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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Catalina Marketing Gets Rid of Tape and Chooses ExaGrid for Improved Disaster Recovery

Customer Overview

Catalina is the market leader in shopper intelligence and highly targeted in-store and digital media that personalizes the shopper journey. Powered by the world’s richest real-time shopper database, Catalina helps CPG brands, retailers and agencies optimize every stage of media planning, execution and measurement to deliver $6.1 billion in consumer value annually. Catalina has no higher priority than ensuring the privacy and security of the data entrusted to the company and maintaining the consumer trust paramount to the continued success of its business partners and its own. Catalina has operations in the United States, Costa Rica, Europe and Japan.

Key Benefits:

  • Backups that used to take a week take less than ten hours
  • Restores that used to take a day or more are now done in just minutes
  • Scale-out system architecture provides ‘smooth’ upgrade path
  • ‘Fantastic’ customer support
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Slow Backup Jobs, Tape Management Issues Led to Backup Modernization

Catalina Marketing’s IT department found itself outside its backup window and was spending way too much time on tape management and maintenance problems.

“Our backup jobs were running way too long, and we were constantly cleaning tape drives, switching tapes out, and troubleshooting failed backup jobs,” said Ivan Feo, associate engineer at Catalina Marketing. “We decided the time was right to modernize our backup infrastructure and began looking at disk-based backup solutions. We believed the disk-based approach would deliver the speed and efficiency we were looking for.”

"It was taking a week to back up our shared directories, but now we can complete the job in less than ten hours… ExaGrid’s scale-out system architecture has given us a smooth upgrade path, and has enabled us to quickly and easily grow the system to accommodate more data, along with improving our disaster recovery process worldwide. "

Ivan Feo, Associate Engineer

Recovery, Speeds Backups

After looking at several different solutions, Catalina Marketing chose ExaGrid’s disk-based backup solution with data deduplication. The three-site ExaGrid system works along with Dell NetWorker to back up and protect data from the company’s corporate data center in St.
Petersburg, Florida and from other sites in Orlando, Florida and Japan. Data is replicated among sites for disaster recovery.

Feo noted that since installing the ExaGrid system, backup times are significantly faster. “It used to take a week to back up our shared directories, but now we can complete the job in less than ten hours,” he said. “Restoring data is much faster and more efficient with the ExaGrid system. Our tapes were stored offsite, so by the time we called back the right tape and searched for the correct data, it could take a day or more to recover a file. Now, we can restore files in minutes.”

Data Deduplication Ratios as High as 37:1

Feo said that ExaGrid’s data deduplication technology helps to reduce the amount of data stored on the system, ensuring that retention is maximized.

“We’ve been impressed with the ExaGrid system’s data deduplication results,” he said. “We back up a large amount of business-critical corporate resources on both physical and virtual machines, and the ExaGrid system does a great job at reducing our stored data. We’re seeing data deduplication ratios as high as 37:1 on our Linux systems.”

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).

Fast Installation, Superior Customer Support

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.

According to Feo, “The ExaGrid system is easy to install, upgrade, and manage. I have done installs and upgrades myself, but I have an extra level of comfort just knowing that our ExaGrid support engineer is available if I have any issues.”

“ExaGrid’s customer support is fantastic. The fact that our support engineer is an experienced, in house employee and easy to reach is a BIG plus. Whenever I have a question, I can call him and, if needed, he will remote into the system, look around, and quickly resolve any issue,” he said.

Scale-out Architecture Ensures Flexible Upgrade Path

Since the initial installation, Catalina Marketing has expanded the ExaGrid system, adding additional units to handle more data. 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.

“ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture has given us a smooth upgrade path and enabled us to grow the system to accommodate more data and improve our disaster recovery worldwide,” said Feo. “Upgrading or adding more units is a simple, straightforward process.” Feo said that having the ExaGrid system in place enables him to spend more time responding to the needs of his users and less time managing backups.

“The ExaGrid system has significantly improved the speed and reliability of our backup process, and improved our ability to recover information in a timely manner,” he said. “It’s also easy to use, backed by fantastic customer support, and it works well with our backup application. We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid system.”

ExaGrid and Dell NetWorker

Dell NetWorker provides a complete, flexible and integrated backup and recovery solution for Windows, NetWare, Linux and UNIX environments. For large datacenters or individual departments, Dell EMC NetWorker protects and helps ensure the availability of all critical applications and data. It features the highest levels of hardware support for even the largest devices, innovative support for disk technologies, storage area network (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS) environments and reliable protection of enterprise class databases and messaging systems.

Organizations using NetWorker can look to ExaGrid for nightly backups. ExaGrid sits behind existing backup applications, such as NetWorker, providing faster and more reliable backups and restores. In a network running NetWorker, using ExaGrid 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 onsite backup to disk.

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).

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. In addition, ExaGrid appliances can replicate to a second ExaGrid appliance at a second site or to the public cloud for DR (disaster recovery).

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 2.7PB full backup in a single system.

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