Take the win! (Introducing Druva’s enhanced EC2 backup)

W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technology Evangelist

W. Curtis Preston (Mr. Backup) and Stephen Manley (Druva’s CTO) discuss how Druva has enhanced how its customers can back up AWS EC2 instances. Customers can now create a single policy that specifies how many snapshots they want to keep, and how many they want to be deduplicated and migrated into the Druva cloud. The latter offers quicker recovery and enhanced security while also reducing costs. This is one of those rare instances in IT where you get something that is less expensive, while also being more secure and easier to use. Take the win and check out Druva’s EC2 backup.

[00:00:00] W. Curtis Preston: This week on No Hardware Required, we’re talking about backing up EC2. With me as always is my co-host Stephen Manley our CTO. Thanks for joining. Hi and welcome to Druva’s No Hardware Required podcast. I’m your host W Curtis Preston, AKA Mr. Backup, and I have with me, Stephen Manley our CTO, ready to talk about backing up EC2 .What do you think Stephen?

[00:00:25] Stephen Manley: I tell you this is gonna be so good that we’re gonna get it all the way to EC3 finally.

[00:00:33] W. Curtis Preston: You know, your jokes are corny, but they make me laugh. You know, I, I dunno what, I dunno what to tell you about that. So, so this is one of those things where. If you weren’t following the company as close as obviously you and I do. If you saw the headline that went out today, we, we, we actually were recording this on the day that we actually announced this functionality.

It would almost look like we just started backing up EC2, when you just read the headline. And, and that is, is obviously not the case because we’ve been backing up EC2 for a while, but. The way we’re now backing up EC2 adds an additional layer protection, uh, and additional level of awesomeness that we didn’t have before.

So why don’t you first talk about what we have done that, that we were already doing up until the point that we announced what we announced today.

[00:01:28] Stephen Manley: So prior to this, you know, customers had kind of two options when they wanted to use Druva with EC2. So, so the first option would, would be what I consider sort of snapshot management, snapshot orchestration. So you would set a policy, um, You know, based on your EC2 instances, you know, keyword tag based kind of thing.

Um, you could set obviously across the whole VPC, if you wanted multi account, all that great stuff, you could set different snapshot policies. Uh, but the result is that it would be creating and managing snapshots in your account. These would be those AWS snapshots, which is good.

Right. Great for rapid recovery, um, you know, really resilient, you know, the, the, the data’s stored on S3 storage. So there’s a lot of greatness that comes with it. Um, or the other approach that we had some customers doing was, you know, they would put an agent on the EC2 instance, whether it’s running Oracle or it’s running Microsoft SQL, or it’s just a file server.

And then we’d back that up, that, that data up to the Druva cloud, which would give them protection, uh, offsite protection, long term retention, uh, you know, help protect them from things like ransomware attacks better, because it’s in a separate account. Um, but you, you really had to be in that position where you were sort of choosing one or the other, the, the schedules weren’t integrated and you know, and, and it wasn’t necessarily, you, you were sort of in that zone of which one am I gonna do?

I could do both, but, but it was. It was a challenging time for people, I think.

[00:02:58] W. Curtis Preston: Right. So you, you, you pretty much chose whether or not you wanna recover the server or you wanna recover the application. If you were concerned more about the application, then you used the, the, the, the Druva Phoenix way of backing it up using a client. If you were concerned more about DR and restoring a whole bunch of servers, then, then you would, uh, use the EC2 way.

And we would typically ask customers to. Do cross account and cross region backups. We, we totally automated that for them. My favorite way was to pick a single or, or at least a, a small number of accounts whose sole purpose was backup as much as they could do that. Where basically there’s no one should ever need to log into this environment except for the backup system.

In fact, many of our customers, I actually recently learned this, that many of our customers, they have a cloud administrator where. They create an account, uh, for Druva to use and they, or they create an account for someone in their environment to use and they give that the administrator there, they help them authenticate each service they’re going to use with that account, but they actually never actually give that, that internal administrator cloud privileges to the console for that account.

Right. So imagine if you have this separate account. And, and you, you limited to almost no one that has access to that account. And then that way you can do this and you can have that close to EC2, the snapshot recovery, the full DR orchestration. All of that. One of the challenges that the customers had was that if you wanted any sort of long-term retention, those snapshots would add up over time.

[00:04:45] Stephen Manley: Right. So, so the snapshots would add up and, and obviously first that, that, that can be, yeah, that can be a little bit expensive. Uh, additionally, it can, it just gets really hard to track. Right. You know, we, we had customers with 20, 30, 90,000 snapshots and, and nobody, nobody on the planet loves snapshots more than I do, but there’s a time and a place.

And, and most of these accounts were well beyond that time and place. And those snapshots needed to be converted to what I would consider more traditional backups. And that is the big announcement. What we’re doing with EC2 backup, uh, and, and, and this is, this is gonna be great for people is, is, is first.

It’s not that either or anymore. So, so you’re gonna be able to set a policy and say, I want to keep around this number of snapshots for this retention. And then I want be able to store these backups in the Druva cloud for this retention and get the benefits of long-term retention. Get the benefits of offsite, uh, offsite or, or alternate account, alternate administrative management to sort of retention.

So keep you safe from that ransomware attack and, and it’s all bundled into one. And then the other cool part is you might be asking, okay. But, but you know, doing that backup copy to the Druva cloud, is that gonna have a performance impact on my system? Is that gonna be expensive? And, and I’ll tell you first. Like everything at Druva.

This is source based, deduplication, global deduplication and change data only when we’re searching. And we are leveraging AWS APIs that tell us exactly what blocks have changed on your EC2 instance so that it has the absolute minimum impact on your cloud environment. Because, you know, we get it, you’re paying for the cloud.

You know, one of the great things about cloud is that you’re paying for what you use. So we wanna minimize how much that backup’s gonna cost you so that all of your AWS infrastructure is being used to drive your business and make you money.

[00:06:46] W. Curtis Preston: And I’m gonna go back to the recommendation that I made earlier. It basically makes that recommendation moot because the whole point of that was to get data into another region and another account, and to get it into a different administrative domain to protect it from ransomware. Well, first obviously to protect it from, uh, a physical disaster, that what that might take out a particular region, but also to protect it against some sort of ransomware account, because there have been, uh, you know, incidents where a hacker gained control of an administrative account and deleted a company.

If you don’t believe me, just Google the company codespaces. They, they, they ceased to exist when a, when a, a hacker gained access to their account. And when they deleted their account, they deleted the account and all of the backups out of the account, because it was all in one administrative domain. But the beautiful thing about this is that you get all of that functionality without having to do any of that management.

So you get the offsite, you get to pick the, the region that you’re gonna back up to. So you’ll pick a region different than the one that you’re working in and you get that different administrative domain and different technology. And so you get all of that security and then this is one, you know, the beautiful thing is.

And it’s less expensive, right? Because we bring all the deduplication to bear we’re we’re advertising. I believe a 50% reduction in TCO for people that did what we did before moving to what we do now. And so that, that makes, uh, you know, for a very easy move to a new way to doing things. So it’s simpler and less expensive and more secure.

It’s sort of the, I don’t know, the awesomeness trifecta how’s that?

[00:08:32] Stephen Manley: Exactly. Right. It’s very rare, right. In, in the technology industry, almost always you sit there and say, you know, there’s tradeoffs, right? The, the classic question, what should I do? Well, it depends, you know, this is really one of those where there isn’t the, it depends, you know, cuz cuz like Curtis said, you get, you get all the, the cost, the performance, the, the security, the reliability savings.

And, and it’s all wrapped up in one easy to manage policy. So it’s also not complicated to set up. So, so it really is one of those, you know, there there’s, there’s a, and, and I don’t know if this is this nationwide, but, but, you know, I’ll listen to ESPN radio sometimes, and there’s always a commercial on there.

Uh, I won’t name the company, but their tagline is it’s the no brainer in the history of man. And, and, uh, and, and I tell you. This is sort of up there. This is one of the biggest, no brainers in the history of humanity.

[00:09:25] W. Curtis Preston: It really is. And by the way, one thing that we haven’t mentioned is that the data is encrypted along the way. It’s encrypted in flight it’s encrypted at rest. So there, there isn’t, you know, there are no security concerns. Obviously our existing cloud ranger customers, they’ve, they’ve perhaps grown used to, you know, having the data, you know, In their hands.

And the idea of handing the data over to, uh, to us might concern them. And they need to understand that all of the data is encrypted before it’s sent it’s encrypted again, when it’s stored using keys that we do not see, manage or have access to. And so, uh, you, you, you are not in any way ceding control of your data or access of your, to your data, to us.

[00:10:07] Stephen Manley: For those customers, Again, this is, this is the, the equivalent of when you back up a VM or a, a server or your Microsoft 365 or your Salesforce to the Druva cloud, it’s the same thing. So all those security, you know, protocols that are in place, all of that infrastructure, that’s there to, to make sure your data’s safe, it’s that same infrastructure.

So, so you really are now able to protect. The entirety of your environment, um, in one standard way, in one reliable, one secure way.

[00:10:41] W. Curtis Preston: And we’re also able to restore directly back to EC2 from the, the backups that have migrated to the Druva cloud. So that’s also, you’re not giving up anything in terms of restore. I will say that. We still believe strongly in that local copy. That’s still going to be your quickest way to do a restore, but it’s not gonna be any more complicated to restore from the, the Druva copy.

It just might take a little bit longer than restoring from a, you know, there there’s no beating physics.

[00:11:11] Stephen Manley: Right. Exactly. And, and, and I think, again, as always, like I said, there’s, there’s no bigger fan of snapshots than I am. Snapshots have their place backups have their place. Uh, and, and again, that’s why we, we, you know, we, we introduced this integrated policy, so that again, you as a customer, You’re simply picking.

And the, and the great part is if three months from now you decide actually, maybe I have too many snapshots and I’d like, you know, like more things to go over to the Druva cloud, just, just tweak this, the policy and it automatically happens. There’s no, you know, there’s no restarting, there’s no installing another appliance.

You know, you can, you can so sort of adjust your policies as you need as your business needs. So. It’s okay. If you want to change. Hey, it’s okay. If you get it wrong at the beginning, just keep tweaking till you find the spot that you like.

[00:12:00] W. Curtis Preston: And does that mean that this can, that, that existing customers can apply this to existing backups?

[00:12:07] Stephen Manley: They can, they can. So, so, yeah. So if you’ve got an existing environment, um, You know, you, you are going to be able to, you know, sort of take, take your existing, you know, sort of the cloud ranger policy that says I’m gonna keep 30 snapshots and you can then tweak that and say, no, I, I now want it to be 10 snapshots and 20 backups.

Uh, so you, you you’ll be able to, to just adjust your policies.

[00:12:32] W. Curtis Preston: Yeah, that’ll be really nice. Um, I, I can imagine there’ll be a lot of data moving around behind the scenes, but our customers won’t have to worry about that all. And, and, and I think, you know, just like everything else with Druva that basically the idea is you just need to tell our UI. What it is that needs to happen.

And then magic happens behind the scene. We will create the appropriate number of snapshots. We will migrate the data directly into the Druva cloud. After doing that source-side deduplication. Now, let me just talk about that for a minute, because I, I did have a, a conversation with a customer the other day and he mentioned that the he, well, we already sort of have deduplication in that, that Inc that the.

The snapshots are block level incremental. And I’m like, well, yes, but no, right there is still plenty in there. And, and I say this only because what we’ve seen when testing with real customer data, we’re able to reduce that, that, that 50, we didn’t just make up that 50% reduction in TCO. That’s big based on the testing that we’ve done with real customer data.

And the reason for that for those that haven’t followed the deduplication world, you know, as much as and I have, there’s two really important words there there’s source side and there’s global. So source side means that we start the deduplication process at the very beginning of the backup process, which means in this case, at that EC2 volume.

Or the EBS volume that we’re backing up for that EC2 instance. And the way it works is you do the slicing and dicing. You create a hash, there’s a look up at a table, a hash table that’s that’s in our cloud instance. And then if that hash is determined to be unique, then we transfer the data after encrypting it. And th that means that this. The process happens at the very beginning and, uh, that limits the amount of compute that needs to be done to send the data. And then the other really important thing is global it’s global across your entire Druva account. So if you’ve got. Hundreds of AWS accounts and you’ve got hundreds, you know, potentially thousands of EC2 instances, and there are copies of Linux or Windows or whatever all of that gets de-duplicated because we’re globally de duplicating across your entire account without limits. And I’m gonna put that, that part in, in italics. I don’t know how to do that vocally, but you know, we have plenty of competitors that that start with. Uh, they, they always have some sort of. Number where they top out. We don’t have that number. We have customers that have double digits of petabytes and we’re deduping all of that data in one giant, uh, deduplication system.

And it’s because of the technology that we have access to in AWS, that we’re able to do that. But the point is that we bring that of that technology and all of the, you know, the over decade of experience that we have at doing that. Bring that, to this new part of our customer base. And, um, you know, you get all of that power and security and strength of restore by simply changing a button in your user interface. I, I think that’s pretty awesome.

[00:15:57] Stephen Manley: You know, I, I, again, it’s all win. It’s all upside.

[00:16:02] W. Curtis Preston: All upside. It’s not, it’s not often we get to say that in IT. You you said, you said that already, do you want to go fast or do you, these are your choices you can have,

[00:16:14] Stephen Manley: You want it to be easier? Do you want it to be secure? Right? I mean, this is one of those cases where it’s both easy and secure. Take the win, take it.

[00:16:21] W. Curtis Preston: And it costs less. I mean, I

[00:16:23] Stephen Manley: yeah,

[00:16:23] W. Curtis Preston: yeah, take the win, take the win, right. That should be the name of this episode. Take the win. All right. Well, thanks Stephen, for, uh, helping me explain this, uh, new part of our product.

[00:16:33] Stephen Manley: my pleasure have fun everybody.

[00:16:36] W. Curtis Preston: And, uh, thanks again for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode. And remember here at Druva there’s no hardware required.