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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

North Attleborough Public School System Cuts Backup Window by 50%

Customer Overview

The North Attleborough Public Schools serve the town of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. North Attleborough is located on the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border, and the district serves approximately 4,400 students from preschool to high school.

Key Benefits:

  • Backup times reduced from fourteen hours to seven hours
  • Backup jobs run ‘flawlessly’
  • Works with the school district’s existing backup application
  • ExaGrid engineer is easy to reach and very experienced with Backup Exec
  • No finger pointing; engineer understands the whole implementation, not just the ExaGrid hardware
  • ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture provides easy scalability to meet increased backup demands
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Time-Consuming Backups Strained Network and IT Staff

Before the North Attleborough Public Schools migrated its backups from straight disk to the ExaGrid system, the district’s backup jobs were running over 14 hours each night, and its IT staff was spending countless hours maintaining and managing backups.

“We had been backing up to disk drives hanging off of our server farm, and the long backup times were impacting our network,” said Wayne Booth, technology assistant for the North Attleborough Public Schools. “As our backup times stretched longer and longer, it became clear to us that we needed a better way to back up our infrastructure, which includes both physical and virtual servers. After researching different approaches, we decided on the ExaGrid system because it’s tried and true, and purpose-built for backup.”

"We liked the fact that as a company, ExaGrid has a singular focus on backup… Our customer support engineer really is an extension of our IT staff. "

Wayne Booth, Technology Assistant

Purpose-built ExaGrid System Automatically Reduces Stored Data

The ExaGrid system works along with the school district’s existing backup application, Veritas Backup Exec, to back up and protect data from multiple school buildings, including business and financial data, as well as student and faculty files.

“We liked the fact that as a company, ExaGrid has a singular focus on backup,” said Booth. “Also, we were very impressed with its data deduplication technology, and we’ve had great success with it. We’re seeing deduplication ratios as high as 28:1, which enables us to maximize the amount of data we store on the system.”

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).

Faster Restores, Backup Times Cut in Half

Booth said that since installing the ExaGrid system, backup times have been cut in half. “Our backup times have been reduced from fourteen hours to seven hours, and we don’t have to worry about troubleshooting backup jobs anymore because they run flawlessly,” he said. “Restores are faster, too, because we can recover files directly from the ExaGrid.”

Assigned Support Engineer Eliminates ‘Finger Pointing’ Between Vendors

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. The district was first introduced to the customer support engineer assigned to its account during installation, Booth said.

“Our support engineer helped to install the system, and he’s been with us ever since,” said Booth. “We’ve been very happy with ExaGrid’s support model. Our engineer is easy to reach, and he has lots of experience with not only the ExaGrid system, but Backup Exec, too. He’s helped us troubleshoot issues that have come up here and there, and the best thing is that there’s no finger pointing because he understands the whole implementation, not just the hardware. Our customer support engineer really is an extension of our IT staff.”

Easy Scalability with Scale-out Architecture

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.

“Recently, our backup data suddenly exploded, and our support engineer has been working with us to determine whether we’ll need to expand the system,” Booth said. “ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture will enable us to easily meet increased backup demands, if needed.” Booth said the ExaGrid system has exceeded expectations. “We’re now able to back up all of the data from our various buildings quickly and efficiently with very little intervention from our IT staff. We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid system.”

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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