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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Scalable ExaGrid System Easily Supports Continued Data Growth for Telecommunications Provider

Customer Overview

Founded in 1951, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is a state-of-the-art telecommunications company that offers phone, digital TV, Internet, security, and wireless services. FTC is headquartered in Kingstree, South Carolina, and serves more than 60,000 customers within a coverage area of 3,000 square miles.

Key Benefits:

  • Veeam and ExaGrid uniquely handle increased data load due to FTC virtualization
  • Easy expansion has enabled FTC to scale the system to back up and protect growing data
  • Simple interface provides fast access to all needed information to manage and monitor the system
  • Customer support is “top-notch”
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Virtualization Increases Data Volume, Requires New Backup Solution

When FTC virtualized its environment, the company’s IT staff decided the time was right to upgrade its backup infrastructure in hopes of improving speed and eliminating tape. “We went from a physical to a virtual environment, and our backup data grew significantly. We simply couldn’t back up everything because our backup jobs were running as long as 24 hours, and tape management was taking up more and more of our day,” said Jamie Mouzon, technical services coordinator at Farmers Telephone Cooperative.

Mouzon said that the first step in overhauling FTC’s backup infrastructure was to replace its legacy backup application with Veeam Backup & Recovery. After Veeam was up and running, it was time to look for a disk-based backup system capable of handling the increased data load. “We were really attracted to the level of integration between ExaGrid and Veeam,” he said. “The two products work hand-in-hand to deliver fast backups and restores, and when it comes to deduplication and replication, there’s no device on the market any better than ExaGrid.”

"When it comes to deduplication and replication, there’s no device on the market any better than ExaGrid. "

Jamie Mouzon, Technical Services Coordinator

Scalability to Grow

FTC purchased a two-site ExaGrid solution and installed one system in its main datacenter and a second offsite for disaster recovery. Over time, the company has scaled the system to handle more data and now has a total of six systems, three in each datacenter.

“We started out with two appliances to back up a limited number servers and then expanded with a third system to handle more data because it was working so well. Since then, we’ve transitioned even more systems to ExaGrid for backup and have added three more appliances to handle the load. We’re looking at sending at least another 20TB of backup data to ExaGrid and will eventually eliminate tape,” Mouzon said.

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.

12:1 Deduplication Helps to Minimize Data Footprint

Mouzon reports that ExaGrid’s data deduplication technology helps to reduce the amount of data stored on the system. “ExaGrid’s data deduplication reduces our data by 12:1, so we’re able to store much more information than we ever thought we could. It’s really unbelievable,” he said.

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).

ExaGrid and Veeam can instantly recover a file or VMware virtual machine by running it directly from the ExaGrid appliance in the event that the file is lost, corrupted or encrypted or the primary storage VM becomes unavailable. This instant recovery is possible because of ExaGrid’s Landing Zone – a high-speed disk cache on the ExaGrid appliance that retains the most recent backups in their complete form. Once the primary storage environment has been brought back to a working state, the VM backed up on the ExaGrid appliance can then be migrated to primary storage for continued operation.

Fast Installation, Intuitive to Use, 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. Customers never have to repeat themselves to various support staff, and issues get resolved quickly.

“We were able to get the system up and running and working with Veeam in no time at all. We’ve also found it very easy to use and to maintain. The interface is simple to work with and it provides fast access to all the information we need to manage and monitor the system,” Mouzon said. “Also, ExaGrid’s customer support is the best in the field. Our support engineer monitors our system remotely and knows about any potential issue even before we do. When we first purchased the ExaGrid system, we were assigned a support engineer, and he has worked with us from day one. If I have any questions, I can reach out to him at any time. I deal directly with my assigned engineer, which means that I don’t need to waste time explaining our device layout every time I need support. My engineer has actually notified me of a problem on our ExaGrid even before I was made aware of the issue. I would recommend ExaGrid to anyone based solely on the top-notch support we receive,” said Mouzon.

Mouzon said that he’d recommend the ExaGrid system to other organizations seeking to reduce backup times and eliminate tape.

“The ExaGrid system has been a fantastic solution for us. We’ve been able to achieve our original goals of improving backup speed and reducing the amount of time spent on backups – and we’ve also eliminated tape. We’re confident that we’ll be able to grow the system seamlessly as our needs increase.”

ExaGrid and Veeam

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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