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Rubrik software adds Windows Server support, encryption

Rubrik plans a first-quarter software update to enable its Cloud Data Management platform to support physical Windows servers, software-based encryption and customized reports.

Data protection startup Rubrik will add support for physical Windows servers, software-based encryption and customized reporting in the next version of its Cloud Data Management platform.

Version 3.1 of Rubrik's Cloud Data Management platform will mark the seventh product upgrade since the Palo Alto, Calif., company started shipping products in 2015. The Rubrik software is due to ship before the end of March.

Rubrik's Cloud Data Management combines backup, recovery, replication, Google-like search, analytics, archival and copy data management. The Rubrik software can run on premises, in a commodity hardware appliance that the vendor sells with flash and hard disk drives, and in clouds such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Last year, Rubrik also began making available a software-only version designed for remote and branch offices.

One of the main new features in the upcoming 3.1 release is the extension of support to physical Windows servers. Rubrik added support for physical Microsoft SQL servers and physical Linux servers in the 3.0 product release that became generally available in November.

Rubrik founder and CTO Arvind Nithrakashyap said prior versions focused primarily on VMware virtualized workloads. But, as the product gained wider adoption, enterprise customers wanted the Rubrik software to protect data running on physical servers as well, he said. Future releases will add support for additional platforms based on customer demand, according to Nithrakashyap.

New Rubrik software features are key for law firm

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a law firm with offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York, became a Rubrik customer in November. Evans Vogas, a Montreal-based network operations analyst at the firm, said 97% of the company's workloads run on VMware virtual servers. But, the company still uses legacy Windows servers in production and needs to back them up.

Vogas said the firm uses Commvault backup software to protect the physical Windows boxes, but he looks forward to the day when he can back up all of his virtual and physical servers from the same Rubrik console. He said he encountered problems in the past with software vendors blaming hardware vendors for problems, or vice versa.

"There's no finger-pointing anymore. It's one box, one throat to choke, one number to call. It's their software running on their appliance," Vogas said.

Another important new feature for Vogas is software-based encryption. The law firm's cloud-based archival data is already encrypted, but the in-house data is not. Prior to the 3.1 release, Rubrik previously offered hardware-based, Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2-certified encryption through self-encrypting drives. Vogas said he asked for software-based encryption before buying a Rubrik appliance, and the vendor assured him it would add that feature.

Vogas said software-based encryption will save the law firm a significant amount of money, because hardware-based encryption requires special servers and more expensive storage drives.

"If I had $7 million to spend, I'd probably prefer everything be hardware-based encryption, because it's very hard to break," Vogas said. "But software-based encryption accomplishes the encryption requirement. For myself, this will be sufficient."

Rubrik software adds customized reports

Rubrik's Nithrakashyap said another capability many enterprise customers require is rich, customized reports to manage capacity, track data protection tasks, and comply with service-level agreements for backups and archives.

Rubrik previously included a set of reports with the product. But Nithrakashyap said the new Rubrik Envision feature, due in the 3.1 release, will allow enterprises to create customized reports. Envision can also deliver HTML5-based reports via email, he said.

The fast rise of the company's revenue and ability to get into large enterprises early on has been impressive.
Dave Russellvice president and distinguished analyst of storage technologies, Gartner

The Rubrik Cloud Data Management 3.1 update will be free to all existing customers, according to Nithrakashyap. Rubrik claims it is approaching an annual bookings run rate of $100 million, with a customer growth rate of seven times in 2016.

"The fast rise of the company's revenue and ability to get into large enterprises early on has been impressive," Dave Russell, a Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst of storage technologies, wrote in an email. "This year will be very telling. Can Rubrik maintain, or even increase, the same level of growth and expanded deployment? That will be very interesting to watch."

Russell said he sees Rubrik going up against Veritas NetBackup, the Dell EMC Data Protection Suite -- Avamar or NetWorker -- with Data Domain, and Commvault. He added that startup Cohesity is generating market buzz as well.

"Rubrik's ease of deployment and management, scale-out architecture and overall cost structure are the reasons I see customers interested in Rubrik, and this release should help sustain that -- not that any of those other vendors are standing still by any means," Russell wrote.

Phil Goodwin, a storage systems and software research director at IDC, said Rubrik's market share remains small. He said even Veeam, ranked higher at fifth in the market, has a single-digit market share in the range of 4% to 5%.

"A lot of [Rubrik's] capabilities are wrapped around the ability to fundamentally integrate with the cloud," Goodwin said. "If you look at the way most typical products are architected, they have an on-premise solution, and they add cloud into it. Rubrik has really been designed from the ground up to include a cloud-based component to their solution."

Goodwin said he views the Rubrik software update as a significant one. He said the Windows Server support is important because enterprises virtualize only about 75% of their workloads and still run roughly a quarter on dedicated physical servers. He said encryption has become a must-have for most organizations, and Rubrik Envision represents a key expansion into data management, a trend that IDC has noted.

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