Data protection startup Rubrik has announced an integration with Pure Storage’s FlashBlade product, the first of its kind. It extends Rubrik’s integration with Pure’s existing FlashArray//M lineup.
Rubrik founder and CEO, Bipul Sinha, told me that it’s part of the two companies’ broad integration efforts. “We have over two dozen common customers, and they like the Happy Meal combination we’re able to provide,” he said.
Sinha sees Rubrik’s role as the coordination point between applications and the Pure storage. “We’re a data management company,” he said, “not a storage company.”
Rubrik provides a useful bridge between primary storage like Pure Storage and other, lower-cost storage options like cloud-based S3 storage, or platforms like Cloudian, Scality and Cleversafe. The ability to coordinate application consistent snapshots with primary storage arrays is a valuable addition to the existing functionality provided by Rubrik’s approach to data protection.
“As a FlashArray and FlashBlade customer, we’re excited to pair the Pure platform with Rubrik for our backup needs,” said Katie Bye, Director of Infrastructure, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, in a prepared statement. “The integrations with array based snapshots, combined with the ease of use of both products has greatly enhanced our operations as well as disaster recovery.”
There’s a lot to like about this combination which might escape those without experience in the technical workings of data protection, so I’ll elaborate.
Both Pure and Rubrik target high-end enterprises. Pure sells fast, reliable storage designed for demanding workloads like transactional databases, high-frequency trading, and the like. These are important systems that are often revenue generating, so spending money to make them go faster is worthwhile for customers looking for an edge. Keeping these systems online is important because offline equals lost revenue, and for these kinds of systems, the losses rack up fast. Getting things back online quickly is really important.
It’s this rapid recovery while maintaining uptime that’s the key to the value of the Rubrik/Pure integration.
The Purity operating system that runs on FlashArrays can create snapshots, but it’s a bit of a blunt instrument for recovery. Snapshots operate at a volume level, which is a really big bucket to have to restore if you need to. Restoring a volume means taking all of the data on that volume back to a point in time where it’s okay, and then bringing a system back online.
Imagine you deleted all your email, and to recover it, everyone in your office has to have their mailbox recovered to first thing this morning, and then you all have to retype all your emails again. It’s better than retyping everything since the beginning of the year, but it’s still painful, and not just for you. Are your emails really important enough to be worth this hassle?
That’s the kind of tough call facing those who lose data with a snapshot only backup system. Often, it’s just not worth the disruption to the business for the sake of a ‘small’ restore, so the fact that you have snapshots for backup doesn’t actually help you with the kind of restore you need to do. You still need them just in case you need to restore lots of data very quickly (snapshots are great for this) but less great for more mundane, everyday restores.
Rubrik is great for this second case.
The integration aspect is what makes the combination so powerful. You can get super-fast, space-efficient restores from snapshots without missing out on the every-day data restore functionality you need.
Integrating this kind of data protection with arrays is important for the target customers of both Rubrik and Pure, which is one reason rival backup company Cohesity also integrates with the FlashArray (though not the FlashBlade, at least not yet). Customers with high-value systems want to protect them from loss, and for some customers the value of the fast flash-based storage from Pure isn’t worth the risk of not having fine-grained restore capability. That objection has now been removed for potential customers of FlashBlade.
The addressable market for both companies just got quite a bit bigger, and will help them generate more sales with the same healthy margins they currently enjoy. Pure is already generating solid revenues—$728 million last financial year—and Rubrik has a global annual run rate approaching $100 million. This new integration gives Rubrik access to another class of customer: those who want the higher density FlashBlade systems and are willing to sacrifice a little on pure speed compared to the FlashArray.
We can expect to see Cohesity also integrating with the FlashBlade in short order, and they’ll be joined by older backup companies like Commvault (who already integrate with the FlashArray) and Veritas NetBackup.
This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.