Category Archives: VMworld Europe 2017

Vendor Brief: Rubrik

clip_image001Rubrik have become the new “cool kid” of backups and in the past couple of years I’ve seen lots of enthusiasm in the community for the product. To reinforce this their stand at the Barcelona show featured a Mercedes Formula 1 car, their marketing giveaways include custom LEGO figures based on Mr Men books (you can’t not be cool with that combination), and they topped it all when they gave away 1000 copies of the Host Resources Deep Dive book by Niels Hagoort and Frank Denneman to attendees. Aside from the swag Rubrik have made impressive steps in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and received awards at VMworld US last month.

Whilst at VMworld I was privileged to be able to get a Rubrik executive briefing with Bipul Sinha, Cofounder and CEO, and Jerry Rijnbeek, Director of Sales Engineering. This was a great paring for me, Jerry being the salesman was suitably enthusiastic and outgoing about Rubrik both now and in the future whilst Bipul was quieter, more reserved, whilst exuding confidence in the product they had built and its ability to simply meet a backup requirement quickly and painlessly.

This confidence is reflected in one of Rubrik’s big selling points- there are numerous customer stories offered where it’s taken hours (or less!) between an engineer arriving onsite with a Brik and a virtual environment being protected. Rubrik achieves this by owning the whole backup stack- they supply the hardware in a 2U box called a Brik and they write the software (“We are a software company” I was reminded). Therefore, with a VMware environment at least, it’s pretty much just a case of giving the box some IP addresses and pointing it at vCenter.

Rubrik as a company was founded in 2014, and sells itself as building a product for now, rather than adapting a product built for the past. This is a position which in my opinion divides the backup market- on the one hand are the more longstanding vendors (or at least those that follow a traditional model) who start from the position of file and database backup to tape and have then incorporated backup to disk (and cloud) and backup of virtual environments. Rubrik (and others) are coming from the other direction, building a product for today’s virtual environment backing up to disk or cloud and then incorporating things like file and database. Both routes have their merits depending on the environment that needs protecting.

A key feature in the Rubrik model is the ability to recover the backup quickly. This is done by provisioning a datastore directly from the “Brik”- one single unit can offer 30K IOPS, so even a production workload can be stood up almost instantly without the need to copy back to primary storage first. Once running the application can be vMotioned back to a more permanent location when convenient.

Another traditional feature of backup which is turned on its head is the notion of a backup window and schedule. A modern application doesn’t necessarily have a quiet time between 3 and 4 AM, especially in our 24/7 always-on world. The Rubrik software looks at the VM usage over time and tries to make an intelligent decision on when to do the backup- ideally when the CPU isn’t off the charts for example.

clip_image002After the briefing Jerry took me back to the show floor and introduced me to Rutger Kosters (VCDX #209) who was kind enough to spend some time showing me a live demo- I was assured that 10 minutes would be enough for me to learn 95% about the product, it’s so straightforward.

Whilst 10 minutes might be a bit generous before taking on a production environment, we were able to go through a number of the features. Taking a VM, protecting it using the web-based UI (APIs are also available) and then pulling up a backup snapshot for use as a test VM. Beyond the basic “Brik connected to vCenter” Rutger was also able to show me how a second box could be added to scale the capacity, or to add replication. There’s also the possibility to replicate to the cloud for longer retention (via NFS/S3/Azure).

Whilst I’m aware that this was a sales pitch, and the flip-side of the coin is rarely shown in such situations, I was impressed particularly by the simplicity the solution offers in protecting a Virtual Environment

Beginners Guide to….. Rubrik

What does it do?

It backs up your virtual environment and enables the opportunity to use those backups for test/dev, recovery testing, etc.

What do I need to buy?

A “Brik”- a 2U box which needs power and network connectivity. This contains four nodes and some disks.

How do I use it?

To Backup– Point your Brik at vCenter using the web interface, select VMs (or folders/ datacentres etc) and apply a backup policy.

To Restore– Via the web interface or API, stand up the VM directly on the Rubrik appliance, Storage vMotion it (back) to primary storage if required at your convenience.

Where can I find out more?

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a trade show rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment, although I did independently pick up a Rubrik LEGO minifig and a signed copy of the Host DeepDive book. Oh, and a fidget spinner.

VMworld 2017 Europe Tuesday Keynote

Even when VMworld US had been weeks in advance of the European event there had been a lot in common between the keynotes so with the two legs being just days apart this year more similarity was inevitable. My write-ups of the VMworld 2017 US keynotes can be found elsewhere on this blog, so I’ll be trying to avoid too much duplication.

Jean-Pierre Brulard kicked off the proceedings touching on the tragic events that occurred in Barcelona only weeks ago before welcoming the eleven thousand visitors to VMworld who had travelled from 95 countries across the globe.

Continue reading

VMworld 2017 Europe Monday

clip_image001Yesterday the VMworld faithful started arriving at El-Prat Airport in Barcelona, heading to registration at the Fira Gran Via, and checking into their hotels in the city. To get the event started the annual vRockstar gathering offered the chance to renew old friendships and make some new ones. This year vRockstar found a new home by the marina at the “Soho House” club. Thanks again to the organisers Patrick Redknap and Marco Broeken and the numerous sponsors they managed to persuade to dip into their pockets.

Monday morning, bright and early it was time to go back to the Fira and have the Monday morning explore. Monday is primarily Partner/TAM day but there are a number of sessions open to all attendees, plus the Hands-On Labs, Education Lounge, and VMTN Community area are all up and running in the VMVillage. Continue reading

VMworld

Session Builder Now Available- VMworld Europe 2017

The Session Builder, the place where attendees can book spaces in the sessions, is now online for VMworld Europe 2017.  It’s accessed through the Content Catalog on the website.

Session Builder

Session Builder

There’s over 500 sessions to choose from and whilst not essential, booking a place on the one’s you want to see is recommended. When the doors to a session open at VMworld pre-booked attendees are let in first and only if there are any spaces left will they be filled from a queue outside the room. Don’t reserve in the Session Builder and you might miss out on some of the more popular sessions.

Although the Content Catalogue has been online for some weeks now, the Session Builder is the first time we will see when particular sessions are. There’s a calendar feature which helps plan your days and help make sure you don’t have any timetable clashes. Continue reading

VMworld Europe 2017

It’s confirmed- I’ll be returning to Barcelona in September as an official Blogger for VMworld Europe 2017. Thanks again to Corey Romero and the VMware Community team for extending me this opportunity.

Following the 2016 event I’m looking forward to a week of intense learning whilst meeting old friends and making new ones. If you fancy joining me, here’s what you need to know about registering and getting to the event:

What, When, Where?

VMworld Europe is the EMEA leg of the largest virtualisation conference in the world. It offers not only an front-row seat to the latest and greatest offerings from VMware themselves but also the newest developments from the massive ecosystem of suppliers that VMware sit in.

This year the conference returns to Barcelona slightly earlier than usual- on the 11th to the 14th of September. This is just 10 days after the equivalent US event.

Getting that Conference Pass

Registration for the conference is open now and there’s a number of discounts available to help keep the cost down. The Early Bird Rate runs till 20th June and takes 200 Euros off the price. Additionally if you’re a VMUG Advantage subscriber or VCP certified you can get an additional 75 Euro reduction. Finally there’s lower prices for groups (if you want to take your colleagues along) and for Alumni of the event.

Check the registration page on VMworld.com for full details and to register online.

Getting There

Barcelona is served by the city airport – El Prat – with flights from most locations. Once on the ground there is a direct Metro connection to both the conference centre (€4.50 per ticket) and the city, shuttle buses (€5.90) to the city centre, and of course taxis are readily available.

Plane

Easyjet. One of the many airlines that serve Barcelona airport.

The conference centre- Fira Gran Via– is located outside the city centre, and easily accessible on the Metro. In previous years I’ve found this to be a quick, safe, and reliable method of getting around town. The entrance to VMworld is adjacent to the “Fira” station on the L9 Sud metro line (see here for some more info) and free metro passes are usually available for attendees from the conference reception. If not a “T-10 ticket” is currently 10 Euros and valid for ten journeys- you can purchase them at the vending machines in any station (which have multi-language support).

Fira Gran Via

VMworld 2016 at the Fira Gran Via conference centre.

Accommodation

When booking your conference pass for VMworld you can also book a discounted hotel room from their official list, but there are many hotels, AirBnBs, and apartments available in Barcelona. In my experience I would recommend finding a hotel near to a Metro station- locations near Plaça de Catalunya, Avenue del Paraŀlel, or north-east of Plaça de Espanya along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes are all handy for both the metro links to the conference itself but also the evening events which are held in the city centre and beachfront areas.

W Hotel in Barcelona

The W hotel on the beach- one of Barcelona’s premier hotels. Great views, but you’ll want a taxi to get anywhere.

Questions

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me below or on Twitter and I’ll help if I can. The VMworld organisers themselves can be contacted through the conference website or Twitter, or link in the hashtag #VMworld for community assistance.

Go on, VMworld is less than 100 days away so register now and I’ll see you there!