Unitrends vs. Rubrik: What You Need to Know

Unitrends vs. Rubrik: How to cut through the marketing

This type of post is something you should always be skeptical about – one vendor comparing its solution to another vendor’s. That said, the goal here is to help IT pros understand how to compare technologies amidst a lot of marketing.  As always, it makes sense to get the perspective of both vendors and compare based on YOUR requirements.

I had a partner ask me about Unitrends vs. Rubrik recently after they saw an announcement that the company received a lot of funding.

We talked a lot about the hype around that type of news, how we’ve seen vendors in the backup and data management space achieve fast hype, and how fast that hype can disappear.

But this blog isn’t about hype.  It’s about technology and its benefit to IT pros.

By the way, if you want to check out a third party evaluation of Unitrends vs. Rubrik – as well as about 30 other vendors – here is a great one from the independent research firm DCIG.  It’s called the DCIG 2016-2017 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide.

You can check it out for free, but *warning* you do need to provide an email address to get it.  DCIG also has a hybrid cloud appliance guide as well, but Rubrik did not have enough cloud functionality to qualify at the time.

If you prefer a quick PDF read, here is the Unitrends vs. Rubrik datasheet – no info required for access.

Unitrends Compared to Rubrik Data Sheet

How do you compare the two vendors?

Both vendors support integrated backup for VMware, Hyper-V, physical Windows, physical Linux, NAS devices, and enterprise applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database.  However, the differences in maturity and version support are extreme between the two vendors.

  • Unitrends has a compatibility matrix that supports over 250 versions of operating systems, hypervisors, and applications.
  • Rubrik supports far fewer versions and only recently added support for physical servers, Hyper-V, and physical applications in Q1-2017.  The integration with these environments is somewhat limited and does not have advanced recovery functionality, such as instant recovery for physical servers, Hyper-V, and applications.  There is also no integration for Citrix XenServer.

While all this helps, if you’re comparing Unitrends vs. Rubrik, then you likely have a pretty standard, sizable VMware environment with very limited physical server or application data management needs.  Otherwise, you probably would not be looking at Rubrik yet.

So let’s focus on broader customer benefits and see how the technology lines up:

  1. Enterprise Cloud Continuity
  2. Recovery Confidence
  3. IT Resilience
  4. Proven Customer Delight
  5. IT Efficiency

Here is a quick table to scan, but I unpack each of the below in much more detail.

Unitrends vs. Rubrik Comparison
Comparing Unitrends vs. Rubrik by Technology and Benefits

Enterprise Cloud Continuity

Public cloud options for offsite compliance and disaster recovery are great for some, but not for all.  Not all clouds are built alike – and your needs change over time, by workload, or by use case.  Regardless of your choice, enterprise-level scalability and recovery must not be sacrificed.

Unitrends has complete failover, failback and migration capabilities for AWS and Azure public clouds.  You can also protect machines running in those clouds and replicate them to other clouds.  You can even protect SaaS applications, like Office 365.

However, AWS and Azure can reach limitations with scalability, operating system support, and recovery SLAs.  For example, you cannot scale beyond 1TB in a single virtual disk for an Azure VM.  Both AWS and Azure support fewer operating systems than most on-premises virtual environments.  Lastly, no hyperscale cloud provider will offer you a disaster recovery SLA.  If it takes too long to recover, that’s on you.

The Unitrends Cloud fills those gaps with physical seeding for large environments, self-service access to data recovery with reverse WAN acceleration, broad operating system support, and a contractual 1-hour failover SLA with automated testing, analytics and reporting.  Unitrends Cloud also reduces vendors to add an extra layer of simplicity and customer service.

Rubrik’s cloud integration focuses on granular data access with public hyperscale clouds, such as AWS and Azure. The integration primarily covers archiving use cases, missing out on key disaster recovery capabilities using the cloud.  Hence, the focus is granular recovery, not continuity.  They also do not have a cloud service of their own to fill hyperscale cloud gaps.

To top things off, Rubrik charges at least $1000 per TB archived to the cloud.  And you still pay the cloud provider for storage and compute.

Both Unitrends and Rubrik can support running inside of AWS and Azure to protect cloud workloads.  However, Rubrik is unable to perform inter-cloud disaster recovery.  Finally, if you want to protect valuable Office 365 data, Rubrik is unable to provide a solution.

Recovery Confidence

Provable recovery is a grim challenge for enterprise IT.  Defining an SLA policy is not enough.  It only makes a best effort to meet your objectives.  What about proof?

Unitrends can define, analyze, and report complete recovery confidence against your SLAs on-premises, in secondary locations, and in the Unitrends Cloud.  The analytics look across N-tiered applications, not just individual databases and machines.  Complete recovery plans are scheduled, automated, assessed and reported on a business level to help you comply with HIPAA and SOX compliance standards regarding DR testing.  The effort involved in meeting these enterprise needs is drastically reduced due to built-in automation and orchestration.

Rubrik has no built-in automation. Rubrik will put the onus on the customer to write their own automation against their API, stealing valuable time you could spend helping your business.  Additionally, Rubrik lacks basic instant recovery capabilities for physical machines to reduce RTOs and participate in recovery testing, automation and analytics, leaving major gaps in confidence for heterogeneous environments.

IT Resilience

IT Resilience requires a proactive approach to uptime and recovery confidence.  New threats attack IT constantly, but the basics still get in the way too – i.e. manual errors and configuration issues.  Backup vendors can protect data, but shouldn’t they be more proactive for you?

Unitrends employs recovery analytics that proactively test and alert you of issues that impact full recovery across many machines.  Additionally, the predictive analytics engine within Unitrends can detect and alert you of ransomware conditions in your production environment.  This proactive nature ensures you fight fewer fires with more efficiency – you are resilient.

Rubrik provides basic reporting.  It lacks deep analytics to proactively uncover disaster recovery issues or ransomware threats.

Proven Customer Delight

Success relies on customer service, especially when reducing vendor complexity across several important infrastructure functions.  Unitrends has consistently delivered a 98% customer satisfaction rating for years, and is approaching 20,000 customers.

These results are driven not just by a great team, but also technology.  Unitrends appliances use cloud-based analytics to open support cases and solve issues before customers are even aware.  If a hard drive may fail 7 days in the future, it’s important to know this before it impacts your continuity solution.  No babysitting required.

Rubrik is very young in the market with no proven track record of support.  Their support for physical servers is in its infancy and has already presented quality issues in deals against Unitrends.  They have no predictive analytics to fix hardware and software issues proactively.  It’s on the customer to do the work and be reactive.

IT Efficiency

For enterprise IT to be efficient, they need to purchase, deploy and manage solutions in ways that are effective for their budget, time, and other organizational stakeholders.

Unitrends makes sizing a hardware appliance very simple and cost-effective.  Its global deduplication reduces storage requirements.  A single virtual appliance can scale-up to several hundred terabytes.  Automated provisioning allows IT to turn backups into environments that DevOps and application development teams can use for business productivity – generating a huge ROI.

Rubrik plays games with terms like storage, usable capacity, and logical capacity.  Erasure coding is made out to be alien-technology, when it hurts usable capacity in significant ways.  Terms like logical backup capacity are used to make you believe they can protect more than reality.  Be careful of capacity tricks.

The chart that follows describes how to truly compare a Rubrik “Brik” with a Recovery Series appliance.  On an apples-to-apples basis, Rubrik is up to 5X more costly than Unitrends. Rubrik Edge virtual appliances can only scale to 5TB.  No instant recovery for physical servers and no real automation proves a “Brik” is incapable of making applications available instantly for recovery or development and test scenarios.

Unitrends vs. Rubrik
Unitrends vs. Rubrik Model and Price Comparison

*After RAID and Erasure Coding: Unitrends uses RAID-6 and Rubrik uses RAID-0 with 1.5X overhead from erasure coding, except for the R334, which has no drive failure resilience using neither RAID nor erasure coding.

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