This post is one of a series of previews of companies presenting at Cloud Field Day 3, an invitation-only event in Silicon Valley, taking place 4-6 April 2018.  For more information, see the dedicated CFD3 events page https://blog.architecting.it/events/cloud-field-day-3/.

Over my career, data protection has never been one of the most exciting areas for which I’ve been responsible.  To make a footballing analogy, backup is the goalkeeper of the team.  There’s little praise when things go right, but let a goal in and lose the match and everyone will pour on the blame.  The same thing happens with data protection.  Taking daily backups is expected – fail to recover from data loss and everyone starts shouting.  By the way, to extend this analogy further, perhaps all-flash storage systems are the strikers/forwards – always claiming the glory…

Converged Backup

How can data protection be made more interesting?  One solution being taken is to merge some of the secondary storage requirements (data protection, test/dev seeding, analytics/search, file) into a single platform and deliver something that offers more value than implementing products for those separate components.  This is what Rubrik has done with their Cloud Data Management platform.

Software First

The original Rubrik solutions were hardware appliances.  As a regular sponsor of Tech Field Day events, you can go back and look at the evolution of the platform from 2015 onwards.  The appliance model is one we’re starting to see become more popular in data protection.  You can find out more details by following my series over at Search Data Backup (first post here).   Of course, an appliance is simply a mode of consumption that works well for smaller organisations that don’t want to design their own solutions.  The real benefit of platforms like Rubrik is in the software.

In April 2017, we talked to Chris Wahl, now Chief Technologist at Rubrik, about secondary storage, which has become a popular term for converged backup solutions.  Chris explained many of the features Rubrik offers in addition to data protection, all of which can be driven by automation.

Appliances are no longer the only deployment model, with public cloud and remote office/branch office supported too.  In this case the software is deployed as a VM or instance, using local or cloud-based storage.  Now, Rubrik is a Data Management platform, not simply a backup appliance.

Point in Time

As a step on the journey to full data mobility,  the Rubrik architecture provides the ability to move point-in-time images of applications from the edge (ROBO), on-premises and public cloud.  I discussed this approach in September 2017 over lunch with Bipul Sinha, Rubrik CEO and co-founder.  His view was that point-in-time copy management would be the way in which businesses move their data in and out of the public cloud.  Personally, I’m not 100% convinced that is the long-term solution for geo-dispersed data management.  I think we will eventually want real-time data ubiquity, although this may not be practical or usable for another 5-10 years.  In the short-term though, moving snapshots of data will one option.

The Architect’s View

Getting back to the original discussion, what can we expect to see from Rubrik at CFD3? Well, Rubrik recently acquired Datos IO, another start-up focusing on protecting eventually consistent and other “cloud-friendly” databases.  The Datos technology looks really interesting and this could be one area of discussion.  Alternatively, we can expect more discussion about Rubrik, data and public cloud.  I’m interested to see exactly what the company strategy is here, especially as we move to more diverse models of deployment and application portability.  Looks to me as this will be a lively discussion!

Further Reading

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Written by Chris Evans