Rubrik’s Live Mount for VMware VMs is one of those features that has been around since the very first version of the product. But over the last 5 years, the feature has changed a bit, broadening to support both SQL Server and Oracle databases as well as Hyper-V VMs. And as the breadth of what Live Mount supports has expanded, so has its capabilities. Live Mount offers both security and efficiency enhancements, but the core technology that powers the ability to take point-in-time snapshots of objects stored within Rubrik and present them back to a source has remained unchanged. And let’s face it; 5 years is a long time, and during that time, we have seen Live Mount providing our customers a means to restore faster, as testimonials like the one below can attest.
But aside from just faster recovery, we are also seeing our customers utilize Live Mount to solve some other challenges in their day-to-day operations.
Being able to duplicate point-in-time copies of a production environment with Rubrik Live Mount supports many unique scenarios that stretch far beyond recovery. If you are wondering how Live Mount may fit into your operations, think of it as an enabler rather than its own solution. Here are some fairly common and very unique use cases that can be built around Live Mount:
It’s been ingrained in the minds of backup administrators everywhere that all backups must be tested. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in a recovery scenario where a backup has become corrupt or something within the application doesn’t seem to quite like the way it was recovered. Using Live Mount, we are able to take those VM backups and present them back to the hypervisor, running them as any normal VM. Once mounted, it’s as simple as accessing the server as you normally would and running manual or automated testing scenarios against our applications. This gives us the piece of mind that when the time comes, our restore processes will function as required. Since Rubrik is used as the storage and there is no data rehydratation, Live Mount far outperforms traditional backup testing applications that require a complete restore.
Application Upgrades/Patch Testing
We all know how scary application upgrades and patching can be, and we’ve all managed that one piece of software that seems to break something every single time we upgrade it. Enter Rubrik Live Mount. By creating duplicate point-in-time copies of our production workloads, application teams are able to run through the process of upgrading their applications and applying security patches to the secondary copies of data. This allows them to iron out the process and document any unforeseen issues that may occur. In the end, organizations can plan production upgrades with a complete list of what to look out for, thus minimizing downtime.
It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – time for the auditors. Granting auditors access to production data and services is sometimes a daunting experience for security teams. With Live Mount, we can simply spin up duplicate copies of the applications, data, and services they need – letting them run their queries and inquiries on copies of our data, minimizing the load and performance impact on production resources.
Penetration and Security Testing
Hardening applications should be front and center for any organization, but validating efforts is tough when dealing with production workloads. Pointing popular penetration testing services like Backtrack or Kali towards production resources leaves many with an uneasy feeling. Since Live Mounts are exact duplicate copies of our production environment, we can use them as a target for our testing needs. Better yet, we can fix and validate the security holes on the Live Mount first, ensuring one patch doesn’t affect another before duplicating our hardening in production.
Executing long-running queries to generate reports and gather data from primary systems often adds more load to our production systems. Off-loading these reports and queries to execute against a Live Mount copy of our data or databases can help to alleviate the load on our production systems, ensuring that day-to-day operations are not affected by any reporting that needs to be completed.
Similar to upgrades and patching, Live Mount can be used to safely perform configuration changes and testing on duplicate copies of our production data. This opens up doors for testing out processes such as Group Policy changes or Active Directory schema updates.
Application Item Restore
At times, complete image-level restorations don’t make sense. For example, if we just need to restore a SQL Server table or individual rows, we probably don’t want to bother with the hassle of completely restoring the server and copying the entire server back to our production storage. By utilizing Rubrik Live Mount, we can quickly mount a copy of our backup and grant access to our application administrators. From there, we can take advantage of native tools and applications to simply export individual application objects from the Live Mount and import just the data they need back to production.
Organizations that have started to adopt the DevOps cultures and principles have taken advantage of things like more frequent code releases and decreased downtime and bugs. A big part of this is being able to rapidly and automatically grant developers access to test environments in order to develop and test code builds. With Live Mount, we can provide our developers with exact point-in-time copies of our applications and development environments, allowing our developers to test their code in a production-like environment, safely and securely. Even better, due to Rubrik’s API-first architecture, we can easily integrate Live Mount into our CI/CD pipelines, allowing automation to do the work for us.
Live Mount has been a pinnacle cornerstone of Rubrik since the day it was released, as shown by the sheer number of use cases and unique ways our customers are using the feature. It’s reaching far beyond just being a simple recovery tool, solidifying the fact that Rubrik is not just a backup solution, but a true data management solution. Do you have any unique or custom ways your organization uses Live Mount? We’d love to hear them – send us a tweet and use the #RubrikLiveMount hashtag.