Vendor Brief: Rubrik-2018 Edition

Following on from a similar briefing at VMworld 2017 I sat down at this year’s event with a couple of the Rubrik execs to see what’s happened in the last 12 (and a bit) months, and what the future holds for the company.

IMG_20181106_155148405_editLast year Rubrik stood proudly on their flagship product- the “Brik” backup appliance and software, but since then their product range has expanded, primarily with their new lines “Polaris” and “Radar”. I see this as a pivot point in their development- they’ve established a solid foundation (both financially and reputationally) and are now expanding the portfolio and also their headcount, growing from ~350 staff to over 1500 in the past year.

However, as Rubrik VP Jerry Rijnbeek was keen to show, this isn’t a random or extravagant direction, but a journey that Rubrik has been on since it’s inception. Polaris is a data management platform, and Radar builds on that to provide anti-malware capabilities- but they’re both tied firmly into the backup application.

The ingenious bit here is that by sitting in the backup tier, the software “sees” all the data in the organisation, be it originating from legacy servers, a virtualised datacentre, or a cloud application. Even if the backup data is not stored on the Brik but pushed out to alternative storage (perhaps a NAS in the datacentre or commodity cloud storage) the Rubrik software already has enough metadata to be able to provide value.

In the case of Radar, the software establishes what normal behaviour looks like for an environment, it can then spot unusual activity- for example folders rapidly getting encrypted could point to encryption malware running riot on a file server, or a quantity of VMs being deleted could indicate a compromised admin account.  This is when Rubriks traditional powers kick in, allowing for live mounting of snapshots and therefore instant restore from a point before the infection took hold.

I got the impression this was only the first step as well- there were obviously plenty of ideas in the company of what other services they could offer having placed themselves at this particular point in the data chain which everything goes past. I’d definitely recommend keeping a watch here as the potential for useful analytics and automation is massive.

Back on the stand in the Solutions Exchange, in a sequel to last years giveaway of the vSphere Host Deep Dive, Rubrik had a thousand copies of the new Clustering Deep Dive book to give away, with the authors on hand to sign each copy.

Thanks to Jerry, Karl, and Vil for taking the time out of their show schedule to sit down with me and to Frank, Niels, and Duncan for their hard work signing books at the giveaway.

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 in a spirit of full disclosure I did independently pick up a signed copy of the vSphere 6.7 Clustering DeepDive book being given away on the Rubrik stand and enjoyed an evening out at the annual Rubrik VMworld EU party.

Quick PowerCLI- Getting VM hardware versions

A quick PowerCLI snippet for examining what VM Hardware versions exist in your virtual environment:

Using the “Group-Object” cmdlet we can run up a quick count of all the VMs on each hardware version

Get-VM | Group-Object Version

Count Name                      Group
----- ----                      -----
42    v13                       {VM1,VM2,VM3...}
257   v8                        {VM4,VM5,VM6...}
70    v11                       {VM7,VM8,VM9...}
2     v4                        {VM10,VM11}
5     v10                       {VM12,VM13,VM14...}
2     v9                        {VM15,VM16}
2     v7                        {VM17,VM18}

This can be refined using “Sort-Object” to put the most common hardware version at the top of the list.

Get-VM  | Group-Object Version | Sort-Object Count -Descending
Count Name                      Group
----- ----                      -----
257   v8                        {VM4,VM5,VM6...}
70    v11                       {VM7,VM8,VM9...}
42    v13                       {VM1,VM2,VM3...}
5     v10                       {VM12,VM13,VM14...}
2     v7                        {VM17,VM18}
2     v9                        {VM15,VM16}
2     v4                        {VM10,VM11}

We may only be concerned with VMs that are Powered On, so “Where-Object” can be used to filter the original list.

Get-VM  | Where-Object {$_.PowerState -eq "PoweredOn"} | Group-Object Version | Sort-Object Count -Descending
Count Name                      Group
----- ----                      -----
66    v8                        {VM4,VM5,VM19...}
51    v11                       {VM7,VM8,VM9...}
33    v13                       {VM1,VM21,VM22...}
5     v10                       {VM12,VM13,VM20...}
2     v9                        {VM15,VM16}
1     v4                        {VM10}

This quick snippet can be useful when establishing the range of hardware versions in an environment, or estimating the amount of work involved in updating VM hardware to a modern standard across an estate.

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VMworld 2018: Dev 4 The Ops Team

A recording of my VMworld 2018 talk, thanks to the vBrownbag team.

I believe every IT Ops person, SysAdmin, and vSphere administrator should do some coding, and this session will explain how to get started. This session will cover the core concepts required along with some PowerShell/ PowerCLI examples. The session is aimed at vSphere admins with little coding experience and they should come away understanding that coding isn’t something to be fearful of.

The additional resources mentioned at the end of the video can be found here: Devs4Ops Resources

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VMworld Europe 2018 Sunday

VMworld Europe 2018 officially started today (4th November) with registration opening this afternoon. The IT world has descended again upon Barcelona and you can’t go far in the airport or on the streets or metro without overhearing talk of virtualisation and VMware.

pyrreneesAfter flying in over the snow-capped Pyrenees (yay for November!) the Sunday offers a chance to get settled in, collect your conference badge, and find your bearings before the doors fully open tomorrow,

Delegates visiting the Fira Gran Via conference centre this afternoon got a glimpse of what is in store this week. The Hands on Labs area is adjacent to the main entrance in Hall 6.0 again, with the VMware Store opposite. Further down the hall are the VMTN, vCommunity, and {code} areas, and the VMware Education lounge. These areas are currently off limits to us regular delegates, but doors open bright and early tomorrow.

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After registering there’s the option to collect your VMworld 2018 bag or –in a new scheme this year- donate the equivalent money to a charity. And don’t worry if you can’t register today- the desks are open all week.

Top tips for registration:

  • Remember your passport (or other “Government issued ID”- you’ll need it to collect your badge.
  • Install the VMworld App (and login to it) before you get to the venue- this makes badge pickup really quick.
  • Swing by the information desk and ask for your complimentary 10-trip Metro ticket.

vRockstarSponsorsThe vCommunity is out in full force as usual and I’ve already caught up with several familiar faces. Tonight I’ll be attending the annual vRockstar gathering where I’ll be looking to meet up with even more friends from previous years and make some new ones too.