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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Honolulu Says ‘Aloha’ to Better, Faster Backups with ExaGrid System

Customer Overview

Honolulu County (officially known as the City and County of Honolulu) includes both the urban district of Honolulu and the rest of the island of O’ahu as well as several minor outlying islands. The population of Honolulu County is approximately 960,000, making it the tenth-largest municipality in the United States.

Key Benefits:

  • Timely backup completion results in maximum server and network performance
  • ‘Effortless’ backups no longer require weekend management as was the case with tape backups
  • Expansion is ‘easy’ and upgrades are ‘painless’
  • ‘Top-notch’ customer support when issues arise
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Need for Faster Backups Led to ExaGrid

Before installing the ExaGrid system, the IT staff at the City and County of Honolulu struggled with long weekly backups to tape that consistently ran into Monday mornings, causing server and network slowdowns for its nearly 8,000 users.

“When our backups began affecting server and network response times, we decided the time was right to look for a new system capable of reducing our backup windows and our reliance on tape,” said Tobin Hirota, systems analyst for the City and County of Honolulu. “After researching various solutions, we decided to purchase the ExaGrid appliance because we liked its hardware-based approach and post-process data deduplication technology.”

"The system is easy to use and manage, upgrades are painless, and it’s backed by some of the best customer support in the industry. We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid system. "

Tobin Hirota, Systems Analyst

ExaGrid System Delivers Strong Data Deduplication, Reduces Backup Times

Honolulu installed a single-site ExaGrid disk-based backup system with data deduplication in its disaster recovery center located 25 miles outside of Honolulu. The ExaGrid system works along with Honolulu’s existing backup application, Commvault.

“We work under a pretty tight budget, so in addition to acquisition cost, we also looked closely at ongoing cost projections. We didn’t want to get into a situation where we were constantly purchasing additional storage capacity, so data deduplication became a key factor in our evaluation,” said Hirota. “We spent a lot of time comparing ExaGrid’s deduplication process to the competition, and we found significant advantages to its hardware-based, post- process approach. ExaGrid’s deduplication technology is extremely effective at reducing data, and because the backups are completed after the data lands on the system, the jobs run as quickly as possible.” Hirota said that today, the ExaGrid system delivers an overall deduplication ratio of 6.5:1, with some data reducing as high as 100:1, depending upon the type of data stored.

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).

Since installing the ExaGrid appliance, backup jobs are completed well within Honolulu’s defined backup windows and are always completed by Monday mornings, so its servers and network run as efficiently as possible.

Fast Setup, Top-Notch 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.

“Setting up the ExaGrid appliance was fast and easy. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but I had some guidance from our support engineer, who made sure that everything was done correctly,” said Hirota. “ExaGrid’s customer support team has been simply top notch. We’ve had the system installed for several years now and have always had consistently great support. Our support engineer is knowledgeable and easy to get in touch with if we have a question or concern.”

Scalability for Future Growth

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.

“We expanded the ExaGrid system to handle more data, and it was as easy as plugging another unit into the switch,” said Hirota. “I used to spend weekends managing backups, but now they run effortlessly each and every night. The system is easy to use and manage, upgrades are painless, and it’s backed by some of the best customer support in the industry. We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid system.”

ExaGrid and CommVault

The Commvault backup application has a level of data deduplication. ExaGrid can ingest Commvault deduplicated data and increase the level of data deduplication by 3X providing a combined deduplication ratio of 15;1, significantly reducing the amount and cost of storage up front and over time. Instead of performing data at rest encryption in Commvault ExaGrid, performs this function in the disk drives in nanoseconds. This approach provides an increase of 20% to 30% for Commvault environments while greatly reducing storage costs.

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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