Data Protection is the Key to Hyperconverged Adoption – HYCU Briefing Note

Most HCI systems are first purchased to be the platform for a specific greenfield project within an already busy data center. The goal is to expand HCI use as new projects come online or old ones are ready for IT to migrate to a new system. The land and expand process has worked well for HCI companies like Nutanix and HPE’s Simplivity. HCI vendors though are missing a key opportunity to accelerate adoption of HCI, data protection.

HCI, from an architecture perspective, is an ideal foundation for data protection, the architecture scales easily, allowing it to keep up with capacity growth and most HCI environments have plenty of available CPU to run the software. In addition, companies like Nutanix are delivering dense nodes, which are ideal for the backup use case.

The missing ingredient for most HCI companies looking to leverage data protection as part of their land and expand strategy is to have backup software that integrates into the HCI architecture. As we discuss in our recent article “Why Backup is Breaking Hyper-Converged Infrastructures and How to Fix it”, without the data protection software being integrated into the HCI architecture, the organization is forced to deploy another server group and can’t fully leverage the HCI investment.

HYCU Announces External ESXi Support

HYCU Data Protection for Nutanix is a backup and recovery software solution designed specifically for Nutanix customers. Up to this point, its primary focus has been protecting data within the Nutanix cluster. It has the same look and feel as Nutanix and fully exploits the storage services that Nutanix provides. For Nutanix customers the solution is ideal. But of course few Nutanix customers are “Nutanix-only”. Most have a mixed environment with multiple VMware clusters.

In its most recent release, HYCU is delivering the ability to backup ESX servers outside of the Nutanix cluster and store within it, the protected copies of data. HYCU, formerly Comtrade Software, can demonstrate where using their solution with Nutanix high-density nodes is actually less expensive than alternative legacy solutions. The new feature means that from the same interface, IT can direct backups of non-Nutanix VMware environments into the same storage pool as backups of the Nutanix cluster so the organization can protect its entire VMware investment in with a single interface and storage pool.

This latest update also includes the ability to protect Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS). Nutanix is using AFS to target large deployments of Isilon and NetApp, offering customers a more scalable and flexible unstructured data repository. The problem with most large scale-out file systems is figuring out a protection strategy. Now with HYCU, Nutanix, unlike the other solutions, can provide a meaningful backup alternative.

HYCU also continues to tie up data protection loose ends. It has had stun-free backup support for MS-SQL and Exchange for a while, in this release it adds the same support for Oracle applications running within the Nutanix environment.

StorageSwiss Take

Data protection is a crowded market, the key to success is to focus in on a segment of the market that is underserved and then expand out from there. HYCU did exactly that. It started by providing Nutanix Acropolis support, expanded to Nutanix ESX support and now is expanding its reach to non-Nutanix ESXi environments. All of this progress has occurred in less than two years. For a Nutanix customer, HYCU deserves serious consideration, for a prospective HCI customer trying to decide which HCI solution to get; HYCU might just tip the scales in Nutanix’s favor.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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