Nutanix customers find themselves in an interesting situation. On one hand, they have a scale out hyperconverged infrastructure system that has helped many people expand their virtualization environment. But some Nutanix customers find themselves in need of a backup solution.
If a Nutanix customer – or any virtualization customer – uses VMware or Hyper-V as their hypervisor, they can choose from a variety of backup and disaster recovery solutions that support those platforms. Usually, they interface with vSphere Data Protection or Hyper-V Volume Shadow Services to provide their functionality. Customers using products designed specifically for VMware or Hyper-V get to take advantage of all aspects of virtualization, including advancements in backup and disaster recovery.
But Nutanix also offers its own KVM-based hypervisor, which is called AHV. The biggest advantage to AHV over VMware and Hyper-V is cost, as it is included in the cost of Nutanix. It supports high availability, VM migration, and optimized resource utilization. It also works with the Acropolis App Mobility Fabric (AMF) that allows customers to easily migrate workloads between hypervisors and different runtime environments.
Nutanix AHV does include an integrated data protection component that can perform snapshots of VMs and replicate those snapshots to another Nutanix cluster. There are other solutions on the market designed for KVM that customers can potentially leverage to backup a Nutanix cluster. But until now, none of them are designed specifically for Nutanix.
Comtrade Software is introducing HYCU (pronounced haiku) as the only purpose-built backup and recovery solution for Nutanix. Hoping to channel the simplicity of haiku, which is poetry in only three lines and 17 syllables, Comtrade claims you can deploy HYCU in only three minutes and learn it in four.
Like the backup product built into Nutanix AHV, HYCU leverages snapshots for data protection, which are then replicated to other storage. Where the built-in solution can replicate to a Nutanix cluster, HYCU adds backup to any NAS system and to Azure or AWS. It does not require agents in the VMs in order to protect them, and Comtrade claims it is extremely simple to install and use. It automatically discovers all apps in any VMs in a Nutanix cluster, and offers a “one-click” configuration to start backing up those apps. The product offers a very easy-to-understand interface that shows at a glance all VMs and apps and what percentage of those VMs and apps are protected with HYCU. It also shows whether you have enabled any self-service backups for any applications, which allow that administrator to perform their own backups using HYCU. Finally, it shows a high-level view of your backup storage, jobs, and events and how they are performing. You can drill down on any of these widgets to get more detail, of course, but from this single pane of glass you can see quite a bit.
An easy to use backup solution is always a good thing, and HYCU is purporting to be just that. The ability to perform storage level snapshots instead of VM-level snapshots, automatically discover applications, and to allow application owners to perform their own backups are all very valuable features. Nutanix seems to have a large enough customer base to warrant making a product specifically for them. Comtrade software claims that its technology can also support other hypervisors, and time will tell if that is the case.