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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Architectural Nexus Designs Better Backup Strategy with ExaGrid

Customer Overview

Arch Nexus nurtures meaningful experiences for people in and around the places we create and regenerate. The company is an ever-evolving employee-owned enterprise that has been thriving for over 40 years. They are a group of diverse specialists that are committed to the communities we serve. They are, by design, creating and regenerating the world in which we live. The company is headquartered in Salt Lake City and has offices in Utah and California.

Key Benefits:

  • Full backup reduced from 30 hours to 10 hours
  • Growth is easy to manage without forklift upgrades
  • Tremendous advantage for disaster recovery
  • Seamless integration with Backup Exec
  • Knowledgeable & expert support
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Retention and Growing Data Protection Requirements were Big Issues for Firm

Architectural Nexus is a fast-growing architectural firm with a significant amount of data to protect. The company’s IT department had been backing up its data using disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) technology but struggled daily with the system because it had run out of capacity. In addition, long backup times had begun to affect system performance.

“Retention was our immediate concern because we could only store three days of data on our old solution before it went to tape. We were also in the process of moving from AutoCAD to Revit, a next-generation, 3D CAD tool, and we expected our file sizes to increase dramatically,” said Kent Hansen, manager of information systems at Architectural Nexus. “We needed a forward-looking, scalable solution that would enable us to get out of the rut of disk-to-disk-to-tape while increasing retention.”

ExaGrid Provides Tiered Backup Storage to Maximize Disk Space

Architectural Nexus selected an ExaGrid Tiered Backup Storage system and installed it in its Salt Lake City office. The ExaGrid system works alongside the company’s existing backup application, Veritas’ Backup Exec. “We were really blown away by ExaGrid’s data deduplication technology, and it’s working extremely well for us. Currently, we’re able to keep ten weeks of data on the system,” said Hansen. “We expect that we will quadruple the amount of data we need to back up once the Revit software is fully implemented.

ExaGrid’s adaptive deduplication technology does a fantastic job at reducing the amount of data we are backing up today and we are confident that it will help us reign in the amount of data we’ll be looking at in the future.”

ExaGrid writes backups directly to a disk-cache Landing Zone, avoiding inline processing and ensuring the highest possible backup performance, which results in the shortest backup window. Adaptive Deduplication performs deduplication and replication in parallel with backups so that an RTO and RPO can be easily met. Available system cycles are utilized to perform deduplication and offsite replication for an optimal recovery point at the disaster recovery site. Once complete, the onsite data is protected and immediately available in its full undeduplicated form for fast restores, VM Instant Recoveries, and tape copies while the offsite data is ready for disaster recovery

"We expect our data to grow substantially in the coming months so we needed to be sure that the backup system we chose could grow as our demands grew. ExaGrid’s tiered architecture will enable us to easily accommodate more and more data without forklifting the system. "

Kent Hansen, Manager of Information Systems

Full Backups Reduced from 30 Hours to 10 Hours, Staff Saves 15 Hours a Week in Tape Management

With its old D2D2T system, Architectural Nexus had been exceeding its backup windows on a nightly basis, and as a result, system performance suffered. Hansen said that since installing the ExaGrid system, Architectural Nexus has been able to reduce its backup times significantly, and weekly full backups have been reduced from 30 hours to 10 hours

“We were going disk-to-disk every night and then to tape during the day, but we were constantly blowing out our backup window and our systems were slowing down considerably,” said Hansen. “Our backups are much more efficient with the ExaGrid system, and we’ve reduced our reliance on tape.” The ExaGrid system is backed up to tape once a week but the company is considering purchasing a second system to replicate data and eliminate tape altogether. Hansen said that since installing the ExaGrid system, the IT staff has been able to save nearly 15 hours per week on tape management and administration. “We have found the ExaGrid system very easy to manage. It works seamlessly with Backup Exec and the interface is intuitive and easy to use,” said Hansen.

“We’ve also had a terrific experience with ExaGrid’s customer support. The support team is very responsive and knowledgeable about the product.” The ExaGrid system was designed to be easy to set up and maintain, and ExaGrid’s industry-leading customer support team is staffed by trained, in-house level 2 engineers who are assigned to individual accounts. The system is fully supported and was designed and manufactured for maximum uptime with redundant, hot-swappable components.”

Scalability to Meet Increased Backup Requirements

The ExaGrid system can easily scale to accommodate data growth. ExaGrid’s computing software makes the system highly scalable, and when plugged into a switch, appliances of any size or age can be mixed and matched in a single system with capacities of up to a 2.7PB full backup plus retention and an ingest rate of up to 488TB per hour. Once virtualized, they appear as a single system to the backup server, and load balancing of all data across servers is automatic.

“Because we expect our data to grow substantially in the coming months, we needed to be sure that the backup system we chose could grow as our demands grew. ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture will enable us to easily accommodate more and more data without forklifting the system,” said Hansen. “Also, the fact that we can add a second system for data replication at some point in the future is a tremendous advantage and it will enable us to improve our disaster recovery capabilities when the time is right. The ExaGrid system helped solve our immediate backup issues and we’re confident that it will be able to handle our backup requirements into the future.”

ExaGrid and Veritas Backup Exec

Veritas Backup Exec provides cost-effective, high-performance, and certified disk-to-disk-to-tape backup and recovery – including continuous data protection for Microsoft Exchange servers, Microsoft SQL servers, file servers, and workstations. High-performance agents and options provide fast, flexible, granular protection and scalable management of local and remote server backups.

Organizations using Veritas Backup Exec can look to ExaGrid as an alternative to tape for nightly backups. ExaGrid sits behind existing backup applications, such as Veritas Backup Exec, providing faster and more reliable backups and restores. In a network running Veritas Backup Exec, using ExaGrid in place of a tape backup system is as easy as pointing existing backup jobs at a NAS share on the ExaGrid system. Backup jobs are sent directly from the backup application to the ExaGrid for backup to disk.

Intelligent Data Protection

ExaGrid’s turnkey disk-based backup system combines enterprise SATA/SAS drives with zone-level data deduplication, delivering a disk-based solution that is far more cost effective than simply backing up to straight disk. ExaGrid’s patented zone-level deduplication reduces the disk space needed by a range of 10:1 to 50:1 by storing only the unique bytes across backups instead of redundant data. Adaptive Deduplication performs deduplication and replication in parallel with backups while providing full system resources to the backups for the fastest backups and, therefore, the shortest backup window. As data grows, only ExaGrid avoids expanding backup windows by adding full appliances in a system. ExaGrid’s unique Landing Zone keeps a full copy of the most recent backup on disk, delivering the fastest restores, VM boots in seconds to minutes, “Instant DR,” and fast tape copy. Over time, ExaGrid saves up to 50% in total system costs compared to competitive solutions by avoiding costly “forklift” upgrades.

About ExaGrid

ExaGrid provides Tiered Backup Storage with a unique disk-cache Landing Zone that enables fastest backups and restores, a Repository Tier that offers the lowest cost for long-term retention and enables ransomware recovery, and scale-out architecture which includes full appliances with up to 6PB full backup in a single system.

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