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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

The Energy Authority Avoids ‘Rip and Replace’ by Installing ExaGrid System

Customer Overview

The Energy Authority (TEA) is a public power-owned, nonprofit corporation with offices in Jacksonville, Florida and Bellevue (Seattle), Washington. As a national portfolio management company, we evaluate challenges, manage risks and execute solutions to help our clients maximize the value of their assets and meet their goals in a cost effective manner.

Key Benefits:

  • Superior price/performance
  • Scale-out architecture and scalability negate future ‘rip and replace’
  • Deduplication approach provides faster backup performance and quick restores
  • Reliable system ‘just runs’
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Search for Scalable Backup Solution

The Energy Authority (TEA) is a data- intensive business where solid, consistent backups are paramount. When the company’s rapidly growing data came close to exceeding the capacity of its disk-based backup system, TEA’s IT staff realized that the system couldn’t be upgraded and began looking for a new solution. “We were looking at a ‘rip and replace’ situation with our old disk-based backup solution because it simply wasn’t expandable,” said Scott Follick, IT manager, service delivery and support for TEA. “We needed a new scalable backup solution that could deliver the capacity we needed along with the scalability necessary to grow along with our backup requirements.”

"We looked at several different solutions, and the ExaGrid system was the clear price/performance winner. We also were impressed with its scalability and the way we could grow the system over time without the need to do a complete replacement. "

Scott Follick, IT Manager, Service Delivery and Support

ExaGrid Delivers Superior Price/ Performance, Seamless Scalability

After looking at solutions from ExaGrid, Quantum and Dell EMC Data Domain, TEA chose the ExaGrid system based on price and scalability. “We looked at several different solutions, and the ExaGrid system was the clear price/ performance winner,” said Follick. “We also were impressed with its scalability and the way we could grow the system over time without the need to do a complete replacement.”

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.

Post-Process Data Deduplication Speeds Backups and Restores

TEA uses the ExaGrid system to back up and protect its SQL and Oracle RMAN data and will be integrating the system with its backup application, Commvault in the coming months. The firm installed a primary ExaGrid system in its Jacksonville datacenter and a second system offsite in Atlanta for disaster recovery.

“One of the things we liked about the ExaGrid solution was its data deduplication approach. We looked carefully at different types of deduplication technology, and we liked that the ExaGrid system backs up the data to a landing zone before the deduplication process begins, so we get better performance and restores are faster,” Follick said. “We’re currently seeing data deduplication ratios of 9:1 for Oracle data and 7:1 for SQL.”

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, Simple Installation and Management

Follick said that installing the ExaGrid system was simple and straightforward. “I worked with our ExaGrid customer support engineer to install the system and we were able to get it up and running fairly quickly. It really is a ‘set it and forget it’ type of technology. I get a daily report with details on the state of each backup job and ExaGrid reaches out and notifies me if there’s a problem with the system. I’m not manning or managing the device every day – it just runs,” he said. “We also have a good relationship with our support engineer. He’s proactive and knowledgeable and is a good resource for us.”

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.

Scalability in Just Minutes

“We’ve expanded the ExaGrid system at our primary site, and we’re planning to expand it in our disaster recovery site within the next 30 days. It’s incredibly simple to scale the system. Once the unit is racked up and we assign an IP address, ExaGrid support takes over and finishes the setup. It takes only a few minutes,” said Follick.

Follick said that installing the ExaGrid system was the right decision for TEA. “We have a great deal of confidence in the ExaGrid system. It’s rock-solid and it’s easily scalable, so we can grow the system as our backup requirements grow,” he said.

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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