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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Dimension Data Partners with ExaGrid to Offer Clients the Best Data Protection

Customer Overview

Dimension Data is a leading African born technology provider and a proud member of the NTT Group, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. By combining Dimension Data’s regional experience with NTT’s leading global services, Dimension Data delivers powerful technology solutions and innovations that enable a secure and connected future for its people, clients, and communities.

Key Benefits:

  • ExaGrid provides unrivaled support model
  • Cost-effective, scalable solution to recommend to clients
  • ExaGrid’s reliability leads to high marks in backup reports for clients
  • Seamless integration with all backup applications
  • ExaGrid’s interface is well written, for ease of management
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Dimension Data Has High Confidence in ExaGrid

Dimension Data helps their customers drive competitive advantage by solving some of the major business and technology challenges they face. Africa’s leading technology provider has confidence in ExaGrid’s Tiered Backup Storage because it addresses all their backup storage concerns.

“When I started at Dimension Data, ExaGrid was already in the company as a preferred partner. My job is to represent the client as a service provider, on behalf of Dimension Data. Running operations at an optimal level is a requirement,” said Jaco Burger, client service operations manager. “We recommend ExaGrid because we only work with the best. ExaGrid proves that every day.”

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.

"At Dimension Data, we team up with partners that have exceptional support, and that’s what ExaGrid offers. I would say it’s not just from a product perspective, but it’s about the relationship that we can entrust within ExaGrid. They come to the party ready to help, and that’s one of the big reasons we recommend their solution and why our clients are happy. "

Jaco Burger, Client Service Operations Manager

ExaGrid Deduplication Provides Storage Savings for Clients

Dimension Data appreciates how ExaGrid’s deduplication saves costs for clients and enables a long-term solution that accounts for data growth.

“One client I work with is primarily snapshotting server infrastructure through NetBackup and transferring the data back into ExaGrid storage. The environment consists of almost 500 physical servers at this stage, which consists of file-level backups, VMs, SQL databases, Oracle applications, databases, application layers, and user data,” said Burger. “We follow the industry’s best practice standards – so we perform daily incrementals, weekly, and monthly backups. We’ve also implemented quarterlies, along with our yearly backups. Our clients keep retention periods up to seven years on critical systems, which is often required by law for audits in South Africa. It’s imperative that we have great deduplication!”

ExaGrid’s innovative approach to data deduplication minimizes the amount of data to be stored by using zone-level data deduplication across all received backups. ExaGrid’s patented zone-level technology stores only the changed data at a granular level from backup to backup instead of storing full copies. ExaGrid uses zone stamps and similarity detection. This unique approach reduces the disk space required by an average of 20:1 and from 10:1 up to 50:1 depending on data type, retention and backup rotation delivering unparalleled performance for the fastest backups and restores.

ExaGrid Meets Dimension Data’s BCP Requirements

Burger is pleased with the reliability that ExaGrid Tiered Backup Storage provides. “We check the backup reports regularly and it’s very seldom that we have a failed backup. We analyze the replication that needs to happen between the ExaGrid production and the DR environment. We also report on Business Continuity Planning (BCP) monthly–and those always check out with high marks,” he said.

“ExaGrid’s Landing Zone vastly improves the performance of restores. We test restores every month with certain applications, and they all come out successfully. Restores on the fly, regarding emergency restores or scheduled restores, have never been a problem. Using ExaGrid ensures the data is always available.” 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).

Ease of Scalability Matters

Data growth is always something that needs to be considered for Dimension Data clients. They size solutions and source the optimal technology that is scalable into the future.

“We are adding more ExaGrid appliances into one of our client’s environments to support significant data growth. In two years, when we decommission them for end-of-life protocol, we will also add new appliances. The idea with this client is to purchase ExaGrid appliances every two years, on a rolling format. Even though they are planning on moving to the cloud, they’re strongly considering moving into a private cloud which will be in a data center in South Africa, and they’ll always stick to the ExaGrid appliances because they’re just guaranteed on speed, so the connectivity back to that data center will get much faster results,” said Burger.

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 organizations 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.

ExaGrid’s Unique Support Model Stands Out

“My first exposure with the ExaGrid support team was an escalated issue that was ultimately identified as a DNS problem in the environment. It was an absolute breath of fresh air and a pleasure dealing with the ExaGrid support engineer on a professional level, due to the feedback they were giving us and the around-the-clock work they were doing. They really treated the situation as if it was their own devices being down. It made Dimension Data look very good because we were equipped and provided constant updates back to our client, so the client could sit back and relax. We got it sorted out in a short time,” said Burger.

“I’m thankful to ExaGrid for the exceptional support they give us. And I praise the product and the solution for what it is, what it offers – it’s really that good. It’s even better to see the level of senior engineers and skill ExaGrid has behind their product globally. That speaks to what it can offer to a client. This is not just a pop-shop setup. It’s really a professional setup and a proper partner in every way.”

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.

A Solution Dimension Data Can Trust

“ExaGrid is a rock-solid, steady, and stable solution – it’s always working. It offers great security features, such as encryption at rest, for data protection. ExaGrid’s admin interface is very user-friendly and well written very well. At Dimension Data, we team up with partners that have exceptional support, and that’s what ExaGrid offers. I would say it’s not just from a product perspective, but it’s about the relationship that we can entrust within ExaGrid. They come to the party ready to help, and that’s one of the big reasons we recommend their solution and why our clients are happy,” said Burger.

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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