When Rubrik launched in 2014 with version 1 of the product, it focused on Protecting VMware vSphere workloads. It was able to protect a VMs VMDKs and index the data therein, therefore making the files searchable for easy file-level recovery. In addition, you are also able to live mount a vSphere virtual machine backup snapshot directly from the Rubrik cluster using NFS, essentially bringing the backup snapshot to life as a running virtual machine within seconds. Not only can you do it on one VM, but many virtual machine snapshots at the same time.
But innovation for us doesn't stop at virtual machines. We added support for protecting Microsoft SQL databases, using the native SQL APIs. And yes, of course, we are able to live mount a SQL database backup snapshot from the Rubrik cluster back into SQL server, making the backup snapshot available for querying in MSSQL.
We also support the live mounting of backup snapshots for Hyper-V VMs and managed volumes (containing Oracle Backups).
With CDM4.2 now officially released, I'd like to look at one of the new features we've added, Windows Volumes, and yes, you've guessed it, the live mounting of Windows Volume snapshots.
Windows Volume protection in CDM4.2 enables you to take a backup of a full Windows Volume and therefore the system state. Prior to CDM4.2, Rubrik was able to take a file-level backup of a Windows and Linux VM, but the system state wasn't being protected. In CDM4.2 we are now able to protect the full drive volume, as well as make any backup snapshots of that volume available via our live-mount feature within seconds, by exposing the backup snapshot as an SMB share from the Rubrik cluster.
After a snapshot has been taken of a full Windows Volume, we are able to recover individual files from the volume snapshot (multiple file restores are also a new feature in 4.2), in the same way as what is possible with a VM-level backup or a file-level backup, by either searching for the filename or by browsing the backup snapshot. In addition, we can choose to mount the snapshot which will expose the data within the snapshot as an SMB share:
When selecting the mount option, you will see a list of all the volumes that were backed up with Rubrik:
Selecting the volume and clicking next will present us will a list of available Windows hosts with the Rubrik Connector installed. We can also choose not to mount the snapshot to a specific host, but to rather just expose the backup snapshot via SMB by providing a link to the SMB share:
For someone with a strong background in automation and scripting, the ability to expose backup data of a full Windows Volume via SMB without the need to mount the snapshot to a particular host is a game changer. Remember, this is Rubrik we're talking about. Therefore, if it's in the UI, it was first in the API. And if it's in the API, we can use it in automation. Just think of the possibilities. You can take a backup snapshot of any point in time, programmatically live-mount it via the Rubrik REST API, which will return an SMB link, and use the data in that snapshot for dev/test purposes. When done, just unmount the snapshot again using the API.
For this post, I have selected a C: volume for a Windows host called "mysqldev". I've also opted to mount the snapshot back on to the "mysqldev" host. In the Rubrik UI, we can see the live mount has succeeded by clicking "Live Mounts -> Windows Volumes":
The backup snapshot has been mounted on the "mysqldev" VM under C:\rubrik-mounts:
At Rubrik, we believe that backup infrastructure and the data held within can serve a bigger purpose than just an insurance policy. If you're backing up the data, why not use it in a meaningful way? This feature, as with many other such features in CDM4.2 is just another way that we help enable you to get more out of your backups. Don't Backup, Go Forward!
So, more than a month has passed since I've joined Rubrik on the 2nd of January 2018. Those who know me would know that before moving to Rubrik, I worked for Computercenter for nine years. So what's it like leaving a secure role in a large corporate environment after such a long time, to join a 4-year-old startup?