While the rage of late has been a shift into more agile and efficient operating models based on DevOps principles, infrastructure-as-code, virtualization, and cloud, the reality is that organizations are still relying on physical on-premises infrastructures to provide services. For many organizations, these physical systems are hosting some of their most mission-critical applications, which means ensuring protection is a business necessity.

However, physical servers also present some of the toughest challenges when it comes to data protection. Decoupling data from physical servers and providing an image level, or Bare Metal Recovery (BMR), restore process is much harder without the layer of abstraction hypervisors provide. Rubrik Andes 5.0 seeks to break down these abstraction challenges, providing end-to-end protection around physical Windows servers.

Rubrik’s Road to Bare Metal Recovery

At Rubrik, we designed our platform to be a unified solution that can protect data regardless of where it lives. We dipped our toes into physical data protection with our third product release,  which offered options for administrators to backup on a fileset level. While this functionality is great at providing support for dump-and-scrape backups or protecting a large set of user-created files, complete system recoveries led to lengthier RTOs. We addressed this issue in Rubrik Alta 4.2 with Full Volume Protection (FVP), which allowed administrators to backup and restore complete Windows volumes, including system drives and state. It was here we began to solve use cases around physical Microsoft Exchange with log truncation and VM protection with physical Raw Device Mappings.

While FVP could be utilized to perform a complete restore of physical systems, it still required an OS before the recovery could take place. That’s why we’re thrilled to offer Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) in our Rubrik Andes 5.0 release. While BMR has a number of industry definitions, in Rubrik terms, it’s boiled down to two simple key features:

  1. The ability to recover without having to install an Operating System: This is perhaps the most important aspect as it relates to BMR and maintaining a lower RTO. Having to install and configure an OS before being able to recover applications is not ideal in today’s fast-paced world. With Rubrik, administrators are able to simply boot from a preconfigured Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) image to kick off the BMR process. This allows organizations to eliminate the need of installing an OS before starting your restores, thus lowering RTOs and getting data back into production faster.
  2. The ability to recover to dissimilar hardware: In the past, organizations were often tied to having to procure and set up the exact server make and model in order to process a recovery. Rubrik removes this requirement of having exact duplicate standby servers by allowing physical backups to be restored to similar or dissimilar hardware, whether physical or virtual. This provides a faster time to recover and opens up a multitude of options around possible migrations such as physical to virtual, physical to physical, or physical to cloud.

In true Rubrik fashion, BMR support leverages our simplistic, policy-based approach to providing data protection. Once the Rubrik Backup Service (RBS) is installed on a server, it’s simply assigned to an SLA Domain. The SLA Domain allows administrators to build policy around 4 main focuses of data protection:

  • Recovery Point Objective: how often a backup will occur
  • Retention: how long to maintain these backups
  • Archive: where to store older or aged backups
  • Replication: the ability to move backups to another location

From there, the RBS and its Volume Filter Driver takes care of ensuring only the blocks of data that have changed are sent to Rubrik, while the intelligent software within Rubrik CDM takes care of any retention, archival, and replication policies.

With the copied data stored in VHDX format, Rubrik is then able to provide a very fast restore experience, whether that be a complete recovery to a new server or a simple mount of the data to existing Windows hosts. Booting from a preconfigured Windows PE Image, Live Mounting the desired point-in-time snapshot, and running an included script to perform the restoration of the data is all that needs to be done in order to perform a complete bare metal recovery with Rubrik. No OS installation and no manual disk/partition configuration is required.

Even in this multi-cloud world, we notice introductions of on-premises services such as of AWS Outposts and Azure Stack. This only solidifies the fact that data protection vendors must not ignore the age-old physical system. Rubrik’s BMR provides a robust set of physical backup and recovery features using the same simple, policy-based architecture that is applied throughout its entire design center–physical, virtual, and cloud. To learn more about Rubrik Bare Metal Recovery and other features, check out the Rubrik Andes 5.0 Technical Overview webinar.