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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

ExaGrid System Reduces School District’s Backup Window by 63%

Customer Overview

The Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District serves nearly 2,000 students in Ontario County, New York.

Key Benefits:

  • Restores that used to be cumbersome and time consuming are now done quickly with a few keystrokes
  • The system fit seamlessly into the district’s infrastructure
  • Backup times reduced from 48 hours to 18
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Need to Upgrade Tape Library, Reduce Time Spent on Restores

John Renahan supports the Phelps-Clifton Springs (Midlakes) Central School District as part of his role at Edutech, an organization that provides administrative and instructional technology services to the state of New York’s 700 school districts. According to Renahan, the school district decided to look for a new backup solution when its tape library began running out of capacity.

“The district needed to upgrade its tape library and looked at a whole host of options, from higher capacity libraries to disk-to-disk solutions,” he said. “Our organization has considerable experience with the ExaGrid system. We recommended it because we felt that it would work well with the district’s existing infrastructure to make restores faster and reduce the amount of time and resources spent managing tape.”

"The ExaGrid system fit right into the district’s infrastructure and immediately improved retention, restore times, and backup speeds. "

John Renahan, Edutech

ExaGrid Works with Existing Backup Application, Delivers Faster Backups and Restores

The district installed the ExaGrid system in its main datacenter and backs up the system approximately once a month to its old tape library using its existing backup application, Veritas Backup Exec.

“Prior to installing the ExaGrid, restores were a significant pain point for the district because tapes would have to be recalled from storage before the restore process could be initiated. “Now, restores can be completed easily with just a few keystrokes,” Renahan said. “The ExaGrid system fit right into the district’s infrastructure and immediately improved retention, restore times, and backup speeds.”

Full Backup Times Reduced from 48 to 18 Hours, Dedupe Ratios as High as 14:1

Renahan said that since installing the ExaGrid system, full backup times have been reduced from 48 hours to 18 hours, and ExaGrid’s post-process data deduplication helps to speed backup times while maximizing the amount of data retained on the system. “We’re currently seeing deduplication ratios as high as 14:1 for SQL data, which really helps improve retention,” he said. “And backup jobs run quickly because the dedupe process begins after the backup hits the system’s landing zone.”

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).

Easy Management and Administration Save Time

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.

“I used to spend a considerable amount of time troubleshooting backups for the district, but I spend hardly any time at all now. We don’t have the failures we used to have, and we save a lot of time because we don’t need to deal with restoring data from tapes anymore,” he said. “The system was easy to install, and it’s very hands-off. I look at the reports occasionally, but there’s not a lot to do in terms of management – it just runs.”

Scale-out Architecture Designed for Easy Expansion

The district purchased the ExaGrid appliance with plenty of room to accommodate data growth, but if backup requirements do increase, the ExaGrid system can easily scale to meet additional demands.

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.

“The ExaGrid system was a solid choice for the district. It slid into the existing infrastructure and delivered the faster restores and additional capacity the staff was looking for. It also reduced the time and stress involved with dealing with tape,” said Renahan.

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.

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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