Rubrik looks to redefine backup with converged scale-out platform with Apple-like experience

Rubrik sees itself as a threat to every backup vendor, with an offering that will focus on the mid-market at first, and will be sold 100 per cent through the channel.

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Arvind Nithrakashyap, Rubrik co-founder and CTO

Palo Alto–based converged data management vendor Rubrik has poked its nose out of stealth, announcing that it both has received $10 million in Series A funding and launched the Early Access Program for its Rubrik Converged Data Management platform. They expect to fully emerge from stealth with product later this summer.

Most startups have bold visions, and Rubrik’s is one of the bolder ones. With executive leadership and engineers that have a track record of building and managing innovative cloud and hybrid technology solutions, Rubrik intends to assault what it sees as a stagnant backup and recovery market, giving customers a more efficient and much easier to use alternative that they see as a mortal threat to every existing backup vendor out there. They also intend to do this through a 100 per cent channel strategy.

“There has been very little innovation over the last decade in the backup, secondary storage market,” said Arvind Nithrakashyap, Rubrik’s CEO and one of its four co-founders. “The basic premise of backup products is still very complex. Organizations spend a lot of time and money managing their backup, unlike consumer backup, where something like Apple Time Machine requires no real effort from the user. We asked, why can’t enterprise backup be similar?”

Rubrik ‘s intent is to make it similar, and to give commercial backup admins a consumer-like experience, with converged data management that integrates backup, eliminating the need for a separate backup software or service, as well as for globally deduplicated storage.

“It is extremely simple, like Apple Time Machine,” Nithrakashyap said. “It immediately discovers all the virtual machines in the data centre and in 15 minutes, you are off and running. It is extremely simply to scale out. It only takes a few seconds to bring your systems back. It also converges backup storage and backup software into a single system, and I don’t know of any other system that does that.”

Rubrik’s leadership has a strong track record of building revolutionary technologies. Their four listed co-founders include Bipul Sinha, the CEO, who was a founding investor and board member in Nutanix and PernixData and a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, which led the funding round. Arvind Jain, the Vice President of Engineering, was a Google Distinguished Engineer and was also the founding engineer of Riverbed Technology. Soham Mazumdar, the company Architect, was co-founder of Tagtile, which was acquired by Facebook, and was the architect of Google’s disk-based search index. Nithrakashyap was co-founder of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Cluster Principal Engineer.

“Our engineers also come from companies like Google, Facebook, VMware and Data Domain, and they are applying the same kind of solution to the backup market,” Nithrakashyap said.

“This is a team of exceptional quality that is building this technology, from both consumer and enterprise companies,” said Julia Lee, Rubrik’s Director of Marketing. “We will make this an Apple–like user experience.”

In addition to Lightspeed Venture Partners, Rubrik’s investors have sterling credentials as well., John W. Thompson, Microsoft Chairman, but best known as Symantec’s CEO in its heyday, is an angel investor. Frank Slootman, ServiceNow’s CEO, and formerly CEO of Data Domain, and Mark Leslie, Veritas Founding CEO, are investors as well.

Unusually for a startup with enterprise technology, Rubrik will be selling 100 per cent though channel partners out of the gate, in part because they are extremely conscious that other companies with interesting technologies got terrific traction starting in the mid-market.

“Our solution is enterprise-capable, but we are starting with the midmarket, like companies like CommVault and Veeam that started in this space,” Nithrakashyap said. He indicated that Nutanix, with which CEO Sinha was closely associated, was another example of a startup that successfully entrenched itself in a hurry with a mid-market strategy.

Smaller companies who would be considered SMBs are clear targets as well. Rubrik’s reference customer is an Australian building supply company with two stores and 250 employees. Their largest customer in beta has about 1500 virtual machines. Virtual environments are a particular focus of emphasis at this time.

“There is really no technological limitation,” Lee said. “Because we have a scale-out system, we don’t have the limitations that others do, and we can handle petabytes of information.”

All Rubrik sales will go through partners. Right now, they are working with VARs, but they plan to expand that.

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Julia Lee, Rubrik’s Director of Marketing

“We are 100 per cent channel driven,” Lee said. “This market is moving to easy-to-use form factors that are easy for channel partners to sell. That is why while we are a software company, we make our product to go on commodity hardware.

“We have a dozen customers now in our early access program, and all of them are working with a partner,” Lee added. “Right now, with an appliance, we are working with VARs, but we will be looking to work with MSPs with a different form factor.”

Rubrik is also aggressively looking to partner with large cloud providers like Google.

“These are all partnerships we want to build and pursue,” Nithrakashyap said. “We have built an agnostic platform to support all types of cloud providers and container technology.”

Nithrakashyap emphasized that Rubrik’s offering will become a very real threat to all the existing backup companies.

“We have a lot of IP in our system, and doing something like this becomes much harder if you have an established product,” he said. “Any other vendor who wants to try and compete with this would have to build out something from scratch.”

Rubrik is anticipating its formal launch later this summer.