The Interesting Challenge of Backing Up NAS

Rubrik is pleased to announce support for backing up Network Attached Storage (NAS) such as NetApp and Isilon with our 3.0 Firefly release.

Given that NAS support is one of the most common customer requests in 2016, we are offering an innovative solution for managing NAS data that provides faster Recovery Point & Recovery Time Objectives (RPO & RTO), incremental-forever backups, and cloud archive capabilities. We’re delivering these capabilities without sacrificing storage efficiency or tying the customer to a complex NDMP-based (Network Data Management Protocol) solution.

What makes NAS so difficult to back up?

Two characteristics make NAS backups difficult:

  1.  Agents – It is impossible to install an agent since NAS is sold as an appliance.
  2. Dataset Size – NAS systems and datasets have grown in size with the industry. When NDMP was first introduced, a very large NAS dataset might have been 10 TB. Today, NAS datasets typically tend to be huge, running into 100s of TBs or PBs.

For these reasons, traditional backup vendors using ancient approaches like NDMP have failed to keep pace in providing fast, incremental-forever backups with efficient storage usage and short RTOs.

What are the advantages and differentiators of our approach?

  1. Vendor Agnostic – Our approach works with all NAS vendors and protocols. There are no vendor-specific plugins and no need to keep up with changing vendor proprietary formats and APIs.
  2. Native Format – The data is stored on Rubrik in the “native” format. This is in contrast to an opaque format like NDMP, which needs to be “unpacked” before any restores can take place. In our approach, the backup data is instantaneously recoverable, which results in significantly reduced RTO.
  3. True Incremental Forever – Our approach supports incremental forever, obviating the need for periodic full backups (unlike NDMP). This reduces backup windows (shorter RPO) while making efficient use of the network bandwidth, as well as the storage on the secondary system.
  4. Full Rubrik Capabilities – Our approach to backing up NAS provides instant access to all of the data management capabilities of the Rubrik platform, including replication to DR, cloud archive, global search, erasure coding, and more.

Are there existing successful implementations?

We have several key customers already using this solution to backup their NAS. It is common to have 50-100TB of documents and about 10 million total files. One customer is using this solution to back up >2PB of NAS with more than 1 billion files. This makes us confident that the solution is scalable and robust.

For more details, please download TechFAQ – The Interesting Challenge of Backing Up NAS or reach out to your Rubrik sales team.

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