Sunday, 20th October 2019
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Data management – much more than storage backup and recovery

Druva is a leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering a data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence. This increases the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. DW talks to Druva CEO, Jaspreet Singh.

  1. Please can you provide some brief background on Druva?

Druva is offered as-a-Service, built on AWS, and protects and manages enterprise data across endpoint, data centre and cloud workloads.

We started out ten years ago building disaster recovery software for the financial sector but by 2013 had pivoted to building an intuitive, cloud-native data management and protection solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS). By offering backup in the cloud, we can help businesses turn their data into an asset, making it more open and accessible to improve governance, resiliency, and insights. Druva is trusted by over 4,000 global organisations and we manage over 100 PB of deduplicated data in AWS, holding a number much greater than that of actual customer data.

2.And what have been some of the recent key company milestones?

It has been an incredibly exciting time for us. We have seen significant growth in the last 12 months, with our headcount expanding from under 500 people in early 2018 to more than 700 at the same time this year. We opened a new innovation centre in Pune, India and just opened a new office in Singapore as well as a new headquarters in California.

On the technology side, we have really focused on making it easier for users to backup and protect data, and consolidate it into a single location where it can easily be accessed or searched. Last summer, we acquired CloudRanger, which focuses on backing up AWS workloads, and integrated it into Druva Cloud Platform within two months. At the end of the year we unveiled a first of its-kind partnership with AWS to offer Snowball Edge devices to Druva customers free of charge, and more recently we announced a next generation disaster recovery-as-a-service.

3.And how does Druva distinguish itself within the storage networking industry?

Comprehensive data protection and management as a service goes significantly beyond basic storage or traditional backup. Those systems have been in place for the last 30 years, but the future is in the cloud, and traditional systems are no longer sufficient when data becomes dispersed between so many environments. It’s now about integrating data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and putting in place the critical data protection, governance and intelligent analytics necessary, all while being incredibly user friendly and driving down costs.

The other major difference is velocity - speed of deployment and innovation. Druva can be deployed in as little as a week and we roll out updates as regularly as every month - things that are automatically incorporated into the user experience. There is no patching, upgrading, or downtime required.

4.And, more specifically, the Cloud storage backup and recovery market?

We are the only cloud-native data protection and management offering, and the only one available as a service. This means that Druva Cloud Platform runs in our AWS account, not the customer’s, allowing us to automatically scale resources up and down throughout the day to meet customer needs, giving them all the power and storage needed while reducing costs when operations aren’t running. This dynamic scaling and the use of S3 to store backup data allows us to offer a TCO less than half of our competitors’. Other products claiming to be “in the cloud” require customers to pay for virtual hardware in their own cloud account in order to use the vendor’s service. This virtual hardware runs 24x7 and uses block storage for backup data, and this infrastructure must be maintained by the customer, increasing costs and decreasing service levels.

5.Druva recently launched its next generation Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) – can you tell us what’s new?

Absolutely. Disaster recovery has traditionally been something only available to the largest enterprises due to its cost prohibitive nature and the complicated nature of DR testing. Now, enterprises can improve their business continuity with things like recovery automation, failback recovery, tighter AWS integration, RTOs of 15-20 minutes, and simplified orchestration and testing - all while reducing costs by up to 60 percent. We’ve also incorporated seamless one-click failover to the cloud for on-premises workloads, and for the first time, recovery for cloud workloads with cross-region/account support.

6.Backup and data recovery in and using the Cloud – what are the issues that need to be considered?

Firstly, there’s a core golden rule: don’t store your backup on your primary system. Too often, companies may think their data is secure because it’s stored in the cloud, but any event on that one system, or even a single data centre within that system, can threaten the data integrity of their entire company. Data governance protocols are also critical. Storing your backups with your production system does not prevent malicious actors, or simple human error, from deleting or corrupting core information. True backup and recovery must place robust yet easy-to-use protocols around any and all changes to company data.

Additionally, in designing your backup system in the cloud, you need to understand your business demands, SLAs, and requirements for RPO and RTO. The cloud is an exceptional environment for backup and recovery, but similar to any other solution, you have to make sure it meets your business needs.

Two closely related things that should be considered when using cloud data protection is how the first backup will get to the cloud, since it is much larger than subsequent backups. Similarly, if a customer is not using our DRaaS offering they should also consider how quickly they can transfer large amounts of data for a large restore. Druva offers integrated services to address both needs.

Lastly, any cloud solution is all about shared responsibility. Making sure you and the vendor understand roles and responsibilities for security is key to ensuring a safe work environment.

7.For example, Office 365 users might be blissfully unaware that they have no safety net for their data?

Despite some earlier migration challenges, adoption of Microsoft’s Office 365 has grown unabated with some reports that it is now in use by over half of businesses. However, in outsourcing the pain, businesses are outsourcing the data. Take a look at the O365 service agreement and you’ll see acknowledgement that outages will happen but also that recovery is not a guarantee. In fact, neither backup nor recovery are mentioned in the SLA at all.

Hence while cloud SLAs are all based on up-time, there is no mention of the all important ‘recovery-time’ that is the standard for any serious data protection solution. It’s these sort of challenges that have seen Druva being adopted by a number of firms to support cloud applications, including Office 365, where we have seen 100 percent year-on-year growth.

8.More generally, companies using software-as-a-service applications need to understand just how their data is, or, more likely, isn’t being backed up by the SaaS provider?

Data protection systems integrated into a given SaaS offering do not conform to the all-important 3-2-1 rule that recommends storing your backups away from your primary. Regardless of whether the SaaS provider can recover lost data, the systems are not built to withstand massive attacks from outside sources, and have little to no recourse after a major attack. The difference between effortlessly restoring data from any corner of the business with a true backup solution is night and day when compared to the weeks of customer service support and total system reboots that may be needed through a SaaS provider.

9.So, the headline SaaS uptime quote, which might sound impressive, is rather less important than the time to recovery window?

Remember uptime and availability have nothing to do with data recovery. The system could be completely available and up, even if all your data has been deleted. We see this time and again. When core company data is compromised, and organisations are facing serious potential consequences to their business – a true recovery system is what they need.

10.For end users who have relied on traditional backup solutions and are now looking to upgrade or replace these – what do modern backup solutions offer that can make a difference?

Modern backup solutions offer ease of use, significant cost savings, can be activated in less than one hour – without the customer needing to install or maintain any hardware.

The ability to scale almost instantly, without limits, is why the cloud makes so much sense for backup and DR. It offers the scalability and performance necessary without the huge costs we’ve all associated with backup. In a traditional solution, you have to buy for peak capacity, and hope that is sufficient for three, five, or however many years your contract lasts. You are responsible for updating, patching and maintaining the hardware, and likely have to chase multiple vendors if anything should ever fail.

But the cloud is perfectly tailored for these fluctuating workloads. Companies accessing backup, especially in the event of a disaster, need limited resources for a finite time. Now they only have to pay when that storage is called upon. It’s the insurance policy you only actually pay for when you need to use it.

11.And what should end users look for when they are evaluating various Cloud backup and recovery solutions?

When looking at services, you must first look at the cost and effort of installing and maintaining your own backup infrastructure in your own cloud account. Costs for things like running VMs 24x7, database licensing, storage and egress costs and management and maintenance fees. Of course, with a cloud service like Druva, you no longer need to worry about these costs and can focus more on the end result.

There are also a number of areas of functionality that end users need to consider:

  • Compliance and legal needs - with regional legislation like GDPR, end users need to ensure their cloud backup and recovery solutions offer a solution that makes it simple to address these needs, for example federated search and compliance monitoring
  • A unified view across your IT environment, including endpoints, cloud applications and servers. Businesses need to be easily be able to instantly access any server, device or file
  • Recovery down to the file level - the flexibility to perform a full restore or select any file in just a few short clicks
  • True data deduplication - single-instance data storage to overcome legacy redundancies, and drive down costs
  • High-performance and background action - back-ups should not impede the end user, they should be invisible, automated and conveniently scheduled to ensure easy compliance and more complete backup catalogue.

12.For example, managing the backup and recovery of a multi-cloud environment is not easy?

I wouldn’t say it’s not easy – it requires the right tools. Druva collects data and unifies backup, disaster recovery, archival and governance capabilities onto a single, optimised data set. Multi-cloud environments become challenging when you have a different solution for each vendor or build up data silos. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

13.Druva describes itself as a Data Protection company – why this emphasis?

Building on the points we’ve covered: we take the immense complexity and cost of data protection and management and offer it as a turn-key service. Additionally, the backup of data has become fundamental, but the key is looking to what’s next. Analytics, AI, machine learning? Those sort of services require a technology that is more than simply backing up your data - it requires something that provides a more comprehensive approach to data management.

Some are looking at ways to leverage the value of secondary data as well, but once again you face a challenge when doing so with traditional infrastructure. Such processing requires significant compute, but is often done sporadically. This is why many people do such processing in the cloud, where they can use burst capacity to do this much cheaper than on-premises. That means our on-premises competitors will most likely need to move data into the cloud in order to meet these needs. Our customers already have their data in the cloud, so they are in a much better position to begin using this emerging technology.

14.Before we finish, can you share one or two recent success stories – Northgate Markets and Egan, perhaps?

Northgate Markets and Egan are key examples of both ease of use and significant cost savings.

Northgate Markets is 40 retail locations with 7,000-some employees and managing very diverse data content, everything from retail marketing data to banking information. With such a range of offerings, they needed to ensure compliance with a variety of international regulations and a cloud-first backup and recovery solution like Druva gives them better visibility and control than was possible on-premises. They were able to cut costs by 60 percent, storage size by 70 percent and complete recoveries within minutes.

Egan Company is a leading specialty contractor based in Minnesota with more than 1,100 employees, selected Druva after realizing the “cloud” promised by a hardware vendor wasn’t true cloud. Since moving over, they have reduced risk and cost, increased reliability, and are saving of more than 30 hours a month for maintenance and storage management of the firm’s environment.

About Jaspreet Singh, Founder and CEO:
Founder and CEO, Jaspreet Singh, brings a combination of product vision and general manager experience that has allowed Druva to be one of the fastest-growing companies in the $28B data protection and management market. His entrepreneurial spirit enabled him to bootstrap Druva, which has now raised some $200M in venture funding and over 4000 customers worldwide. His market and technology insights have led him to create the first and only cloud native, Data Management-as-a-Service company, delivering innovative technology solutions and distinctive consumption models that are disrupting the classic data protection market. Prior to starting Druva, Jaspreet held foundational roles at Veritas and Ensim Corp. Additionally, he holds multiple patents and has a B.S. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati.

About Druva:
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry’s first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence–dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it.

Druva’s award-winning solutions intelligently collect data, and unify backup, disaster recovery, archival and governance capabilities onto a single, optimized data set. As the industry’s fastest growing data protection provider, Druva is trusted by over 4,000 global organizations, and protects over 40 PB of data.

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