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Rubrik backup helps Castilleja School move to cloud

California school sees Rubrik converged data protection and AWS S3 as key building blocks for a multi-cloud strategy, with archiving as the first step.

As the lone IT person responsible for data protection, Terry Young felt like he was spending too much time babysitting backups when he came to the Castilleja School.

Young, Castilleja's senior network and systems administrator, set out to modernize IT at the independent school for girls in grades six through 12 in Palo Alto, Calif. He turned to all-flash primary storage, converged scale-out data protection and the public cloud.

Castilleja added a Rubrik scale-out node-based appliance around the same time it switched to Pure Storage all-flash arrays in 2015. While shifting from tape to Rubrik backup, the school also began using Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for long-term backup and archived data.

He said the switch made backups and restores easier and also enabled the school to move to a cloud utility model. Young envisions Rubrik backup as the centerpiece of a long-term multi-cloud strategy.

"We went from tape to a more utility model where you pay for what you consume," Young said. "This was an easy way for us to get our feet wet with cloud services and the utility model. I've been looking at what workloads make sense in cloud."

Castilleja School's Terry YoungTerry Young

Young said he has tested Rubrik's CloudOn but has yet to implement it. CloudOn enables users to turn on applications in AWS for disaster recovery.

Young said he wanted to reduce the number of discrete products he needed for data protection. He also sought a system that would enable direct recovery with no performance hit.

'Babysitting' backups no longer required

Castilleja purchased a four-node Rubrik backup appliance to protect data on about 50 virtual machines (VMs), all backed up and archived to AWS. Young said he has about 41 TB of archives on S3. Rubrik appliances include its Cloud Data Management software, alleviating the need for separate backup software and disk target products.

Rubrik simplifies a lot for us.
Terry Youngsenior network and systems administrator, Castilleja School

"Rubrik simplifies a lot for us," Young said. "Before, I felt like I was babysitting the system, constantly having to check in, make sure backups went through and no errors were generated. With Rubrik, I set up a policy, and off it goes. If there are errors, you proactively get an alert, and I haven't received any alerts in terms of something failing."

Young uses Rubrik's policy engine to automatically send files to S3 after a certain time period. He said about 80% of Castilleja's archived data is in S3. "Archiving to the cloud is a critical element here," he said.

Young said Castilleja also evaluated Cohesity, which launched around the same time as Rubrik with a similar scale-out converged secondary storage appliance. He said he considered Rubrik's product more mature, especially around its S3 support.

Young said data reduction features were key to his purchase of Pure for primary storage and Rubrik backup and secondary storage appliances. He said his Pure array provides about a 4:1 deduplication ratio, and Rubrik gives him around 40% data reduction.

Young said another benefit Rubrik backup brought is simplified single file search.

"Recovery is also simple. Not long ago, someone reached out to me and said 'I need a copy of a specific file because I accidentally made changes and I have to go back a couple of days.'

"We used Rubrik's predictive search. You select the virtual machine the file was on, type in the name of the file that the user identified, and the file will pop up. You select how far back you want to go. It will retrieve the file from a local copy. We found a local copy on a snapshot, and it probably took less than five minutes."

In addition, "I can spin up a VM directly off Rubrik without having to migrate the data. I can go find whatever I need to, and quickly destroy it after that."

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