All posts by Amy Manley


Rubrik’s Converged Data Management 2.0 with Riker Beard enhancements

Rubrik logo HOR


In my last post, Chris Wahl – Tech Evangelist, explained why Rubrik is not a hyper-converged product.  They don’t run compute,  they are a converged data management platform.

Rubrik replaces old ways of thought for backups with software convergence;  single software fabric for all data management functions including storage.  Instead of  backup servers, proxies, replication,  a catalog db, going all the way to archiving off site tape backups; you just need software and backup storage.snazzy


This brings infinite scalabilty using a web-scale architecture  that spreads data services uniformly across all nodes within the system.  Rubrik changes the game, from hard to scale and complex to setup up, to  easy  enough for myself to be a backup admin. Their converged scalable software makes scaling as easy as adding another Brik.


Rubrik has an API-driven architecture.  A must for any automation control and interacting outside of the GUI.  They use Swagger an interface for their RESTful API to assist with lookup options for what you want to accomplish. NEAT!

Instant Data Access
Data is immediately available regardless of locality for search, recovery, analytics, and DevOps.  All data is searchable whether its in the cloud or on-premises.
You can search for your Spongebob.txt file and download it from a previous snapshot.
All nodes service the interface so you never have to worry about losing access.


Cloud Native
Data services are intelligently and securely orchestrated across private and public clouds. Rubrik treats clouds as a first class citizen with the design intended to archive the data, be secure across the transport and be searchable.  You can use Amazon, AS3 as an object store or OpenStack Swift. Yes, archive to your private cloud on Swift!
The BIG 2.0 Announcement, first up :
  • Unlimited Replication – no limits, replicate to your hearts content!
  • Instant Off-Site Recovery – mount your data on Rubrik in a DR scenario. Recover instantly from any replica without data restoration to another endpoint.
  • Policy Automation – define once, set and forget!  Policies can apply to clusters, folders and you won’t have to remember to add a new virtual machine to an existing policy. Automate replication SLAs to archival and retention policies.
  • WAN Efficient – Global deduplication across your SLA domain keeps data transferring across the wire to a minimum.
But wait,  what does this mean?
You can replicate between Rubrik clusters.  Create an SLA on how often you want a VM or group of VMs to be replicated. Replication can be bidirectional across nodes asynchronously.  With the granular control now given, you can also set certain VMs to not be protected.
The open architecture doesn’t force you to choose between cloud or replication, you can do both!


Next up, AD and Role based Access
Now you can integrate with Active Directory and not worry about local accounts. With this select roles for different users of the product.


Application Aware backups
Rubrik has their own efficient VSS provider to protect your critical workloads in place of the default VMware VSS provider.
You can now backup Exchange, SQL, Active Directory, and SharePoint. (another yay!)


Detailed Reporting
Now with this feature, you can watch as a task/job is running.  See why one failed, view how long a task took, how much data was ingested and transferred over the wire. You can troubleshoot on a per VM basis versus the entire job.
Setup up reports to automatically email your team or download data to a CSV file.
At a glance, you can see which VMs are compliant with their chosen SLA.  Red bad, green good!


Don’t let things get out of hand – Capacity Planning


See what data is growing, what data is on the Briks or in the cloud.  Plan ahead instead of realizing some backups have gone awry.


This 2.0 announcement brings great features and the interface of Rubrik is Riker beard sexy.  Built in are Gold, Silver and Bronze SLAs but you can also create custom ones for your needs or the needs of the application.


Live mount is a fantastic option. You can browse or search for a needed file and simply download.


Mount a snapshot on a host to bring up a copy of a VM.   The clone uses the Flash Tier of Rubrik essentially creating a forked clone of an existing VM.  This can be used for testing upgrades, new code etc.  Rubrik is smart enough to disable the NIC so there aren’t any IP conflicts.


Unlimited replication options to public or private cloud or another Rubrik device is simply sweet.


Exciting times in the data protection arena.

Rubrik’s, Chris Wahl speaks about bacon and more

Q: So you went to the darkside, are there really cookies?

A: Not only are there cookies, but also plenty of bacon! I will say that having spent time on the customer and partner sides of the triangle has given me a true appreciation for the contrasts of working at a vendor (and a startup, no less).

*Amy ponders which bacon*
kevinbacon bacon

Q: Besides the obvious, what enticed you to work for Rubrik as a technical evangelist?

A: Rubrik’s executive team spent time listening to my personal and career goals to best understand how we could make the business relationship thrive. My deeper research revealed a dazzling team of supremely talented folks coupled with a glowing strategic roadmap, thus creating an opportunity that demanded my attention. It also triggered my passion to try something new and challenging while still remaining tightly bound to the community at large. In short, it was a role that I couldn’t turn down.

Q: Why doesn’t Rubrik want to be known as hyperconverged?  It’s a buzzword we all know and love.

A: Ah, yes, that’s definitely a hot button of mine! Rubrik is certainly a converged data management platform due to coupling scale-out storage across on-site and cloud resources while also allowing users to directly mount workloads on our appliances. Hyperconverged platforms (otherwise referred to as Server SAN by Wikibon) pool both storage and compute resources for workloads to run directly on the nodes. It’s a subtle yet important difference.

Q: A big hurdle with backing up VMs if they are large, the snapshots can run long and can be stunned for too long. Rubrik says they have a solution for it, how do you solve this problem?

A: That’s a great question. Stunning is a common issue when using vSphere APIs for Data Protection (VADP) with standard VMware snapshots against chatty virtual machines, even if they are relatively small in size. There are two ways that we combat the stun duration for successful backups. First, the Rubrik engineering team wrote a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) Provider that works directly with the guest operating system to efficiently quiesce IO. It also grants much greater granularity than standard API usage. Second, all of the data sent to the Rubrik fabric is ingested by flash, thus reducing the amount of time we have to hold open a snapshot to grab modified data listed by Change Block Tracking (CBT). The muscle power in flash also allows a multitude of backup jobs to flow into the fabric simultaneously while also providing a vSphere datastore for Instant Mount workloads. This mix of reads and writes is the infamous “IO blender” concern. Contrast this approach to legacy backup storage systems that are built of capacity disk and can only eek out a few hundred or thousand IOPS across a cabinet or two while assuming long, sequential writes or the occasional restore.

Q: How do you think Rubrik will change the backup mindset that we as engineers have had for so many years.  Data protection that doesn’t do restorations? You know heads are exploding, right?

A: Haha, well, I think we’re making everyone’s life better in a multitude of ways. Another way of looking at change is to label it opportunity, grab on with both hands, and see where it leads. I’d like to imagine that in a few years, the idea of having instantaneous access to data across on-site and cloud resources using a Google-like search engine will be the new normal. A bit like when the iPhone came out and made the Blackberry and RAZR look obsolete overnight. Engineers that can realize the potential of a platform that gives them the ultimate control over data will be of incredible value to their organizations. It’s also much simpler to express data protection in terms of an SLA, and then let Rubrik handle the daily minutia of jobs and tasks, versus wasting time fine tuning a set of backup schedules.

Q: Bipul Sinha, really emphasizes that the file system and software is inspired by modern web architecture, is this the true magic behind Rubrik?

A: Other than the vendors, no one enjoys head swaps or having to buy storage controllers with enough headroom to last 3, 5, or 7 years down the road. Not only is that nearly impossible to do, but it encourages wasted CapEx on depreciating assets and prevents organizations from iteratively improving their data center. The ability to create a shared-nothing file system that also provides instant restore capabilities is the key to scale – both up and down. I’d also give a nod to the massive amount of Rubrik engineers that worked at Google, Facebook, VMware, and so forth – they’re not just talking the talk, they’ve already walked the walk.

Q: This leads me to the scale-out dedupe or using a dedupe domain to cover many nodes.  That is pretty slick.

A: I’d agree! Global data efficiencies are especially important as the data capacity required to run an organization increases, and many environments I worked with as a consultant have an “infinite retention” policy. The more data you put into a globally efficient the system, the better the resulting space saving ratios will become. Additionally, the data efficiencies scale-out into the cloud, further reducing the cost of off-premises storage while still being searchable in real-time and supporting single-file restores. It’s pretty groovy tech. 🙂

Q: What’s the biggest game changer that Rubrik brings to the world of backups?

A: My mind is tied between two features: real-time search and a rich set of RESTful APIs. After all, Amy, you hit the nail on the head earlier – it’s all about getting your data back! Predictive search across all data points with full-VM or single-file restore blows away having to keep catalogs on relational databases or tape vaults, especially when you’re the engineer that is dealing with bringing back lost or corrupt data. When added to a full suite of native APIs, it gives our customers and the entire ecosystem the ability to customize or tweak the platform to their unique tastes. In fact, our UI uses the same API that is made available to our customers – everyone is a first class citizen.

Q: Do you miss articulation, your minifigure does not have knees but,  on the plus side, a sweet leisure suit!

A: I’m just happy to know that he’s found a good home. And lack of knees means he can cut a rug on the dance floor like no one’s business, right?

wahlChris viewing Mt. Maunganul, New Zealand courtesy of Alastair Cooke

 Watch the technical deep dive from Virtualization Field Day 5.

Rubrik Technology Deep Dive from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Arvind Nithrakashyap takes a deep look at the technology behind Rubrik. Recorded at Virtualization Field Day 5 on June 25, 2015. For more information, please visit or


SolarWinds thwackCamp 2015

This year, SolarWinds thwackCamp virtual conference is coming up next week on July 15-16.

This year’s keynote, “What Will You Solve Next,” will be delivered by SolarWinds CTO and CIO, Joel Dolisy; group vice president of product strategy, Nikki Jennings; and head geek, Patrick Hubbard. I had the pleasure of meeting Joel and Nikki at Virtualization Field Day 4, hosted at the SolarWinds headquarters in Austin, TX. I was impressed with their AppStack offering and all of the plug-ins that Orion has as a platform, coming the closest to the unicorn “single pane of glass.” You can read more on that here

This year, the sessions are breaking out into two tracks:

1) SolarWinds How-To, with sessions focused on topics like, “Finding the Needle in the AppStack: Troubleshooting Application Performance” and “SolarWinds Orion Scalability Best Practices and Futures.”

2) Industry Topics, with focuses such as, “Crossing the Great Divide: Conversations between IT, Networking and Security Ops” and “Seven Signs your Database Server is Lying to You.”

Some of my favorite SolarWinds geeks like Leon Adato and Kong Yang, will be presenting on the geekside of these topics.

For DevOps fans or naysayers, there will be an expert panel on, “DevOps: A Magical Unicorn that is Transforming Service Delivery.”

All the details can be found here on their website

It looks educational, fun and FREE! Topics like the “Crossing the Great Divide” are so applicable in today’s IT world. Personally, I believe companies need to work on getting all teams to cross train or at least play nice together for streamlining solutions to the customer. It is easier said than done.

Recordings will also be available after the live event but you’ll miss out on Q&A and give-a-ways.


Come full circle with NexGen Storage


NexGen is storage that’s not just intended for virtualization, they support Citrix, VMware and Hyper-V,  but general use storage as well.  The founders of Lefthand, John Spiers and Kelly Long came up with NexGen.  Eventually acquired by Fusion I/O and onto SanDisk, as of January 2015, they are now their own entity once more. (insert clapping!)

The main difference between NexGen and other storage vendors with acceleration is that the appliance uses PCIe Flash. Using the memory bus brings in lower latency and higher bandwidth than SSDs.  You can scale out simple by adding PCIe flash devices and interconnects are SAS/SATA between trays.  Flash is only for write cache and RAM is used for read cache.


There are five QoS policies for performance with 3 categories:  mission critical, business critical and non-critical.  Below shows the prioritized active cache for each setting:




 You can map these policies directly to VMware’s storage policies per VVOL which brings simplicity with management.  In the demo, NexGen shows how you can create containers, map them to a policy and deploy VMs to the selected VVOL/policy.

 VVOL Demo

 As far as vSphere, the NexGen appliance is designed to converge infrastructure management to capitalize on the newer vSphere 6 capabilities. They are a VASA 2.0 provider, allow QoS on the I/O type now with NexGen ioControl 3.5.  That means they are the first and only NVMe ready with VM-level QoS.  These enhancements do depend on VVOLS but with it you can change the data-path rather than a SvMotion.

NexGen does provide a vCenter plugin and a web-based interface.
Along with that there is a REST API you can call with PowerCLI or JSON .
With vCenter integration, you can get information like per VMDK storage metrics, IOPS, queue depth, through-put and block-size. SAN metrics are saved for a year on each VM and you can correlate the entire data path for performance statistics gathering.


 At Virtualization Field Day 5,they showed how you can change policies on the fly and it will immediately impact the VM. Bringing up the point that you don’t have to do a storage vMotion to faster storage but just change the policy on the VVOL, seems pretty slick.

NexGen Storage QoS Manager for VMware from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.


Disclosure: I learned about NexGen Storage at Virtualization Field Day 5. All travel and incidental expenses for attending Virtualization Field Day 5 were paid for by Gestalt IT. This was the only compensation provided and it did not influence the content of this post.


Clouds, storage and lobster – Virtualization Field Day 5

I’m very excited to be selected for this event. With VFD4 under my belt, I think I am better prepared for the whirlwind of tech and people. It was a shell shocking type experience that you fully absorb after the fact. Foskett and crew run a tight ship and the vendors are providing as much of a deep dive as possible in 2 hours. If you would like to participate you can watch the stream here and tweet your questions with hashtag VFD5. Looks like it’s a lot about storage and cloudy stuffs. Below are the vendors:


DataGravity, twitter handle @DataGravityInc, is data aware storage. I remember stopping by their booth at a VMUG . The story is intriguing especially in the day and age of HIPPA/PCI compliance. Yes, you know where you are compliant but maybe there is sensitive data, in a different location, unbeknownst to IT.

Infinio, twitter handle @InfinioSystems, offers a software based storage acceleration solution that is non-disruptive. Taking RAM from each host to create deduplicated cache!? No special hardware or flash needed? Sounds pretty neat.

NexGen Storage, twitter handle @NexGenStorage, creates performance service levels for specific data, not after the fact but NOW. Let’s see how they perform the analytics for that

OneCloud, twitter handle @OneCloudSW, offers automated Cloud recovery for DR with customizable levels of protection. They are a headline grabber right now with their offering and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

PernixData, twitter handle @PernixData, with rock-stars Frank Denneman and Satyam Vaghani spreading the good word. Their product, FVP, is deployed within the kernel and accelerates reads/writes using SSD or RAM. It adds life to your slow and lethargic storage array that you just don’t want to invest more $$ in. I had the pleasure of having Satyam(creator of VMFS!) out to discuss this product with my employer at the time. Great stuff and excited to see more.

Ravello, twitter handle @RavelloSystems, is described on their website as a cloud based infrastructure that runs complex VMware/KVM applications with any networking topology on AWS or Google Cloud without migration. DevOps anyone? Interesting and intriguing with some enigma mixed in.

Rubrik, twitter handle @RubrikInc, is definitely a hot topic already with the 41 milliocharliegeen in funding just announced. It will be nice to see what this upcomer is doing that is turning heads. Don’t mess with their security guy either



ScaleComputing, twitter handle @ScaleComputing, is an all in one package. I’ve had the opportunity to see this rodeo already and you can read more here.

Last but not least, VMTurbo, twitter handle @VMTurbo, not only did I see them at VFD4, but I’ve been a customer as well. I wonder if they have something new in the works.

Action packed technology with a side of lobster please.lobster