Startup Rubrik goes all-in-one with backup appliance

The system includes software and hardware in boxes that can be strung together one at a time

All-in-one boxes are hot in data centers, and the concept is starting to expand into backup and recovery.

A Silicon Valley startup called Rubrik will start shipping a system later this year that combines software for backup, recovery and deduplication with commodity hardware for storage capacity and networking. Rubrik will sell the appliance in standard configurations so customers can just add more boxes as their needs grow.

It's an alternative to the way backup and recovery systems are typically built today, with specialized backup software from one vendor combined with deduplication from another provider and installed on storage hardware from yet another company, said Rubrik co-founder and CEO Bipul Sinha. Like makers of so-called hyperconverged computing, storage and networking platforms, Rubrik can make life easier for IT shops, Sinha said.

It's working at Langs Building Supplies, an Australian vendor of prefabricated parts for new homes, according to Langs IT Manager Matthew Day. The company had already adopted all-in-one systems from Nutanix that store its production data but still found itself with backup systems that were pieced together from different sources.

Those systems require IT to predict how much storage capacity it'll need in two years, which usually leads to overbuilding, Day said. IT also has to constantly make sure the software from one vendor runs correctly on hardware from another, which it often doesn't, he said.

"Instead of baby-sitting production, now we're baby-sitting backup," Day said. A Rubrik appliance, which has been running in test mode for a few weeks, appears to solve that problem, he said.

Hyperconverged systems from companies like Nutanix and Maxta leave the factory with software, hardware and connectivity in one box so users don't have to worry about how they fit together. The same idea is at work in converged infrastructure from companies like VCE, which integrates elements from EMC, VMware and Cisco Systems for each customer.

Rubrik's Sinha was a founding investor in Nutanix and started Rubrik to build a hyperconverged box for backup and recovery. The product comes in a standard configuration with four nodes, which takes up 2U (3.5 inches or 9cm) of rack space. Each system can handle data for about 300 to 400 virtual machines, Sinha said. Customers can start with just three nodes, and prices should start below US$100,000, Sinha said.

At Langs Building Supplies, a four-node Rubrik system holds a backup of all the company's data, reduced down to about 3.5TB through deduplication, Day said. It's running in parallel with the company's current backup system. The Rubrik box takes up less space and should be easier to expand, Day said. He's confident the Rubrik system could run on its own now.

Rubrik's appliance includes both flash storage and spinning disks and is fast enough to temporarily act as primary storage without a slowdown, Sinha said. That means faster recovery time if the primary system fails, because data doesn't have to be moved from a slower backup platform to production storage gear, he said.

There's no limit to how many appliances a customer can combine in a cluster, and Rubrik's software can automatically identify and integrate each new node, Sinha said. It can use Amazon Web Services for replication and long-term retention, and support for other public clouds will be added later.

The 30-person company in Palo Alto, California, was founded by engineers from Google, Facebook, VMware and Data Domain and has raised more than $10 million. A program for early access to the product opened to the public on Tuesday.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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