Make it Better — NAS Backup & Restore with Druva — Part 1

Peter Elliman, Director of Product Marketing

Do you remember the scene in the movie “The Matrix” when Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) two pills? His choices: take the red pill and be shown the reality, or take the blue pill and remain oblivious to changes around him.

Druva has thousands of customers who have taken the metaphorical “red pill” on their journey to the cloud. Movie references aside, I know that changing habits and beliefs occurs over time and in different ways for each person and organization. If only it was as easy as taking a pill.

Given the challenges facing backup administrators today, protecting and recovering network attached storage (NAS) data is a great place to start because both small and large customers have critical NAS data in their environments that they all wished was easier and cheaper to protect, manage, and recover.

Challenges of backing up NAS

For some, the challenges of backing up NAS are well known, but it’s worth highlighting what challenges infrastructure and storage teams with NAS data backup typically face:

  • Slow Performance — Slow backup and difficult restores cause missed RPOs and RTOs.
  • Security — Ransomware is now very real and is actively targeting backup infrastructure. The security team worries about detection. But the backup team needs to make sure the backup data is isolated and adequately protected.
  • High cost — Storage and third-party infrastructure costs are unpredictable and rising.
  • Difficult to manage — Administration and infrastructure management consumes too much time.
  • Backup storage analytics — Large amounts of NAS data is often old, inactive, or not required for backup. Unfortunately, backup and storage teams don’t have the time or the right tools to identify these areas of waste.

NAS backup performance with Druva

Druva addresses NAS data backup differently than traditional on-premises solutions and delivers substantially different results. Our customers have NAS systems ranging from small to multi-PB and they have found that Druva’s approach for NAS data backup exceeds their previous on-premises solutions.

There are multiple elements required to balance NAS data backup performance, but the underlying culprit to slow NAS data backup is metadata. Druva’s architecture is optimized to handle NAS metadata and enables a more cost-efficient and scalable architecture. For a more detailed discussion on NAS architecture, please read this recent post from Stephen Manley, our Chief Technologist.

There are several key features that enable Druva to deliver fast backup and recovery, performance, and scale:

  • Source-side deduplication
  • SmartScan technology
  • Incremental forever
  • Parallel ingest
  • Granular-file level recovery

The ability to scale NAS data backup in a cost-efficient way (i.e., without having huge amounts of backup CPU and storage sitting idle on the datacenter floor) stems from the Druva architecture which allows an unlimited number of parallel ingest streams and our incremental-forever technology. With these capabilities, customers run multiple concurrent NAS backups, protecting even the largest systems and still meeting their recovery point objective (RPO).

Rather than being limited by an on-premises architecture, customers have on-demand scale. While nobody has unlimited bandwidth to the cloud, the important point is that the Druva infrastructure increases and decreases as you need, automatically. More importantly, you don’t pay for that standby capability, only the data you store, after deduplication (more on that in cost).

A final element in delivering great performance over the long-term is the speed with which you can deliver improvements to customers and the ease in which they can use them. With Druva, your SaaS-based backup platform is updated every 2-3 weeks. There is nothing you have to touch or review which saves you time and provides you with the latest features immediately.

Recently, Druva delivered a series of significant performance improvements both for our platform and the NAS proxy agent in our January release. Here’s a quick summary of the NAS improvements:

  • 10x faster backup of small files (e.g., test-dev)
  • 5x faster backups of media files
  • 2.5x faster backups of mixed files

Druva delivers better security

Until recently, many companies did not think their backup data was at risk from ransomware attacks. That has changed. Attackers are targeting backup infrastructure and exposing a risk area that is acute for on-premises backup vendors (see this article from BleepingComputer about attacks on Veeam customers). To be clear, just because you encrypt your backup data on-premises doesn’t prevent it from being attacked and wrapped up in a crypto-locker. The data encryption limits data exposure risk, but doesn’t help you get your business running again. What would your company do without its NAS data?

With Druva, your data is stored in the Druva Cloud Platform built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which isolates it from your data center network and provides an air gap-like capability. So even if ransomware affects your company and impacts your local production resources, your Druva backup copies can do their job by helping you mitigate risk and get your systems running again.

Lower cost of ownership

Druva reduces the costs of protecting and recovering NAS data because of the nature of what is stored there — large amounts of infrequently accessed data or archived data. Druva lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of backup, recovery, and disaster recovery (DR) systems by 50% or more for many customers (versus traditional systems). We’ll dive further about how this affects NAS data in part 2 of this blog post.

In the interim, I encourage you to try our 5-step TCO tool to get a bigger picture on the savings you’ll receive by going to the cloud with your backups.

In “Make it Better — NAS Backup & Restore with Druva — Part 2,” I’ll discuss the additional cost savings and value you can extract when using the Druva Cloud Platform to protect your NAS data.