legacy’ scale-up solutions. If all of your data is sitting on one logical ‘island’, you can dedupe across all the data, compared to having multiple ‘islands’ where it can only dedupe across itself. So what happens when your ‘island’ gets full? Well, this is where you can either scale-out by adding some more briks, or you can leverage Rubrik’s archive-to-cloud feature set.

Rubrik Firefly ReleaseBack in August, Rubrik announced their latest major firmware release titled Firefly. With this release, a few new features were introduced, including support for physical Microsoft SQL Servers (announced at Tech Field Day 10 earlier this year), physical Linux machines, a virtual appliance (dubbed Rubrik Edge and aimed at remote / branch offices), as well as erasure coding (which effectively doubled storage capacity when compared to RAID 6).

Rubrik aims to keep things simple by heavily relying on policies. Policies can be set up for all sorts of tasks (e.g. backup schedules, retention limits, and locations, etc.), at which point you just apply policies where you see fit. An example of this would be setting a slider to dictate how much data to store in the public cloud.

Coupled with policies, Rubrik relies heavily on RESTful API calls. The HTML 5 interface is actually built on a RESTful API framework, which allows it to be leveraged for automation within organizations. Things like provisioning a new VM from a self-service portal can also include a hook into Rubrik to define backup policies as well.

Continuing with the theme of simplicity, their recovery process is similar. If you need to restore a VM, it can be restored on the appliance first (to flash storage for speed), and then migrated back to production. In the case of a single file restore, you can use their built-in predictive search to find what you are looking for. In the event that the data has already been moved to the cloud, only the required blocks are brought back down.

Given that Firefly was released only a few months ago, I’m not sure what to expect from Rubrik. They are still a young company that is growing, but that also provides an opportunity for quick pivots and getting ideas pushed throughTech Field Day 12 Primer: Rubrik R&D in an expedient fashion. I look forward to what will be presented.
Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in Tech Field Day as a delegate. All of my expenses, including food, transportation, and lodging are being covered by Gestalt IT. I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I requested to write this post. Anything written above was on my own accord.

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