We recently virtually met with our friend and former Tech Field Day alumni W. Curtis Preston, Chief Evangelist at Druva, for a long overdue update. This was a long and comprehensive briefing, so we’ll do our best to sum up the key takeaways.
Results and Recognition
Based on their fiscal year (ending June 2020), Druva reported a 50% YoY growth overall, and a 70% YoY growth for Dat Center products / services. Curtis also reported several awards, with a focus on Gartner Peer Insights (where IT professionals rate companies), where Druva won Best Product in three categories.
Product Enhancements and Integrations
Several enhancements to Druva products were made to comply with CCPA (California Consumer Production Act, California’s version of GDPR). Those enhancements relate to endpoint products, i.e. laptops, computers, mobile devices and individual cloud services like Office 365, OneDrive etc.
CCPA support allows filters and alerts to be created based on templates, those CCPA templates allow the flagging of personal sensitive information such as passport information, social security numbers, employer IDs, drivers licenses etc., providing alerts and actions to be performed on the flagged data. It also allows for removal of sensitive emails from endpoints to comply with CCPA regulations.
Other enhancements relate to ServiceNow integration, where logic was added to better handle false alarms via configurable thresholds, and e-discovery on Slack.
Druva reported improvements to their DRaaS solution, further improving the automation of the solution. Among improvements are automated failback capabilities and the possibility to add prefixes or suffixes to VM names (to identify failed back VMs).
More importantly, Druva implemented failover pre-checks (for example credential verification) which run automatically, those tests are performed regularly and in case of issues an alert is issued.
One last notable improvement is the one-push failback feature, which is currently available on VMware Cloud and VMware on Dell, and makes failback activities considerably easier.
Before this, Curtis explained the four main “methods” used in the market for DRaaS with their advantages and inconvenients, stating that Druva’s method (which “surgically amends the VM file to make the VM runnable as an EC2 AMI”) provides a 15 to 20 minute RTO and 1 hour RPO, where each VM conversion takes an approx 15-20 minute and can happen in parallel.
Curtis mentioned Druva’s ability to backup public and private channels, but also declared that Druva is currently the only vendor that figured out how to backup private chats. This feature doesn’t allows a restore of private chats due to how private chats are currently implemented in Microsoft Teams, but considering how much critical business information now goes over private chat, there certainly is value in this.
If we consider how critical Microsoft Teams is becoming, and how quirky retention policies can be (and let’s frankly add that retention isn’t backup), one certainly doesn’t want to find themselves in the mess that recently hit the KPMG user base.
Kubernetes / Cloud-Native Support
Support for kubernetes and docker is being worked on, the solution is not yet in beta but is apparently available. It looks at k8s configuration files and includes all images / volumes as well at the k8s config itself. This also includes external databases. For now, only AWS is supported.
Among a plethora of other improvements and features, Curtis pointed out the following:
- availability of improved reporting capabilities (determine data types and take action, both retroactively, and by creating exclusions for future backups)
- Improved performance with NDMP backups of NAS data (10 to 15x increase). Several customers use Druva as a tertiary solution for off-site backups, due to the low frequency of restores Druva offers those customers a 50% discount if they store the data in AWS Glacier.
Perhaps the key takeaway from this discussion with Druva is not so much about the company itself and its offerings, but about the benefits of SaaS Data Protection. This is a market that is becoming more and more relevant because of the advantages that it offers in terms of flexibility, economics, and ability to support both on-premises and cloud / SaaS workloads.
Among key concerns for SaaS-based data protection adoption are often cost control and compliance. Cost control is always a matter of proper homework and making sure that the pricing model of the chosen vendor suits our requirements.
Compliance is a tougher piece, and customers / prospects will certainly appreciate vendors that go the extra mile to implement support for regulations such as CCPA or GDPR. Those are here to stay, and it’s always better to get native support for handling compliance violations rather than having solutions layer on top of another. And the way compliance is handled is what we probably enjoyed the most in our discussion with Druva and Curtis, technical feats aside.