Enhancing Nutanix Performance, Application Support and Backup Targets
It has been little more than two and-a-half months since we first introduced HYCU, the first purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix, at Nutanix .Next in Washington DC. The word I would use to describe the time and experience since launching is exhilarating! You may be wondering why we feel that way.
First off, it’s the customers. We have had more than 100 customers deploy HYCU to date, with limited to no help from us! Yes, I realize this is not like the “thousands” that some companies talk about, but we are talking about enterprise backup here. Talk about self-service and that is what we have made it. More than that, the best thing for us is to see the satisfied customers who send us notes like, “this is transformational!” And, “I ran my backups during production hours, no one noticed it and the whole thing completed within an hour!”
Second, it’s our partner community. Partners may initially be skeptical when they hear our message, but when they see our solution and realize that we mean what we say about our simplicity and value to customers, they immediately start thinking of which customers they want to take us to. Great to see their enthusiasm.
Third, are our friends at Nutanix. They have been an outstanding partner and every one we have worked with has been exceptional! From their alliances team to product teams to marketing to systems engineers and to sales, it has been a pleasure to work with each and every one we have had the privilege to come in contact with.
And, of course, last but not least, our customers have given us tremendous feedback throughout each and every step of the journey, from the beta process through the initial set of deployments through to today. We have tried to address as many pieces of feedback as we could in our most recent release. Let me give you a quick glance at the latest HYCU highlights:
Expanding the use of Nutanix AOS for backup
When customers started deploying HYCU, one of the first pieces of feedback we received was that customers loved the fact that we can run HYCU right on their Nutanix system and they did not need a separate infrastructure or another silo to manage. As expected, to back up your VMs and apps, customers need a storage target. The most common question we received was, “I love my Nutanix. Can I simplify my backup infrastructure management by using Nutanix Storage Dense nodes as backup targets?” Our answer was absolutely! Some of our customers use the NFS protocol to set it up this way. In this release, we added tight integration with Nutanix systems so that the backup data can be transferred through the Nutanix scale-out storage protocol (ABS) and the backup traffic can be load balanced from the Nutanix production system to the target nodes - significantly shrinking the backup window. The additional good news here is that customers using Nutanix OEMs like Lenovo HX and Dell XC can also do the same.
When I say backup to a Nutanix target, people freak out and say shouldn’t the backup be on a different location than your original cluster. We have to remind folks that as long-time backup practitioners we will not recommend a crazy thing like that :-) We recommend each and every customer set up a separate Storage Dense cluster or if they have multiple clusters, they add capacity to existing clusters and do cross cluster backup. This way, your 3-2-1 backup best practice is maintained.
Support for S3 Compatible Storage for Service Providers
As we started talking with Service Providers and larger customers, one of the top requests we got was for supporting S3 compatible Storage infrastructure. While we offered support for AWS to start, we worked with Cloudian and Scality to test and validate our solutions. We have now broadened our support for S3 compatible storage to include both Cloudian and Scality.
Extended Application Support
HYCU does automated application discovery and app consistent backup and recovery. Since most Nutanix customers also run Active Directory on their Nutanix Cluster, this is the top requested application for discovery from customers. So, we have now added automated discovery and consistent backup and recovery of Microsoft Active Directory.
Expanded Support for Federal, State and Local Governments
Not sure how the love affair started :-) Federal, state and local government customers seem to love Nutanix. As they started looking at HYCU, they really liked what they saw. They asked us to do two things. Make sure we are FIPS compliant and that we have added encryption support. We did both. Even in our prior release customers were able to leverage the hardware-based encryption for data at rest, encrypt data to and from AWS and Azure and also encrypt data at rest on the cloud. But customers requested us to provide end-to-end software encryption for their NFS, SMB and iSCSI/ABS targets. So, we have added it. When customers choose this encryption, the data will be encrypted all the way from source to target and for data at rest.
Performance & Optimization
In general, It’s never a best practice to create large VMs, i.e. VMs in the multi-Terabyte range. However, as we all know, there are always situations where customers may need to create and backup and recover from large VMs for application/business specific reasons. The size of the VMs/apps does impact the backup. HYCU uses Nutanix v3 APIs and all of the backups are incremental. To complement our existing parallel backups, we have also parallelized the task of finding the differentials and have worked with Nutanix engineering to make sure we use the optimal block sizes for backup.
I could go on, but if you are interested in learning more about HYCU or if you are interested in learning more first-hand, then please try it for yourself by going to tryhycu.com. A full list of features we have added to the latest version of HYCU can be found here.