Rubrik emphasizes Data-Forward Enterprise theme at FORWARD Digital Summit

Rubrik’s first global customer event – virtualized by the pandemic – emphasized their vision for data management and how their applications fit into it, befitting the goal of a younger company to make itself and its value proposition better known.

Rubrik FORWARD in a single slide

Rubrik’s first international customer event – which they dubbed Rubrik FORWARD – was supposed to get underway today in Chicago. Instead the coronavirus intervened, and the event became a digital one. It seems evident though from the event’s name, and its theme, as well as the presentations themselves, that the messaging remained the same in the new format. Rubrik used the show to articulate the most current conception of its vision and the solutions around it.

“We are only six years old and are still very early in this journey to build a very long enduring company,” said Bipul Sinha, CEO and co-founder at Rubrik, in the kickoff segment of the opening keynote. Like all such keynotes these days, it was delivered remotely. The neutral backdrop, emblazoned with frequently changing slides gave it the feel of a formal keynote however, instead of another cozy basement office presentation that makes an exec look about to introduce an episode of Masterpiece Theatre.

Sinha gave a high-level overview of the evolution of data and building applications from the on-prem days of Oracle, SAP and Siebel, through the rise of cloud and SaaS which chopped the cost of building applications, up to the present era of

IoT and intelligent devices and endpoints generating tons of data for business to leverage – if they can.

“Welcome to the world of Data Forward enterprises,” Sinha declared. “There will be two types of enterprises moving forward – those who know how to leverage data, who will be Data Forward Enterprises, and those who are also-ran.”

The key to leveraging the data, Sinha stressed, is the quality of the metadata.

“If you have rich, well-leveraged metadata, your data leverage is exponential,” Sinha said. “This was at the back of our mind when we started Rubrik. Backup and recovery was a way to create a strategy for leveraging data. We started focusing on the simplification of backup and recovery. We created a complex metadata platform, and on top of that we built a data operations platform. The first data operator was Backup and Recovery, but it was all built so multiple operators could be built on top of the data.” Cyberresilience and data governance applications followed.

“We took the business problems and converted them to business operators on the metadata, and delivered turnkey data management applications that Data Forward enterprises need,” Sinha said. He noted that this vision really served Rubrik well, with exponential growth that has produced a $600 million bookings run rate, as well as an audited NPS customer satisfaction score of 82.

Arvind Nithrakashyap, Rubrik’s CTO and co-founder, followed with a deeper dive into the technology. The central point was Rubrik’s ability to deliver data immutability, which he emphasized was a differentiating feature for them.

“We have a unique approach to data immutability, which means that data can never be modified,” Nithrakashyap said. “He emphasized that recovery is what people pay for in backup and recovery, not backup, and that this capability was a key defense against ransomware.

Dan Rogers, Rubrik’s president, was a contrast from the two founders who preceded him to the virtual stage, since he just recently joined the company, from ServiceNow. His role was to provide more detail about the three applications – backup and recovery, cyberresilience, and data governance – on top of the platform

“They all rely on our understanding of the metadata to search, and to develop policies around that,” he said. “Our backup and recovery application lets us creates SLA policies and apply them wherever they exist.” Their Radar cyberresilience solution and Sonar data governance offering both leverage the ability to search the metadata as well, and discover anomalies created by bad actors or information that violates compliance regulations. Most of what Rogers discussed was not new news, but was rather a delineation of how Rubrik’s vision translated into the application layer. He did, however, spotlight the changes in the last 6 months, and he did announce the three news pieces around the event.

Rogers contrasted legacy backup, which he described as complex, slow and expensive, with what her termed Rubrik’s radically different and radically simple approach.

“Our SLA-driven backup policies replaces what can be 3500 backup jobs in an enterprise with 3 SLAs,” he said. “We have made it even simpler in the last 12 months, adding more supported apps and adding in CDP into SLA policies. It’s all accessible by APIs, and customers can build their own applications into the Rubrik backup.”

Rogers said that legacy backup is not built for recovery speed, because you have to move data and roll back restore points, and while it can be done in 5-6 hours, with big VM deployments it can take days.

“Rubrik takes a few clicks, because you do an instant search to find the right point in time rather than silo searching,” he said. “Data doesn’t have to be moved, because point-in-time snapshots are moved directly to the host.”

Rubrik’s 5.2 release of their Polaris Data Operations Platform release two weeks ago brings what Rogers termed ludicrous speed to VMware and Oracle backups, which is now 3x faster vs competitors.

“We recovered a 23 TB Oracle DB in 30 seconds, which would normally take 5-6 hours,” he noted.

Rogers then announced FORWARD’s news announcements – three new workloads to be protected by Polaris. They began with new support for Google Compute Virtual Machines, to provide the same level of support Rubrik has offered for AWS and Azure workloads, available as a service. Secondly. Polaris AWS cloud protection has been extended to support Amazon RDS. And finally, Rubrik expands its existing support for Microsoft 365 applications to protect OneDrive.

“These were the workloads which our customers wanted us to protect most,” he said. “Since we began with Microsoft 365 protection, extending it to OneDrive is very natural for us. These are all native cloud protection, not bolt-ons.”

Rogers then discussed Radar and Sonar, the other two applications.

“Polaris Radar shows what files have been changed, and our backups are immutable, so you can roll back and not pay ransomware,” he said. “You can’t say that with any other solution on the market today. Because we capture metadata, you can look at any anomalies in the files to give pinpoint accuracy on bad actors doing things to files.”

Rubrik is offering free Radar subscriptions through July to introduce it to more customers.

Sonar, the newest of the applications, was introduced in the 5.1 release last summer as a data governance and compliance offering.

“The metadata lets us look at where data is to determine if it meets regulations. Rogers said. “We do it without taxing the production environment, because we do it off backup data. One customer used Sonar to find 2500 files with PII [Personally Indentifiable Information] on them.”

Both Radar and Sonar were then demoed virtually, with Rubrik engineers and  a customer [Reading University] participating. CEO Sinha then ended the opening keynote with a split-screened virtual fireside chat with Chris Gates, CTO of AllState, a long-time Rubrik customer. The keynote was followed by 27 breakouts, chosen by what customers said they most wanted to hear.

“Our aim is to have a world class digital event, which will preview our strategy for the market,” Rogers said. “When you switch to a physical event you are never sure of the uptick, but we have over 7000 registered attendees – one of the largest cloud data management conferences. They want a vision for the industry. They want to be inspired. And they want to learn.”

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