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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network Dramatically Reduces Backup Times with ExaGrid and Veeam

Customer Overview

The CTN is a Canada-wide partnership of researchers, caregivers, governments, health advocates, the innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, and people living with HIV who are committed to developing treatments, preventions and a cure for HIV and related health conditions, through the conduct of scientifically sound and ethical trials. They are committed to maximizing the impact of research and ultimately improving the health of Canadians by applying knowledge gained through research at home and abroad into applications and practice.

Key Benefits:

  • The ExaGrid system is budget friendly
  • Seamless integration with Veeam to support 100% virtualized environment
  • Fast, easy setup
  • Backups that used to run continuously are now completed overnight
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CTN’s Backup Window Was Always Open

CTN was backing up its Linux, Oracle, Windows, and Exchange servers to tape and backups were running continually; there simply was not enough time in a day to complete their backups. CTN needed a solution that would address their backup window issues and meet the fiscal limitations of their publicly funded budget.

"The ExaGrid gives me peace of mind. I know I have a solution that I can rely on. I set it and forget it and I don’t have to worry about it. "

Joey Castro, Systems Administrator

CTN Evaluates Alternatives to Tape

CTN’s search for a solution included the evaluation of Dell EMC Data Domain, Quantum, Nimble Technology, and ExaGrid. CTN decided on ExaGrid after evaluating each solution specifically for performance, capacity, and price.

“ExaGrid’s post-process deduplication made the most sense,” said Joey Castro, assistant administrator at CTN. “We found all the others, especially Data Domain, to be much more expensive than ExaGrid – and not just in terms of the initial costs. We realized that any future expansion of our ExaGrid will be much less expensive as well compared to the other solutions.” he said.

CTN Chooses ExaGrid-Veeam

Since CTN’s environment is 100% virtualized, Castro knew that with the ExaGrid appliance, he could take full advantage of Veeam’s industry leading data protection. “We switched to both the ExaGrid hardware and the Veeam software solution at the same time,” said Joey Castro.

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.

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).

Installation was Fast and Simple

Once CTN purchased their ExaGrid, installation was fast and simple. Their dedicated support engineer performed the setup, requiring CTN to only supply a name for the ExaGrid and a set of IP addresses for it to join their network.

“Our ExaGrid support engineer walked us through the setup over the phone. There was no need for him to come onsite, and it was done at our convenience. Once our ExaGrid was up and running, he then helped us configure our first Veeam backups to the ExaGrid,” said Castro. 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. Customer’s never have to repeat themselves to various support staff, and issues get resolved quickly.

Continuously Running Backups Now Done in Hours

Prior to installing their ExaGrid and Veeam backup solution, CTN’s backups would run continually. There was never enough time in a single day to finish. Now, thanks to ExaGrid and Veeam, their backups run and complete in just a few hours. According to Castro, “With the ExaGrid, my backups complete every night. When I come in the morning, they’re done. The ExaGrid gives me peace of mind. I know I have a solution that I can rely on. It will always be there, and it requires no maintenance. Its automated alerts give me daily updates so I can set it and forget it, and I don’t have to worry about it,” said Joey Castro.

ExaGrid and Veeam

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.

Scale-out Architecture Ensures Flexible Upgrade Path

ExaGrid’s award-winning scale-out architecture provides customers with a fixed-length backup window regardless of data growth. Its unique disk-cache Landing Zone allows for the fastest backups and retains the most recent backup in its full undeduplicated form, enabling the fastest restores.

ExaGrid’s appliance models can be mixed and matched into a single scale-out system allowing a full backup of up to 2.7PB with a combined ingest rate of 488TB/hr, in a single system. The appliances automatically join the scale-out system. Each appliance includes the appropriate amount of processor, memory, disk, and bandwidth for the data size. By adding compute with capacity, the backup window remains fixed in length as the data grows. Automatic load balancing across all repositories allows for full utilization of all appliances. Data is deduplicated into an offline repository, and additionally, data is globally deduplicated across all repositories.

This combination of capabilities in a turnkey appliance makes the ExaGrid system easy to install, manage, and scale. ExaGrid’s architecture provides lifetime value and investment protection that no other architecture can match.

Intelligent Data Protection

ExaGrid’s turnkey disk-based backup system combines enterprise drives with zone-level data deduplication, delivering a disk-based solution that is far more cost effective than simply backing up to disk with deduplication or using backup software deduplication to disk. ExaGrid’s patented zone-level deduplication reduces the disk space needed by a range of 10:1 to 50:1, depending on the data types and retention periods, by storing only the unique objects across backups instead of redundant data. Adaptive Deduplication performs deduplication and replication in parallel with backups. As data is being deduplicated to the repository, it is also replicated to a second ExaGrid site or the public cloud for disaster recovery (DR).

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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