I’m not a fan of heavy-duty installs and bloatware, but it seems inevitable these days that any product worth having requires hours of setup time. This is especially true when it comes to client server applications like backup software: it’s so difficult to go from nothing to something. This is why people love simple applications like Time Machine. When Druva announced that their InSync remote backup application weighed in at under 50 MB and could be installed in under 10 minutes, they really got my attention.
Druva InSync is not a general-purpose enterprise backup application, though it is targeted at the business market. Instead of going head-to-head with successful enterprise backup applications like Symantec backup exec and net backup, EMC legato, IBM TSM, CommVault, and the like, Druva wisely found a different niche.
Everyone hates their remote backup application, and this is where Druva decided to focus. End-user laptop and desktop backup clients have a reputation for slamming performance and failing to protect data for machines on the go. A few years back, my work laptop at one of the leading remote backup solutions installed by corporate IT. I hated every time a backup kicked off, since I couldn’t get any work done until it was finished. So I secretly enjoyed the fact that it regularly failed to start. I guess like most end-users, I would rather get my work done than protect my data.
Druva InSync tackles these problems by focusing on simple installation and low resource requirements. The client install is only about 20 MB, and is configured to leverage the duplication and WAN acceleration technologies for quick backups. It also throttles CPU utilization and doesn’t rely on a fixed schedule like many solutions. The client can be remotely administered an updated once it is installed, keeping everything running smoothly, but users have some flexibility to add additional backups according to system policy.
The InSync server is remarkably tiny, weighing in at under 50 MB and installing in just a few minutes. While most backup applications require installing additional software, including Microsoft’s heavy-duty SQL Server, Druva InSync is completely self-contained. But it includes many advanced features, including SSD support and memory caching to improve de-duplication performance.
Druva InSync Installation and Configuration
I recently worked with Druva to produce a series of videos documenting the installation and configuration of InSync. As part of this process, I went through the entire roll out myself using virtual machines and real data. The result was eye-opening: InSync really does install in under 10 minutes!
My demonstration deployment included a Windows Server 2008 machine and a Windows 7 client. Both ran under VMware Fusion but were configured with realistic CPU and memory footprints to approximate a real world environment. In my first video, I download and install the Druva InSync server and client software, and get everything up and running.
My next video includes some more advanced configuration topics. I create separate users for administration of accounts and profiles, discuss remote access and adding WAN network ports, and do some advanced storage configuration. I also discuss some of the best practice recommendations that the Druva folks told me about.
Finally, my third video includes a discussion of reporting features as well as some troubleshooting ideas.
Installation and configuration of Druva InSync is impressive, but what it does once it’s installed is what really matters. In my tests, I was impressed by the performance of the de-duplicated in accelerated data transfer from the client to the server. According to the Druva InSync dashboard, I was getting almost 2 to one reduction in data transfer on the very first use, and this looks to get much better over time. Druva’s internal videos show massive data reduction for clients that have been running for a while.
This got me thinking about the possibilities of using a product like InSync to back up web servers at remote hosting providers, and application I’m eager to try out. Druva recently introduced Phoenix, a server backup product to do just this. The company also has recently introduced a data loss prevention component for InSync called SafePoint. It looks like I will get a chance to try this product out very soon!