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VMblog Expert Interview: What's New with HYCU and Protecting Kubernetes-based Workloads

interview hycu 

HYCU, Inc. a pioneering enterprise software company specializing in multi-cloud data backup and recovery as a service brings true SaaS-based data backup to both on-premises and cloud-native environments. The company provides industry-leading data protection, migration and disaster recovery to more than 2,000 companies worldwide.  Based in Boston, Mass., the company employs 200 people across the globe and recently secured a Series A funding round by Bain Capital Ventures and Acrew Capital.

This week, HYCU announced support for Kubernetes with the first in a series of planned releases for container-based workloads with HYCU for Kubernetes.  VMblog spoke with VP Products Subbiah Sundaram on what HYCU for Kubernetes is, why it's different and how it works.

VMblog:  What's new and what is HYCU doing for data protection for Kubernetes?

Subbiah Sundaram:  HYCU is extending HYCU Protégé as a Service to support container-based workloads, in addition to the support we provide for VMs, Apps, Files and Objects. As many in the industry have noted, container-based workloads are on the rise. Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 85% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production. This is almost double what was happening in 2019. And, according to initial data from Evaluator Group's upcoming "Spring 2021 Hybrid Cloud Study," 29% of enterprises are using Kubernetes in a production environment today with another 40% testing Kubernetes with plans to go to production. It's no longer a question of if, but when, and if your organization is planning to use container-based workloads are you doing your best to protect them, and are you able to backup and recover without unnecessary complexity or cost.

VMblog:  What is HYCU for Kubernetes approach, and how does it work?

Sundaram:  HYCU for Kubernetes is the industry's first native, as a service solution for Kubernetes workloads. It's the newest, as a service, cloud-native solution from HYCU that gives our customers and partners a tightly integrated and application aware solution to protect, manage and recover data across physical, virtual and now containers-based workloads. At HYCU, for all of us, it really is about a firm belief that there is a better way to backup, manage, protect, and recover data, applications, databases and VMs across on-premises and public cloud IT environments. Essentially, HYCU for Kubernetes works in the following ways:

  • Automated and instantaneous discovery of applications: Ensuring Kubernetes-based workloads are identified and managed from one single user interface.
  • Assured Data Protection: With set and forget policy-based data protection, users do not need to be IT backup administrators to use. For developers, this provides ease of use and self-service capabilities to support container-based application development. Protection policies can be applied globally, across container and non-container sources.
  • Ability to set different SLAs for applications within the same cluster: Ease of management and flexibility to provide policy-based SLAs for container-based workloads regardless of location.
  • Granular and flexible recovery: Users can recover an entire application, individual persistent disks and configuration files.
  • Ease of recovery validation with selective cross-cluster recovery: Users have the flexibility to leverage multi-regions and locations to spin up applications for recovery.
  • Simplify Dev/Test and DR with cross project and cross regional cloning: Users gain an extra layer of protection from cyberattacks, erroneous or malicious deletion, and system outages.

VMblog:  How is HYCU for Kubernetes different from what is available today?  Data protection for container-based workloads is not new.

Sundaram:  True, container-based workloads protection is not new. There was an enormous amount of energy and excitement last year alone when standalone companies that had focused on protecting and recovering containers were acquired. However, much like the use of containers has gone from nascent and periodic to more systematic and for production, data protection approaches are still emerging and have not kept pace with the adoption and interest to date. That's because there have really been two approaches to date. Solutions would treat containers as a separate workload requiring separate infrastructure to run and support which in turn created a siloed data protection process. Or, solutions, not native, would be added as a plug-in or bolt-on to legacy data protection solutions. These became en vogue but they protect the persistent storage alone and that only addresses a portion of what is required to keep the workload available. We have spent the past two years evolving the Protégé platform to look at protecting container-based workloads as seamlessly as we do for physical and virtual applications. It remains our core belief that backup and recovery should be delivered as a service, leveraging the platform capabilities. And, most importantly, it should be as powerful and easy to use regardless of location, be it be physical, virtual or containers. Threre's a reason why we say, your data, your way, yours to control.

VMblog:  Can you elaborate more on the challenges customers have faced with existing containers-based workload protection?

Sundaram:  It boils down to two broad categories. Ease of use and the sacrifices you make by what you must use. 

Few example, as it relates to ease of use:

  • With Kubernetes, it is easy to make changes to the application configurations. While that makes it flexible, it also leads to more mistakes being made. Leading to applications being slow to load or not accessible at all.
  • Is quick recovery possible? If, for example, a team wants to fix an issue quickly can they do it easily?
  • Can you spin up new applications for Dev/Test and protect them quickly, easily, and effectively?
As it relates to what you must sacrifice, here are a few examples: 
  • While configurations are easy to edit, there are lots of configuration in Kubernetes and is complex. If teams do not do the manual steps of identifying all the associated objects to backup, then the probability of missing out objects increases significantly. Also, in a Kubernetes infrastructure it is extremely easy for the developer to add, delete or make changes to the infrastructure. This would leave the application unprotected unless the data protection solution is dynamic.
  • When you are dealing with scale, in a dynamic environment like Kubernetes, it is very hard for an operations team to track and manually make sure all the applications are protected.

And we haven't even covered DR for containers. This can be an expensive and complex process. The dynamic nature of containers and Kubernetes makes having a DR for production workloads expensive. Customers need a DR infrastructure that can dynamically scale and that only needs to be brought up in case of a disaster to maximize efficiency and save cost.

VMblog:  How can someone learn more about HYCU for Kubernetes?

Sundaram:  HYCU Protégé's design and architecture allow for support of all platforms. The first release available today includes Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) with other Kubernetes cloud services following shortly. The solution is available immediately through authorized HYCU reseller and channel partners worldwide and is available as a service directly from Google Cloud's marketplace. For information on HYCU and HYCU Protégé for Kubernetes, you can visit: https://www.hycu.com/data-protection/hycu-for-kubernetes/ or follow us at @hycuinc on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn.

VMblog:  What's next and what can we expect to support future container-based workloads?

Sundaram:  We've said this before, in many ways we're only just getting started. The fact we now have more than 2,000 customers across a host of industries and we're growing and hiring to support growth means the more we can do to align with what our customers and partners need to backup, manage, protect and recover regardless of location without sacrificing application integrity will continue to be our focus. As it relates to Kubernetes support, you'll see more Kubernetes services from us throughout the year and we look forward to sharing more with you and your readers!

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Subbiah Sundaram, VP Products, HYCU, Inc.

Subbiah spearheads product management at HYCU. He has been instrumental in enabling the company to deliver HYCU Protégé along with the best in class multi-cloud solutions for Nutanix and Google Cloud. Prior to joining HYCU, Subbiah held senior executive positions at BMC, CA, DataGravity, EMC, NetApp and Veritas and has extensive experience in product development, planning and strategy. He holds a MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Published Thursday, April 29, 2021 12:01 PM by David Marshall
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