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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

The Old Globe Theatre Replaces Straight Disk with ExaGrid

Customer Overview

The Tony Award–winning The Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional not-for-profit regional theatres. Now in its 88th year, the Globe is San Diego’s flagship performing arts institution, and it serves a vibrant community with theatre as a public good. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and the Audrey S. Geisel Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 16 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages, including its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people annually attend Globe productions and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs.

Key Benefits:

  • Data deduplication maximizes amount of data the theater can store
  • Retention increased to four months of nightly full backups
  • Backups run faster; backup window improved by 30% over straight disk
  • Painless full server restore in under an hour
  • The theater simply changed the target for backup; no need to rebuild backup jobs
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Straight Disk Doesn’t Solve Backup Problems

The Old Globe had abandoned tape in favor of disk and was using a combination of direct attached storage and consumer- level disk backup devices to back up its business data. While the theatre’s IT staff liked the convenience of backing up to disk over dealing with tape, backups ran slowly and there wasn’t enough disk capacity to properly back up all of the data while maintaining retention goals. To make matters worse, the staff still spent hours each week juggling backup jobs and managing restores.

“We moved from tape to disk in hopes of making life easier and reducing the amount of time we were spending on managing backups, but retention and backup times quickly became big issues,” said Dean Yager, IT manager at The Old Globe. “We were constantly running out of time and space, and it seemed like we had to go in and adjust backup jobs every other week just to get everything done.”

The Old Globe began looking for economical disk to add to its network but then decided to go in a different direction. “Initially, we started looking at SAN devices, but they were all too expensive and we were concerned about the idea of backing up our data where our primary data is housed,” said Yager. “Finally, we talked with our VAR, and they suggested we look at disk-based backup solutions with data deduplication.”

"Having the ExaGrid system in place probably dropped my interaction with backups by 70 to 80 percent. "

Dean Yager, IT Manager

ExaGrid Proves to be the Best and Economical Solution

The Old Globe purchased an ExaGrid system after also briefly considering a Dell EMC Data Domain unit, which came in at a price point that far exceeded the theatre’s budget. “The ExaGrid system was by far the most economical option, especially considering the amount of data we could store in the unit using its data deduplication technology. We’re currently storing 18TB of data on our ExaGrid system; purchasing a SAN for that amount of data would have been insanely expensive,” said Yager.

Exchange Data Reduced 52:1

Yager said that ExaGrid’s post-process data deduplication technology maximizes the amount of data the theatre is able to store while improving backup times. “We’re seeing data deduplication ratios as high as 52:1 with our Exchange data, and we’re able to store four months of full nightly backups,” he said.

“Also, since the ExaGrid backs up our data before the data deduplication process begins, our backups run more efficiently. Our backup times have improved 25 to 30 percent, which is amazing considering we were already backing up to disk.”

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).

Full Server Restore in Less than an Hour

According to Yager, restoring data is also far more efficient with the ExaGrid system. Prior to installing the ExaGrid, the theatre stored its removable disks offsite and if a user requested a file that was more than two weeks old, the theatre’s IT staff had to retrieve the disk and then locate the correct file, a process that was extremely time-consuming. Now, the theatre has direct access to its information stored on the ExaGrid, and as the theatre’s IT staff recently found out, restores can be completed quickly and easily.

“We recently had to restore a full server from the ExaGrid system and it took less than an hour,” he said. “The difference between backing up from the ExaGrid and from our old removable disks is like night and day.”

Fast Setup, Superior 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.

“The ExaGrid system fit perfectly into our existing infrastructure. Because we were able to plug the ExaGrid right into Backup Exec, I didn’t have to rebuild any of the backup jobs. I just set the backup target to a different drive, and I was done,” Yager said. “Also, ExaGrid’s support has been fantastic. During the installation, our support engineer walked me through the system and taught me about the ins and outs of the system, so I had a high level of comfort with it. Ongoing support has been terrific, too. We once had a power outage, and we received a call because our engineer noticed the system was offline.”

Scale-out Architecture Provides Smooth Path for Future Expansion

ExaGrid’s award-winning scale-out architecture provides customers with a fixed-length backup window regardless of data growth. Its unique disk-cache Landing Zone allows for the fastest backups and retains the most recent backup in its full undeduplicated form, enabling the fastest restores.

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. “We purchased the system with plenty of room for growth, so I’m confident that when the time comes, we’ll be able to easily expand the system,” Yager said.

Installing the ExaGrid system has significantly improved The Globe Theatre’s backup processes and reduced the amount of time its IT staff spends managing backups. “Since we installed the ExaGrid system, I don’t have to think about backups. In fact, having the system in place probably dropped my interaction with backups by 70 to 80 percent,” he said. “The system was a perfect fit for our environment.”

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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