New in Rubrik 4.2 windows volume protection

Rubrik Alta 4.2 and Data Management

In my first post about Rubrik I called the system a data protection platform. Whilst this is still somewhat accurate their continued and rapid evolution has made me reconsider my position and consider if Rubik’s offering is a true data management platform? In this post we will look at why we need data management and what’s new in Rubrik 4.2

Technology brings challenges

Each new technology wave brings its own set of advantages that drive user adoption but also bring a new set of challenges. If you rewind a few years to when virtualisation was the new kid on the block I have a short tale of new technology and new challenges. At the time I was working as a server administrator for a large local hospital.  In the role we faced major challenges as an underfunded government organisation including a large, ageing, and distributed server estate. I strode confidently into our IT director’s office at the time with a proposal to virtualise everything and told him with a mixture of enthusiasm and naivety this would be the solution to all our problems, no more old hardware, everything in one place and easy management.

We did go ahead and virtualise our environment making a massive positive impact to our daily operations but it did of course bring a whole new set of challenges which I had not foreseen such as reskilling staff, VM sprawl, poorly planned VM’s popping up with little missing AV monitoring etc.

Increasing Data Challenges

One of the key challenges companies face today with the evolution of technology is data management. Whilst good data management is not a new requirement, several factors are combining to make it an increasing priority. Previously companies were less reliant on their data, there was a lot less of it and crucially it was most likely in one place and in a limited number of formats. Like in the virtulisation example hybrid-cloud has allowed significant benefits such as flexibility and choice but has also brought challenges including managing and protecting data across multiple locations and formats.

Managing data

I am sure there is a definition somewhere of good data management but to me it is having the right data in the right place at the right time. You of course want this data to be highly available, portable and be able to do all this from one place where you can get a global view.

Rubrik offers a one stop shop with their cloud data platform which aims to deliver backup, instant recovery, replication, search, analytics, archival, compliance, and copy data management.

Rubrik cloud data management

If we look at the release history of Rubrik in recent times we will start to see the picture forming of a complete ecosystem for data management, each release has allowed data to be pulled in from more sources to combat the complexity of data management in hybrid-cloud.

Rubrik Alta 4.0

  • Oracle RMAN
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Nutanix Acropolis
  • Cloud Instantiation:

Rubrik Alta 4.1

  • Azure CloudOn
  • AWS GlacierCloudOut
  • Google CloudOut
  • AWS C2S (Defense Cloud)
  • Hyper-V SCVMM
  • Azure Stack Support

Rubrik Alta 4.2

  • AWS Native Protection (EC2 Instances)
  • VMware vCloud Director Integration
  • Windows Full Volume Protection
  • AIX & Solaris Support

4.2 A Deeper look

AWS Native Protection (EC2 Instances) – Snapshots used for protection in AWS have until now been a manual process driven via scripts. Rubrik leverages AWS API’s to orchestrate and manage snapshots.  This is a key value proposition since it allows your AWS backups to be managed from a central console like the rest of your infrastructure, plus can be managed in an automated and policy driven fashion. Other neat features include the ability to restore into another region.

The screenshot below shows an example of policy driven backup, retention period and backup window for EC2 instances are being set.

Rubrik AWS Backup

VMware vCloud Director Integration – Rubrik extends support not only in the public cloud but private by offering VMware vCloud Director support. Rubrik allows policy based management of VM’s organised via vApp like the VM’s themselves in vCloud. Instant recovery, file restore and recovery of network settings are available functions.

Windows Full Volume Protection – Users can now protect entire volumes that sit on physical Windows servers.  The crash consistent snapshots capture not only the data on the volume but also permissions and volume size information. Potential use cases for this feature include cloud to cloud migrations e.g. AWS to Azure, P2V and backup up RDM’s in physical mode.

New in Rubrik 4.2 windows volume protection

AIX & Solaris Support – Rubrik continue their march to be the one data platform to rule them all by not only enhancing cloud and VM support but adding further operating systems to the supported list. AIX and Solaris are now supported offering the same feature set as other systems including policy based management,compliance reporting and cloud archive. As well as backup / restore this offers the opportunity for migrations via Rubrik.


Data management is going to become an increased focus in coming years driven by the perceived increase in value of data,the challenges of a distributed environment and data regulation laws. Rubrik looks well placed to ride this wave and I look forward to seeing how they develop and the product evolves.

Further Reading

Rubrik 4.2 Datasheet

Rubrik Cloud Data Management 4.2 Announced – “Purpose Built for the Hybrid Cloud”

Ice Cube and Kevin Durant join Rubrik

Rubrik 4.1 – Whats New?

You can do it put your back into it

Rubrik have returned from VMworld victorious having won two awards, the first for best in show and the other gold for data protection best of show. Plus they now have more celebrities associated with the company than are in Oprah’s address book.

Ice Cube and Kevin Durant join Rubrik

Enhanced Microsoft Support

Last week they took the show on the road to MS Ignite where a series of enhancements were announced in Rubrik version 4.1.  4.0 Alta was a major release, if you missed it check out my blog post which summarises the key functionality, plus as a bonus features pictures of Cookie Monster.

Given the announcement was made at MS Ignite let’s check out the Microsoft enhancements first, 4.0 introduced the concept of restoring VMware vm’s into the AWS cloud.  4.1 extends this functionality to Azure. This technology which is termed CloudOn can be orchestrated from within the Rubrik interface and is a simple two click process.  The sizing of the target instance is determined by reading the local VMX file of the VM.

Rubrik CloudON Azure allows VMware VM migrations

ClouON has several use cases, DR seems obvious and removes the need for a dedicated data centre. Test and Dev in a similar manner allows you to quickly stand up and remove instances as needed. Following the recent announcements regarding VMware AWS, Ravello Cloud Rubrik adds to this ever-growing list of lift and shift options for moving to the cloud by offering a permanent failover option.

Further Microsoft related announcements included full support for SCVMM and Azure Stack support.


Security/manageability was enhanced in this release with the introduction of multi-tenancy. This essentially allows the creation of logical management boundaries similar to what would be called domains in Windows land. In Rubrik terminology these management boundaries are established with organisations. Once you have established an organisation you can then assign roles to grant privileges. Roles vary from global admins who are the big dogs with complete rights down to end users who have basic restore capabilities.

Google Cloud

The list of supported cloud providers is extended beyond AWS and Azure to also include Google Cloud. All classes of Google Cloud Storage are possible targets ranging from cold line where you would store long term data to multi regional for more critical data. AWS Glacier is added as a potential storage target for a job. Although Glacier is the cheapest target for storage caution needs to be exercised when placing data here since retrieval costs can be significant. Use cases here would be long term storage for data that was would be unlikely to be needed. Additionally Rubrik now offers Vault functionality on S3 and Glacier which protects data from being deleted. This can be useful for legal and regulatory compliance

You can read more in the official press release and this nice summary from Ed Morgan

Rubrik announce Cloud Data Management 4.0 (Alta)

Rubrik have today announced the 4.0 release of their Cloud Data Management platform. Before we go through what’s new let’s have a quick chat about what Rubrik is. The product is essentially a next gen data protection system, someone from their marketing department will probably want to punch me on the nose when they read that, and say but it does so much more! And indeed it does, the system aims to fulfil the functions shown in the following graphic:

Live SQL Mount

I am going to start with the new feature that excites me the most as a storage admin, because it will help us to control our mortal enemy, the SQL DBA. All storage admins know that SQL DBA’s always want stuff yesterday.

Oh and they love RAID 10

Well Rubrik have introduced a feature called live SQL mount which does what it says on the tin. To be clear this is not the live mount of a VM containing a SQL DB but the live mount of an actual SQL DB to a VM. So long as the database has been backed up with Rubrik it can be easily mounted by clicking live mount within the Rubrik interface. Use cases would include testing of backups, test and dev or quick roll back to a production DB since the DB can be queried as normal


Another one for the DBA’s, Oracle backup support has been added. This is enabled via Rubrik calling the native Oracle backup tool RMAN. This approach means that ASM and all topologies including RAC etc are supported.

The RMAN backups will use Rubrik as a target via an NFS mount point. One of Rubrik’s core design principles is that it is immutable, this essentially means that the backed up data cannot be changed or tampered with. Rubrik have remained consistent in this approach by the NFS target not being continually exposed but only available after being called and made read/write as part of the backup process. This is reassuring that the backup files you may need to rely on in a ransomeware attack would themselves be safe.

Tape Still not dead

I love this story. People have been trying to write off tape for years and yet another start up is adding support for it, and why not tape remains hard to beat for the economics of long term archival. This functionality is enabled utilising Q-Star which allows tape libraries to appear as NFS or SMB targets via a gateway server. The gateway server must to be physical.

Take me to the cloud

Backups of VMware VM’s can now not only be stored in S3 but also started up and ran in AWS. This functionality will be useful to quickly access data on archived VM’s, test and dev, DR etc.


Hyper-V is added as a supported hypervisor . Rubrik is able to support any version of Hyper-V via the connector service but is able to offer the full feature rich backup service to customers running Hyper-V 2016.


Support is also extended for another hypervisor Nutanix Acropolis, this is Nutanix’s own home baked implementation of KVM. The process of the backup is a snapshot is created which is compared to the base, any differences between the two ingested and then the snap removed.