When Amazon introduced the 1-click concept for online shopping back in 1997, that gave customers the ability to make purchases online with a single click of the mouse—eliminating the need to make the selections and enter the same information again and again before buying something – it was hailed as a revolution. It took people some time to get comfortable with it, but no-one asked “why did you simplify my life?” When you look at IT today, we have come a long way in terms of automation, but we still have a long way to go. I am pretty sure that at least 60% of the tasks we ask admins to do day-to-day can be streamlined and automated. Most of these tasks are repetitive and not something IT admins enjoy doing, but they deal with them. At the end of the day, we all want to do something where we feel we are adding value and not doing something mundane.
When we started building HYCU, the first purpose-built backup and recovery solution for Nutanix, we decided to adopt Nutanix’s one-click philosophy. As we all know, protecting data is a critical and complex task. Legacy data protection vendors are smart and built the best they could with the technology at the time of their original design. Some people ask me why they can't do what we do and do it better. They may be able to, but changing architectures in a traditional architecture is hard and they also need to worry about breaking the operational processes of their customer base. This is a classic conundrum companies face. Since we were building data protection from the ground up, we were lucky to have the luxury to leverage many evolutions in technology, platform services from Nutanix, question beliefs built around a tape-based backup world, question technologies that were built around full backups all the time, enhancements to virtualization technologies, as well as micro-services and API-first philosophy. We also tried to borrow learnings from other IT Services and apply it to data protection.
The first task in a backup product is to backup the data – you must be saying no kidding! When customers use our one-click backup, all they are doing is selecting the one or more VMs or apps they care about and applying one of the pre-built policies. The rest is magic. Well, not totally magic, but HYCU does the work for the customer. When I say that, people immediately ask me how do I know if HYCU has done its job. Well, unless it tells you there is a problem you should not have to worry. But, if you want to quickly get a view of how things are, go to our dashboard or go to one of the VM or apps pages and we will tell you in a synthesized fashion if you are compliant to your policies and if you are protected. If you are wondering, shouldn’t compliant mean it is protected, then you are right. But, there are instances when you are protected, but not compliant, so we tell you both.
Let me tell you a little more about the “magic” that we need to do to get you to a compliant state without bothering you. When a customer applies a policy to an application or VM, we look at the policy the customer chose, determine how often they want to backup and how much they have to recover in a worst case scenario, look at the size of the VM, dynamically determine which are the targets that have the bandwidth and latency that we need to comply with the policy the customer chose and then schedule the backups, retention management, etc. Well all of these are details the customer does not have to worry about. These are there just to inform you how we do it.
When a customer applies a policy to a VM or app, the customer does not have to tell us what level of consistency they want or whether we should do application consistent backups. Every time we do a backup, we automatically choose the highest level of application/VM awareness and consistency we can provide for that environment. So, again this is automated and no need for the customer to worry. So far, I have not come across a customer who wants a lower level of consistency than what is possible ☺
HYCU’s backup methodology involves leveraging Nutanix’s v3 API and because of that, we get just the incremental blocks that have changed. V3 API enables us to take storage level snapshots and that makes us hypervisor agnostic and also allows us to be not constrained by the hypervisors that limit the number of snapshots customers have to keep. When I say “storage level snapshots” some customers have immediately jumped to the conclusion that we are too low level. I have had to remind them that we take an application/VM context, but leverage the storage level snapshots to do the work. So, it is the best of both worlds.
When starting backups through HYCU Virtual Machines view, HYCU creates an application consistent snapshot of the Virtual machine using Nutanix v3 API’s. VSS based application consistency is ensured by utilizing Nutanix NGT tools installed on the client machine. If NGT tools are not installed, or fail for any reason, HYCU will still continue to backup, but will perform a crash consistent snapshot.
We are sure some of you reading this blog are skeptical of what I mentioned above. You must be thinking to yourself, “yea right, one click –backup for enterprise level backups.” Don’t take our word for it, check out HYCU at tryhycu.com. And watch the video to see how we approach 1-click backup for Nutanix Enterprise Cloud customers.