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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Pactiv Evergreen Packages a Backup Solution with ExaGrid-Veeam that Delivers Speed, Reliability, and Security

Customer Overview

Pactiv Evergreen Inc. (NASDAQ: PTVE) is a leading manufacturer and distributor of fresh food service and food merchandising products and fresh beverage cartons in North America. With a team of approximately 16,000 employees, the Company produces a broad range of on-trend and feature-rich products that protect, package, and display food and beverages for today’s consumers. Its products, many of which are made with recycled, recyclable, or renewable materials, are sold to a diversified mix of customers, including restaurants, food service distributors, retailers, food and beverage producers, packers, and processors. Pactiv Evergreen is headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Key Benefits:

  • “Impressive” ExaGrid-Veeam deduplication saves on storage
  • ExaGrid’s Retention Time-Lock helps Pactiv Evergreen meet cybersecurity goals
  • Restores are “very quick” using ExaGrid and Veeam
  • IT team finds ExaGrid system easy to scale with new appliances
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A Phased Approach Proves Efficient

Pactiv Evergreen had been using Veritas NetBackup to back up data to a Dell EMC solution until they decided to divide the backup solution based on the infrastructure level. This phased approach divided the VMware virtualization platform to the ExaGrid-Veeam solution as the front end. Then they moved all physical infrastructure from the data center to UNIX and Linux using NetBackup, with tape backups on the back end.

“After a recent office relocation, we moved 60% of our production off virtualization to Azure. We cut our physical footprint and migrated most of our physical machines to virtualized products. There are only a few physical servers left. Now, we back up all of our data to ExaGrid, whether it’s a physical server or virtual machine,” said Minhaj Ahmed, VMware Virtualization Architect for Pactiv Evergreen.

All of the virtual machines (VMs), including Microsoft or Linux platforms running on VMware, are backed up to ExaGrid using Veeam. “Our data is a mix of everything, including Exchange servers, Oracle RMAN and SQL databases, and Windows and Linux data,” said Ahmed.

"I’ve never seen a company provide a dedicated, one-to-one support engineer before. ExaGrid takes care of its customers very well and their input is highly valuable. Their support team is always available and on top of it. "

Minhaj Ahmed, VMware Virtualization Architect

ExaGrid-Veeam Integration Provides Many Benefits

Ahmed backs up Pactiv Evergreen’s data in daily incremental backups and weekly synthetic backups, keeping two weeks’ worth of retention to restore data from.

“Restores are very quick using ExaGrid and Veeam,” he said. 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.

“I’m impressed with the deduplication we get from our ExaGrid-Veeam solution. It saves a lot of space on our ExaGrid system. Over the years, ExaGrid has released firmware updates that have continued to improve on its deduplication and integration with Veeam, and our dedupe ratios have doubled since we started using it, which is a tremendous increase,” said Ahmed.

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.

ExaGrid Provides Efficient Cross-Replication for DR

Pactiv Evergreen replicates its data offsite for added data protection. “Using ExaGrid, we’ve been able to set up direct replication from the ExaGrid system at our primary site to the ExaGrid system at our secondary backup datacenter, over the wire. 95% of the data actually running is on the primary site, with a few machines running on the secondary site which replicate to the primary site,” said Ahmed.

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).

Cybersecurity Goals Achieved with ExaGrid Retention Time-Lock

ExaGrid’s Retention Time-Lock for Ransomware Recovery feature has been helpful in meeting Pactiv Evergreen’s cybersecurity goals. “We use Retention Time-Lock. I set it up with the default ten-day feature to start, but if our security team wants more, we can extend it. Cybersecurity is a key initiative that we are working on throughout our IT infrastructure. Ransomware protection and the ability to recover was an important aspect of our strategy,” said Ahmed.

ExaGrid appliances have a network-facing disk-cache Landing Zone where the most recent backups are stored in an undeduplicated format for fast backup and restore performance. Data is deduplicated into a non-network-facing tier called the Repository Tier, for longer-term retention. ExaGrid’s unique architecture and features including Retention-Time Lock for Ransomware Recovery (RTL) provide comprehensive security, and through the combination of a non-network-facing tier (tiered air gap), a delayed delete policy, and immutable data objects, backup data is protected from being deleted or encrypted. ExaGrid’s offline tier is ready for recovery in the event of an attack.

Scalability is Key for Future Growth

Ahmed is impressed with how easy it is to add and upgrade ExaGrid appliances. “We recently upgraded our appliances, which reduced our rack space footprint. Our ExaGrid customer support engineer handles everything, so it’s very efficient. All I need to do is plug in the appliance and then work with my support engineer to decommission the old appliance and point the data back into the new one. It’s that easy!” 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.

Customer Support Makes Management a Breeze

One of Ahmed’s favorite features about using ExaGrid is its customer support. “ExaGrid’s support is very strong. I’ve never seen a company provide a dedicated, one-to-one support engineer before. ExaGrid takes care of its customers very well and their input is highly valuable. Their support team is always available and on top of it,” he said.

I find ExaGrid very intuitive and easy to manage – it’s literally storage behind the scenes. It’s a very stable system so I’ve rarely had any issues in the past seven years we’ve used it, and those were handled proactively by my ExaGrid support engineer. Once, we saw things were about to crash and the team at ExaGrid did their magic and brought all the data back again. The customer support is excellent!

“The top things I love about the ExaGrid solution – ransomware recovery, excellent dedupe functionality, and that the GUI is not complicated, so anybody can handle the backup administration,” said Ahmed. 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.

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.

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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