Update: As of November 2019, HYCU has announced general availability of Nutanix Mine with HYCU. This represents the first backup solution to be GA since launch.
Today at .NEXT in Anaheim, Nutanix announced Mine, a secondary storage platform that integrates with Nutanix Enterprise Platform and provides data protection capabilities for applications and data on Nutanix systems. The interesting feature of the solution is the ability to use software from a range of providers, each of which will integrate natively into PRISM.
Nutanix is creating a level playing field that will make it possible to easily compare one backup vendor with another. So how will this play out?
Scale-out File System
If we look back at the implementation of data protection solutions from the last few years, one common feature has been the creation of a scale-out file/object layer that underpins the platform. Data is backed up and stored on the file system, which can be scaled, moved or replicated. We’ve seen this in solutions from Rubrik, Cohesity and latterly Commvault.
As a target, the file system separates the logical backup process from the physical data. In previous products the target may have been tape or a de-duplicating appliance. Alternatively today, public cloud can also be a storage target.
With the introduction of Mine, Nutanix is bringing a range of data protection vendors to the table that initially include HYCU and Veeam, but will eventually include Commvault, Veritas and Unitrends. Customers will have the choice to deploy the software solution they require and to install from the Nutanix Marketplace (Calm). Mine appliances come in either small or medium form-factors (details in this data sheet).
By making the hardware agnostic, Nutanix has pushed all the differentiation in the backup solution into software. Each of the potential vendors will stand or fall by the quality and features of their software products. This is going to make for an interesting comparison.
First of all, backup vendors will need to provide the capability to integrate with the PRISM GUI. In the on-stage presentation today, Sunil Potti implied that backup vendors would have native integration. This means Nutanix must have created a standardised API that the vendors need to support. It also makes me wonder if there’s a standard set of backup definitions (as I discussed in this recent post).
So if your product isn’t driven by API in the first place, you could have a problem. Remember that APIs need to be both front-end for management and back-end for accessing application data (as discussed in this post).
Then there’s the question of efficiency. Which backup solution will be most efficient at backing up data from the Nutanix platform? Which vendors have integrated with APIs for Files and Buckets? These will be important questions to ask. How will backup solutions scale on the Mine platform? Will there be a limit to the number of supported virtual machines and data?
I like the idea that data protection can be a service that is just plugged into the infrastructure like DNS or Active Directory. However, for some time I’ve been talking about HCI backup requirements being different. Looking back at the post I just quoted, you can see a list of HCI backup benefits I put together just over a year ago. It’s worth looking at this list and considering the features in light of the Mine announcement.
The Architect’s View
The details on Nutanix Mine are thin on the ground at this stage, however, I’m looking forward to getting briefed on some of the product details as soon as possible.
From a vendor perspective, it looks like both HYCU and Veeam will support Mine in 2H2019 (which of course is anywhere between July and December 2019. HYCU looks to have support for Mine ready already with the release of HYCU for Nutanix 4.0 (see this blog). Of course, Veeam ON is just around the corner, so perhaps we can expect an announcement there too.
Data protection continues to be interesting, as the value of data continues to be a focus for the enterprise.
Do not reproduce without permission. Post #51C5.
Disclaimer: HYCU, Inc is a customer of Brookend Ltd