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Top 3 questions to find out if that backup appliance is really an appliance

Joshua Stenhouse 3

When demonstrating Rubrik I’m always asked for comparisons against other solutions, more recently against the incumbent vendor new “Rubrik killer appliances”. First, this is 100% validation of Rubrik revolutionizing the market by virtue of them now following the trend. Second, from reading marketing material, watching videos and listening to sales people, you could be forgiven for thinking that these legacy companies really did create a modern integrated appliance-based solution.

I love technology, I love to innovate, and I only sell solutions which I would buy that enable you to drive IT and your career forward. But, if the technology sucks then I’m confident that the solution it provides will too. Also, if you aren’t implementing the latest technologies to solve your business and IT challenges efficiently then you’ll be left behind. Which I don’t want to happen either. So, the key question with each vendor touting an integrated appliance should be “is that really an appliance or are you selling me the same old crap that gets me and my business nowhere?”. You could ask this direct question, but I can’t guarantee what response you will get. So, to help you make a decision here are my top 3 questions to ask:

  1. Can I start with a 2U appliance and grow in 2U increments?
    This one is easy, if the answer isn’t yes then you’ve got the answer. Take it a step further and ask to see an actual picture of this “appliance”. I’m betting it’s at least half a rack of equipment! If you can’t start with a single appliance and scale out like any modern web-scale architecture should do, then it’s not an appliance. This is:

    RUBRIK_APPLIANCE_You need to be able to run the same platform both on-premises and in the cloud. You need to future-proof your investments in IT, irrespective of current cloud adoption within an organization. You need to be able to start small and only buy what you need today, just like cloud services. Instead, they are offering you a huge 5 year pre-sized Frankenstein hodgepodge of legacy technologies from 1998, 1999 and 2002 running on top of Linux/Windows on a hypervisor, typically vSphere or RHV, with a new badge on it. Everything from cloud, to automation, to even virtualization itself is all a bolt on. They weren’t designed with these technologies in mind and this hodgepodge shouldn’t be deployed in any datacenter in 2017 onwards.

  2. Is there a single interface to manage everything and can it be automated end to end?
    A great way to uncover the truth is how to ask many different interfaces are required to manage it and how much can be automated. If it’s more than 1, it’s either not an appliance, it’s definitely not integrated, or simple. Furthermore, if it isn’t using HTML5 and REST APIs end to end then it’s old tech. It shouldn’t be put into any datacenter moving forward because it can’t be fully automated, and it isn’t simple to use as any modern technology should be. Cloud services are point and click, they can be automated easily. You should be deploying the same tech on premises in order to compete. Flash? Java? Client? Please, no. Only this for me:

    Rubrik Interface

  3. Are you offering me somebody as part of the deal to install and/or manage it?
    Finally, are you going to offer me an external resource to install and or manage it, I.E professional services or a resident? If the answer is yes to either of these then alarm bells should be ringing, if not screaming in your head! A simple modern web-scale appliance-based architecture should be up and running in 30 minutes, ready to go with no professional services. Just as any cloud-based service would be. My mum should be able to do it, and she struggles with sending emails, love you mum! It shouldn’t take weeks. Operationally it should manage itself with minimal human interaction. It’s 2017, we have self-driving cars! We really shouldn’t need an external dedicated resource to drive backups.

    Self Driving CarIf you need to supply somebody to install and manage it, then it’s not a technology you should be investing in.

And that’s it, now you have the truth. Act accordingly. Hope you enjoyed this post. Like, share, contribute or challenge me. I love a good debate on technology!


  1. Henry Coleman Henry Coleman

    Deeply insightful and truly revolutionary.

    • Joshua Stenhouse Joshua Stenhouse

      Thank you Henry!

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