Rubrik 4.0 Alta Release Overview – AHV, Hyper-V, Oracle, and More!

Hello, world! As you may have heard from various other esteemed bloggers (such as David MarshallEthan Banks, Rebecca Fitzhugh, Dan Frith, and many others), Rubrik has announced the 4.0 “Alta” release along with all the goodies that come with that. In a nutshell, this particular version is enormous. We’re adding six major new integrations to the product along with a number of other goodies. These include support for: Nutanix AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor), Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle RMAN, Microsoft SQL Server live mount (instant availability on Rubrik), running VMware backups on Amazon EC2 via the CloudOn feature, support for archiving to tape libraries, and more.

In this post, I’ll go over a few of those bits and bytes for your viewing pleasure, and also highlight some of the resources that have just been released to help bring you up to speed on the new technologies being announced. I’ve been lucky enough to put my hands on these new features as they were being developed and will be doing real, actual demos (not just fancy mock-ups) over the coming months as the team and I attend various conferences and meetups! 🙂

Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV)

I first saw Nutanix back in 2011 during Tech Field Day 8 in San Jose and have been lucky enough to attend all of their .NEXT conferences. The concept sort of “blew my mind” at the moment and I had trouble grasping a collapsed “hyperconverged” infrastructure model. Today, I think it’s really snazzy that the team has managed to go public and build out a global solution that is enjoyed by many different sizes and types of enterprise organizations. Rubrik and Nutanix have very complimentary architectures. Both use a shared-nothing, scale-out approach to delivering performance, capacity, and services.

Put simply, with Nutanix’s v3 API release, you can now perform granular, incremental backups of virtual machines running on AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor) to the 4.0 Alta release of Rubrik Cloud Data Management. The typical first-full, incremental-forever will be supported, and all of the work is being done over our RESTful set of APIs (like usual). Want to learn more about this feature? Here are some resources:

Microsoft Hyper-V

Woah, Hyper-V … what? Hah. As someone who has spent years upon years working with VMware vSphere environments across two different VCDXs, I had some serious catch-up to do around Hyper-V’s technology under the hood. After speaking with hundreds of enterprises across the globe, I can attest that there are some fairly massive shops out there running the Hyper-V platform. I’m talking about 10’s of thousands of workloads across a large swath of hypervisor hosts. Add to that the dedication that Microsoft has shown in the 2016 release with technologies such as Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) for allowing the transfer of changed blocks (similar to VMware’s CBT) and you have a real contender in the data center space.

With the Alta release, Rubrik provides customers a feature parity between VMware and Microsoft hypervisors. The UI and user experience are basically the same between the two platforms, with features such as Instant Recovery, Live Mount, file / folder restores, and so forth all being supported without having to plop agents inside the guest(s) or use IO filter drivers. There’s no reliance on SCVMM, either.

I’ve recorded a brief light board video below to highlight the broad strokes.

I’m also doing a webinar to go deeper into this technology along side long time friend and Hyper-VCDX Joep Piscaer. You can register here for the 13th July webinar. Expect us to get nerdy, because that’s what we do.

Oracle Database Protection with RMAN

For my fellow DBAs out there, we’ve got some new tech for you to savor. The first is support for Oracle databases via RMAN (Recovery Manager). Using our managed volume (MV) to present the Rubrik cluster and underlying distributed storage layer – Atlas – along with RMAN scripts allows for parallel ingest of Oracle databases. And because Rubrik Cloud Data Management is designed to be scalable and self-healing, the use of a floating IP (VIP) allows for node-failure(s) within the cluster without harming the availability of the managed volume. It’s also worth noting that this construct does not harm the global data efficiencies present within Rubrik with respect to deduplication and compression, stretching your logical capacity to match the size of the logical cluster. There’s nothing more annoying than having to match your data patterns against the constraints of an underlying storage system, right?

Check out the technical walk-through below to hear from Andrew Miller and Kenny To with their brief light board video and/or sign up for the webinar on Oracle integration.

Live Mount for Microsoft SQL Server

If you’re running Microsoft SQL Server, we’ve had your back covered since the 1.0 release (virtual machines) and 3.0 “Firefly” release (physical servers). The latter was part of the “Let’s Get Physical” campaign in which my head was pasted onto various athlete bodies (not by my choice). I’ll let you decide if that’s worth a Google search or not. 🙂

With the 4.0 “Alta” release, you can now present data from a Microsoft SQL Server backup directly to a running instance of SQL Server via our Live Mount technology. This does not require the movement of data from Rubrik to the target SQL instance, which is a major constraint when presenting large, multi-TB databases. It makes plucking bits of data from a table or a few databases or running ad-hoc queries super simple without stressing the production storage or network environments. Imagine being able to leverage your backup storage to present database instances for health checks or even upgrade / schema modifications without affecting production … nice, right?

As with the Oracle video above, you can check out this short technical walk-through to hear from Andrew Miller and Kenny To and also sign up for the SQL Live Mount webinar.

Building EC2 Instances from VMware Backups with CloudOn

The final items I’ll cover in this blog post surrounds our new CloudOn feature. This is the ability to take backups of VMware virtual machines and spin them up in any Amazon EC2 instance of your choice. I see this primarily being a way to stretch your current infrastructure into the public cloud for pre-production use cases and was in high demand from several of our existing customers for exactly that. There’s a lot of choice in how this is executed: on-demand, automatic for the last backup, and automatic for all backups. In most cases, you’ll be directly leveraging the S3 archive bucket that is dictated by the virtual machine’s SLA policy which avoids a significant amount of network bandwidth consumption. And because Rubrik and Amazon are both entirely API driven under the covers, creating a workflow that performs the creation of any desired environment (dev, test, QA, sanity checks, upgrade tests, and so forth) is fairly trivial.

In the video below, I cover the high level technical details. You can also view the Cloud Instantiation with AWS webinar.

There’s also a really groovy deep dive from Marcus Faust, API wizard at Rubrik, that goes into the nature of our APIs with respect to building workflows. We’ll have some more nerdy content on the CloudOn feature out soon. 🙂


This is a very exciting release for Cloud Architects and forward-thinking infrastructure engineers who are looking to build a truly software defined data center based on policy, automation, and RESTful APIs. The 4.0 “Alta” release takes some drastic first steps in unlocking public cloud resources to use backup data for any use case your heart desires. While I’m extremely proud of all the work done by the team in this release, the thrill ride is only just beginning!

If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to sign up for the Alta Release webinar series. These 5 presentations will cover all of the techy bits I’ve described above. Enjoy!