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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

University Avoids Forklift Upgrade by Installing Scalable ExaGrid System

Customer Overview

Lynn University, founded in 1962 is an independent college based in Boca Raton, Florida, with nearly 3,400 students from over 100 countries. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Key Benefits:

  • ExaGrid system provides more capacity and better performance than former Dell EMC Data Domain system
  • Backup window reduced from 24 hours to just 1-1/2 hours
  • System replicates to the university’s second site for DR protection
  • No future forklift upgrades; scaling the system with data growth is now as easy as adding another ExaGrid appliance
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Lack of Capacity, Need for Better Performance Led to Two-site ExaGrid System

Lynn University decided to look for a new backup solution when its Dell EMC Data Domain system ran out of capacity. “We needed more capacity and better performance from our EMC Data Domain system and were faced with a forklift upgrade because it wasn’t scalable,” said Delroy Honeyghan, network administrator at Lynn University. “We decided to look around for competitive solutions and learned about ExaGrid’s solution. We were immediately impressed with its scalability and its ability to replicate data to another unit offsite for disaster recovery. We also liked the fact that the system backs up data to a landing zone before deduplicating it for faster backup times.”

The university purchased a two-site ExaGrid system to work along with its existing backup applications, Quest vRanger and Veritas Backup Exec. Data is backed up each night to an EX13000appliance in the university’s main datacenter in Boca Raton and then replicated
automatically to an EX7000 appliance in its disaster recovery site in Atlanta.

“We had been backing up the Dell EMC Data Domain system to tape and then sending the tapes offsite. Now, we eliminate that entire step with the two-site ExaGrid system,” Honeyghan said. “Our data is safer and more secure, and it will be easier to recover in the event of a disaster, but the best part is that we’ve been able to reduce our reliance on tape.”

"Our backups had previously been taking nearly 24 hours a day, but now they’re running for only about 90 minutes. We still can’t get over how dramatic the improvement is. "

Delroy Honeyghan, Network Administrator

Scale-out Architecture Delivers Scalability to Accommodate Future Growth

Honeyghan said that ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture will ensure that the university can easily, and cost effectively scale the system as its backup needs increase. “Our old Dell EMC Data Domain system wasn’t scalable, and we would have had to purchase a whole new head to gain capacity. With the ExaGrid, we can just add appliances to increase capacity and maintain performance,” he said.

The ExaGrid system can easily scale to accommodate data growth. ExaGrid’s software makes the system highly scalable – appliances of any size or age can be mixed and matched in a single system. A single scale-out system can take in up to a 2.7PB full backup plus retention at an ingest rate of up to 488TB per hour. 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 customers 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.

Backup Times Reduced from 24 hours to 90 Minutes

Honeyghan said that Lynn University installed the ExaGrid appliances in conjunction with a
network upgrade, and he’s still amazed at the difference in speed and overall performance of the university’s backups.

“We upgraded our network to 10Gb, which contributed to the speed, but still, the ExaGrid system is so much faster than the Dell EMC Data Domain unit was. Our backups had previously been taking nearly 24 hours, but now they’re running for only about 90 minutes. We still can’t get over how dramatic the improvement is,” he said. “ExaGrid’s post-process deduplication methodology helps to ensure that we’re getting the fastest backups possible while reducing the amount of data stored on the system.”

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).

Outstanding 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.

Honeyghan said the ExaGrid system was easy to install and it’s easy to maintain. “I racked the ExaGrid system and called in to our ExaGrid support engineer to assist with the final configuration. She’s been great to work with and is very responsive. I recently worked with her on decreasing the landing space on the ExaGrid system in our colocation center, and she responded right away and was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid system. We’ve been able to cut our reliance on tape and our backup times, and we’re confident that when it’s time to upgrade the system, its scale-out architecture will make it easy to do. It’s been working wonderfully, and we’ve had no issues – it just works.”

ExaGrid and Quest vRanger

Quest vRanger offers full image-level and differential backups of virtual machines to enable faster, more efficient storage and recovery of virtual machines. ExaGrid Tiered Backup Storage serves as the backup target for these virtual machine images, using high-performance data deduplication to dramatically reduce the disk storage capacity required for backups versus standard disk storage.

ExaGrid and Veritas Backup Exec

Veritas Backup Exec provides cost-effective, high-performance backup and recovery – including continuous data protection for Microsoft Exchange servers, Microsoft SQL servers, file servers, and workstations. High-performance agents and options provide fast, flexible, granular protection and scalable management of local and remote server backups.

Organizations using Veritas Backup Exec can look to ExaGrid Tiered Backup Storage for nightly backups. ExaGrid sits behind existing backup applications, such as Veritas Backup Exec, providing faster and more reliable backups and restores. In a network running Veritas Backup Exec, using ExaGrid is as easy as pointing existing backup jobs at a NAS share on the ExaGrid system. Backup jobs are sent directly from the backup application to ExaGrid for backup to disk.

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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