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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

ExaGrid-Veeam Solution Modernizes Backup Environment for Wholesale Power Cooperative

Customer Overview

For over 75 years, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) has provided wholesale electricity to its owner-member distribution cooperatives. EKPC owns and operates four power plants and six renewable energy plants in the U.S., providing affordable power to its 16 owner- member distributors that serve 1.1 million residents. EKPC generates more green power than any other utility state-wide.

Key Benefits:

  • Oracle database backups reduced from 14 to 2 hours using ExaGrid
  • Ease of system setup and backup management allows EKPC’s IT staff to ‘use time more efficiently’
  • ExaGrid-Veeam solution provides fast data restores
  • ‘Proactive’ ExaGrid supportkeeps system upgraded
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ExaGrid-Veeam Combo Proves Optimal for EKPC’s IT Environment

The IT staff at East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) had grown frustrated with their existing backup environment and the amount of management time it required, especially after going through numerous backup applications. The time had come for a more efficient and leading edge alternative.

James Binkley, EKPC’s senior systems administrator, attended a local trade show hosted by an IT vendor, and was impressed by the ExaGrid presentation. “After the trade show, I read through the material that the ExaGrid sales team sent over, and I was sold on the system – particularly how simple it would be to set up and especially because we would no longer need to install a client on each virtual machine (VM) we back up.”

EKPC installed ExaGrid appliances at two of the co-op’s locations and its DR site for offsite replication, installing Veeam as its new backup application. EKPC’s backup environment is a blend of VMs that are backed up using Veeam, and Oracle and SQL databases on physical servers, which are backed up to ExaGrid directly.

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).

"We are constantly receiving data from several locations across the state, and ExaGrid’s data deduplication has helped us to work within our limited bandwidth. "

James Binkley, Senior Systems Administrator

Backup Window Reduction of 7X

Binkley backs up EKPC’s data in daily incrementals and runs weekly, quarterly, and annual fulls, as well as running a nightly full database backup. “It used to take up to 14 hours to back up our Oracle databases, and that’s been reduced to just a couple of hours with ExaGrid. Our VM backups are much shorter, too! Veeam backs up 60 VMs daily to ExaGrid in just a couple of hours. We are constantly receiving data from several locations across the state, and ExaGrid’s data deduplication has helped us to work within our limited bandwidth,” said Binkley.

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).

Unique Landing Zone = Fast Restores

“One of my favorite features of ExaGrid is data restores and how easy they are. Most of the data that I restore is from the previous night’s backup, and I like that the backup is still instantly available in the landing zone, and I don’t have to wait for the data to rehydrate. Locating a file to restore using Veeam only takes minutes, so data is very quick and easy to restore,” Binkley said.

Switching to ExaGrid has allowed EKPC’s IT staff to use their time more efficiently. “Using ExaGrid, our data is backed up and replicated automatically; it’s all behind the scenes,” he said.

Proactive Customer Support

Binkley finds that ExaGrid is simple to manage but knows that his assigned ExaGrid support engineer is available to provide assistance, if needed. “Setting up the ExaGrid system was easy. I read through the customer guide, and I had my system up and running within minutes.

“My ExaGrid support engineer lets me know when the system needs an update and will upgrade it for me remotely. When I contact him, I don’t wait days for a response to a trouble ticket; he’s always on top of it. He’s proactive, and will let me know if a drive has failed; by the time I notice, a new drive is already on its 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. Customer’s never have to repeat themselves to various support staff, and issues get resolved quickly.

ExaGrid and Veeam: ‘Excellent’ Together

Binkley has been impressed at how easy it is to use ExaGrid and Veeam together. “I can create a Veeam share in ExaGrid, point Veeam at it, and I’m done. The integration between the two products is excellent.” 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.

ExaGrid-Veeam Combined Dedupe

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.

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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