Sometimes it takes a while for a company to come up on the radar, then it keeps coming up. It was at Tech Field Day 11, last year when I first learned of Comtrade and their software development business. Comtrade came up again this year when I was researching the VDI management and monitoring buyer’s guide for TechTarget. This week they reappeared with a new product, a backup product specifically for Nutanix named HYCU. I keep seeing HYCU as HKeyCurrentUser, so it is important to pronounce it like the Japanese poetry, Haiku. HYCU may be a new product, but Comtrade have been developing backup software for a long time, so it has mature thinking behind it. Backup policies require an RPO and retention, as well as an RTO. This last is interesting as backups don’t usually have restore time objectives. The destinations can be local NFS or SMB shares, or remote AWS or Azure storage. By default, HYCU will make its selection of backup destination to respect your configured RTO. A 6TB VM backed up to S3 is unlikely to be restored inside a 2-hour RTO, but from a local NFS server, there is a good chance to meet that RTO. Policies are applied to VMs, VMs are discovered from the Nutanix Prism API. Right now, HYCU only supports the Nutanix Acropolis hypervisor (AHV), but ESXi support is sure to be added soon. Restores can be whole VMs, or file level restores directly into the VM and either overwriting the file or redirecting the restore to preserve the current files. There is also an element of application awareness, HYCU can identify VMs that have SQL Server installed and backup the databases, then restore individual databases to a point in time by rolling the SQL logs forward. To speed up the restores, Nutanix snapshots are used and retained on the VM for a day. This means that a restore can happen immediately but that the backup can be sent to AWS for cheap storage. I like the simplicity of the approach, while still having a fair amount of flexibility.
Hyperconverged is all about simplifying infrastructure management. There is built-in backup and replication with the Nutanix product, but there has been some discussion about whether backups should be on the same storage as the original VM. There are a few more things I would like in the product. The ability to do a monthly compliance/eDiscovery backup that is retained indefinitely is essential if object storage is to replace tapes. I would also like to see integration with the Nutanix Prism interface, and I’m sure it will come. If I can make some time I will have a play with HYCU, there is a trial at tryhycu.com that I imagine will work with Nutanix Community Edition.