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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Avmax Backups Fly Faster with ExaGrid-Veeam Solution

Avmax Group Inc. (“Avmax”) simplifies their customers’ aviation needs through dependable, globally integrated services with trusted results. Established in 1976, their locations include: Calgary (HQ), Vancouver and Winnipeg in Canada, Great Falls and Jacksonville in the USA, Nairobi in Kenya and N’Djamena in Chad. Avmax offers the following capabilities: Aircraft Leasing, Airline Operations, Avionics, Component Repairs, Engine Repairs, Engineering, MRO, Paint and Spares.

Key Benefits:

  • Avmax’s backup window reduced more than 87%
  • ExaGrid-Veeam deduplication accommodates Avmax’s retention requirements
  • Ransomware Recovery a “key factor” in choosing ExaGrid
  • Staff time saved by reliable, easy-to-manage system
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"The combined deduplication with ExaGrid and Veeam has had an enormous impact on our storage capacity. I cannot believe we went without it for so long!"

Mitchell Haberl, System Administrator

Avmax Backups Gain Stability with ExaGrid-Veeam Solution

Avmax is all about simplifying their customer’s aviation needs with trusted results. They take this same approach within their IT department. Avmax’s IT team had been using a legacy backup application, Quest Rapid Recovery, and backing up its data to servers and disk, which resulted in a long backup window and also capacity issues as data grew. Avmax needed a next-generation backup storage solution that was reliable, easy to manage, and scalable. They also wanted to secure a disaster recovery plan and protection against ransomware.

After looking at a couple other solutions on the market, including Dell EMC Data Domain, the IT team at Avmax chose a ExaGrid Tiered Backup Storage due to its integration with Veeam.

“Building up our disaster recovery plan was critical. Transport Canada has requirements regarding our retention policy – weekly backups, twelve monthly backups, and then an annual that we keep for seven years,” said Mitchell Haberl, system administrator at Avmax. “Stability is the biggest win for us. Switching from something that was borderline unusable to ExaGrid is a massively positive change for our team.”

The ExaGrid system is easy to install and use and works seamlessly with the industry’s leading backup applications so that an organization can retain its investment in its existing backup applications and processes.

Switch to ExaGrid Reduces Backup Windows More Than 87%

Switching to ExaGrid has resolved the long backup window issue that Haberl’s team had faced with the previous solution. “Our backup window was incredibly long—up to 16 hours. Now, it takes 2 or 3 max. That is a huge difference and one that simplifies our job—a massive change,” he said.

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 for a strong recovery point (RPO). As data is being deduplicated to the repository, it can also be replicated to a second ExaGrid site or the public cloud for disaster recovery (DR).

“Restores have been incredibly easy. We’ve only had to do a couple of file-level restores and those were completely painless and not even noticed by the users, which is fantastic,” said Haberl. ExaGrid and Veeam can instantly recover a file or VMware virtual machine by running it directly from the ExaGrid appliance in the event that the file is lost, corrupted, or encrypted or the primary storage VM becomes unavailable. This instant recovery is possible because of ExaGrid’s Landing Zone – a high-speed disk cache on the ExaGrid appliance that retains the most recent backups in their complete form. Once the primary storage environment has been brought back to a working state, the VM backed up on the ExaGrid appliance can then be migrated to primary storage for continued operation.

Ransomware Recovery a “Key Factor”

As ransomware attacks are top-of-mind for all IT professionals, Haberl feels confident that ExaGrid is the right choice for Avmax’s backup environment. “Retention Time-Lock was a key factor in choosing ExaGrid, as we needed something like this. It is a huge weight off our shoulders,” he said.

ExaGrid appliances have a network-facing disk-cache Landing Zone where the most recent backups are stored in an undeduplicated format for fast backup and restore performance. Data is deduplicated into a non-network-facing tier called the Repository Tier, for longer-term retention. ExaGrid’s unique architecture and features provide comprehensive security including Retention Time-Lock for Ransomware Recovery (RTL), and through the combination of a non-network-facing tier (tiered air gap), a delayed delete policy, and immutable data objects, backup data is protected from being deleted or encrypted. ExaGrid’s offline tier is ready for recovery in the event of an attack.

Scalability Important to Planning for Data Growth

Haberl appreciates ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture allows organizations to add more appliances as data grows and ensures a fixed-length backup window. “Things are far more comfortable now in terms of data growth and scalability. In the past, we were simply backing up, which was the priority, and now we can make sure that all our data is being saved. ExaGrid’s easy scalability was an important factor in our decision. I never have to worry about adding appliances down the road,” he said.

The ExaGrid system can easily scale to accommodate data growth. ExaGrid’s software makes the system highly scalable – appliances of any size or age can be mixed and matched in a single system. A single scale-out system can take in up to a 2.7PB full backup plus retention at an ingest rate of up to 488TB per hour.

ExaGrid appliances contain not just disk but also processing power, memory, and bandwidth. When the system needs to expand, additional appliances are simply added to the existing system. The system scales linearly, maintaining a fixed-length backup window as data grows so customers only pay for what they need, when they need it. Data is deduplicated into a non-network-facing Repository Tier with automatic load balancing and global deduplication across all repositories.

Easy-to-Manage Backups Free Up Staff Time

“As a small team, we appreciate that ExaGrid is easy to use and set up. Having the confidence that we could get it up and running in full production quickly was particularly important. It only took us one day to get completely set up. I focus far less time on backups during my day-to-day operations, since I don’t really have to worry about it,” said Haberl. “The response from our ExaGrid support engineer is super quick. We rarely need help, but when we do, we get an answer in just a couple of hours versus waiting a couple of days.”

The ExaGrid system was designed to be easy to set up and operate. ExaGrid’s industry-leading level 2 senior support engineers are assigned to individual customers, ensuring they always work with the same engineer. Customers never have to repeat themselves to various support staff, and issues get resolved quickly.

“Enormous Impact” of ExaGrid and Veeam Integration

Haberl has found that the integration between ExaGrid and Veeam has led to major improvements in Avmax’s backup environment. “The combined deduplication with ExaGrid and Veeam has had an enormous impact on our storage capacity. I cannot believe we went without it for so long!”

Veeam uses changed block tracking to perform a level of data deduplication. ExaGrid allows Veeam deduplication and Veeam dedupe-friendly compression to stay on. ExaGrid will increase Veeam’s deduplication by a factor of about 7:1 to a total combined deduplication ratio of 14:1, reducing the storage required and saving on storage costs up front and over time.

Veeam’s backup solutions and ExaGrid’s Tiered Backup Storage combine for the industry’s fastest backups, fastest restores, a scale-out storage system as data grows, and a strong ransomware recovery story – all at the lowest cost.

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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