Expanding The Simplicity of HYCU to ESX, AFS and ROBO Environments
Thanks to all the fantastic customers, resell and distribution partners, alliance partners and Nutanix, we received a tremendous number of requests, suggestions and feedback to HYCU. Our engineering team has kept on top of all of them at a such a rapid pace that I have too many things to share with you. So, let’s get into the good news.
Back in June, when we introduced HYCU, the purpose-built backup and recovery solution for Nutanix, at .NEXT in DC, the most often asked question to us was: when will you support ESX? We are very happy to let all of the customers and our partners know that we have heard them and have added support for ESX in our latest release.
People who hear about support for ESX for the first time for HYCU, ask the following question: how do you differentiate HYCU in a crowded field? I love this question. Here are few of the reasons that make our support for ESX fundamentally different:
- No More VM Stun: I had the opportunity to meet a customer in Melbourne who had to stop his backups because they were causing his ERP application to mess up because of VM Stun and resort to DR as his only hope to recover in case of a disaster. Similarly, in Nice, I spoke to another customer who told me that they had to stop backing up their MS Exchange Server because it was triggering failover of the Exchange Servers due to VM Stun. HYCU is now a savior because it completely eliminates the VM Stun problem. If you want to learn more about VM Stun and how it impacts applications, please read my colleague Goran Garevski’s blog. Unlike every other vendor who supports ESX in the Nutanix environment, HYCU provides the Application/VM level view to the end user, but leverages the storage level snapshots for backup instead of the classic hypervisor level snapshots.
- Minimize Impact on the Production Application: The storage level snapshots also eliminate impact on the production application. This not only reduces the overall business impact, but it also allows customers to reduce the safety buffer they plan to use in their production environment and factor in the impact created by the backup.
- Maximize ROI for Nutanix Investment: Unlike all other backup vendors, HYCU is the only solution that leverages Nutanix’s snapshots not just for backup, but also for recovery. Again, the benefit to the customer is that they don’t require separate infrastructure for “instant” or “rapid” recovery. This is just built in and we leverage Nutanix’s capabilities to get the best ROI for the customer
Extended Application Coverage
After Microsoft SQL Server and Active Directory, the most common application found in a Nutanix environment is MS Exchange. HYCU now automatically discovers Exchange Servers running in your Nutanix environment and will automatically protect them with consistency (without you even having to do anything special) and all of this is without agents. It is still a single click backup policy application for customers.
As customers started using our SQL solution, they asked us as to why we can’t extend our solution to help them with their test/dev use cases by cloning databases or making consistent copies of individual databases to alternate test instances. We said yes and now customers can leverage HYCU to automate consistent cloning for the DBs and also integrate into Nutanix CALM or their orchestration tools of choice via HYCU’s functional REST APIs.
Scalable Backup for a Scalable Filesystem
Fileshares are extremely useful for customers. From the volume of data that can be created, it’s important to make as much as you can from the almost 10x volume that’s created in classic VM data scenarios. As we all know, file shares don’t exist in a vacuum, but have Applications and end-users as consumers. Nutanix’s Acropolis Fileservices (AFS) does a fantastic job of providing scale out file shares for customers and is very price competitive. In addition, AFS can coexist with a customer’s existing traditional applications and VM data and thus can leverage the infrastructure and for Nutanix customers, they get a single pane of glass for the entire dataset.
One of the biggest challenges customers of traditional file shares face is backup: how do they protect the millions of files in a timely and cost-effective manner? The NDMP method of backup was invented in a world where the NAS systems were built to scale-up and not scale-out. With scale out systems, the problem becomes even more acute. We’re helping to solve these issues with HYCU thanks in large part to our work with Nutanix leveraging their Change File Tracking API.
HYCU is the first vendor to announce support for the CFT API and for delivering the first, efficient and scale out backup for AFS.
- HYCU leverages the scale out function of AFS and does the backups in parallel. So, even the first full backup can be completely parallelized by the number of nodes the customer has in their system. So, if in a traditional system if it took ten hours to backup data and if the same data is spread over five nodes in the AFS cluster, with HYCU, a full data backup can be parallelized and completed in about 1/5th the time.
- When it comes to the second, third and the nth backup, HYCU will leverage the Nutanix filesystem snapshots and Nutanix Change File Tracking (CFT) APIs to copy just the incremental file changes. This dramatically cuts the time it takes to backup. Even the backup of the small amount of incremental changes, can now be parallelized. This benefits the customers in the following ways:
- Cuts down the time it takes to backup by almost 1/100th, because on average only <1% of the data changes in any given day.
- It saves a tremendous amount of computing resource for the customer because the traditional crawling of the filesystem is completely eliminated with this approach.
- Increases the Recovery Point Objective for the customer, i.e. reduces the amount of data loss in case of a failure/disaster. The reason we do this is because of the ease of the backup of the filesystem and because of the small amount of resources and time it takes. Customers can now run a lot of frequent backups and not have to worry about bogging down their system. Ask a traditional NAS vendor and a traditional backup vendor to prove this?
Extend Your Datacenter Backup Simplicity to Your ROBO
Pretty much every large organization has Remote Offices and Branch Offices (ROBO). Nutanix’s platform and its management capabilities make it a perfect fit for organizations with ROBO environments. Customers running ROBO sites have two key requirements that they want to tackle without having to put IT staff in each of the remote sites:
- Need DR to have business continuity in the event of a remote site disaster
- Need backup to get over human error, application failure and compliance requirements
Nutanix does a great job of providing remote site DR and customers generally have a central site where they setup DR too. When it comes to backup, it has been a pain for customers to manage a large number of remote site backups. In addition, customers also have to ship data twice over the WAN from the remote site to the central site – one for DR and one for backup.
With the new version of HYCU, customers now have a scalable, efficient, extremely cost effective and simple to manage solution. With Nutanix and HYCU, customers get a combined DR and backup, but without the incremental human resources and they can cut the network bandwidth by as much as half. HYCU coordinates with Nutanix DR and does the backup from the central site instead of the remote site. But, when it comes to setup and recovery, the customer does not have to change anything – they just discover like a regular cluster and they recover just like a normal cluster. So, customers get two capabilities for the price of one!
HYCU in the Nutanix MarketPlace
When you ask an enterprise customer what they like about cloud, they will tell you that the simplicity of deploying new applications is what they adore the most. Nutanix Marketplace delivers the same for the Enterprise Cloud Platform – both on premises and in the cloud! Now with the Nutanix Marketplace, Nutanix has allowed partners to deliver the same simplicity to our joint customers. HYCU’s blueprint for the Nutanix Marketplace does not provide just a check-box integration. It is a comprehensive, and yet simple blueprint providing complete provisioning of one’s backup infrastructure. We are glad to have worked with Nutanix and have HYCU as a simple-to-deploy HYCU app on the Nutanix Marketplace. No waiting, no hassle deployment of HYCU right from Prism Central!
There is more in the latest release of HYCU, and I could go on and on. If you are interested in learning more or giving HYCU a try, please visit tryhycu.com. Our goal is and has always been to provide Nutanix users with the best data protection solution in the industry. In order to do that, we need your feedback and suggestions. So, please keep them coming!