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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Queens’ College Implements ‘Future-Proof’ Backup Solution which Reduces Backup Windows by 73%

Customer Overview

Queens’ College supports world-leading teaching and research in a beautiful and welcoming environment. Their large, diverse and inclusive community is committed to encouraging students to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential. Queens’ has been in the heart of Cambridge for more than five centuries. Today it supports a thriving academic community of about 500 undergraduates, 450 graduates and more than 60 academics.

Key Benefits:

  • Queens’ College finds ExaGrid to be the most cost-effective backup storage solution
  • ExaGrid reduces the College’s backup window by 73%
  • ExaGrid provides ‘future-proof’ architecture, as the College can add to the system as data grows
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‘Future-Proof’ ExaGrid System Chosen for College’s Backup Environment

Prior to using ExaGrid, Queens’ College was backing up its data to NetApp FAS2220 network storage server. As the IT staff struggled with low disk space due to shared storage for backups and replication, they looked into other backup storage options. “Our MSP, think S3, recommended that we use an ExaGrid system behind Veeam,” said Andrew Eddy, Senior Computer Officer at Queens’ College. “We had considered purchasing another NetApp box with larger capacity, but we were impressed with ExaGrid’s scalable architecture, which is future-proof because it is so expandable. ExaGrid also offered competitive pricing, and taking into account that we can simply add on appliances as our data grows, it seemed like the most cost-effective option.”

Queens’ College installed an ExaGrid system at its primary site which replicates backups to its disaster recovery (DR) site for additional data protection. “Installation at both sites was very straightforward and hassle-free,” said Andy. ExaGrid’s award-winning scale-out architecture provides customers with a consistent backup window regardless of data growth. Its unique Landing zone retains the most recent backup in its full undeduplicated form, enabling the fastest restores, offsite tape copies, and instant recoveries.

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 had considered purchasing another NetApp box with larger capacity, but we were impressed with ExaGrid’s scalable architecture, which is future-proof because it is so expandable. "

Andrew Eddy, Senior Computer Office

ExaGrid Reduces Backup Window by 73%

Andy works with think S3, a managed services provider (MSP) to keep the College’s data protected. The data is backed up on an hourly and nightly basis, and Andy is impressed with the impact ExaGrid has had on the speed of the backup jobs. “Our backup windows have been reduced from 45 minutes to 12 minutes, since we’ve switched to ExaGrid. We back up our data often, so having quick backups are vital to keeping up with our schedule,” said Andy. “When we used our NetApp system, we were running out of storage space, which limited our retention of restore points. Now that we use ExaGrid, we have been able to increase our restore points, allowing us to better protect our data,” he added.

Andy is impressed with how quickly he can restore a file using Veeam from ExaGrid’s landing zone. “I was able to restore a file in just one second, and was able to send it to the user in two minutes! That’s incredible!”

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).

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.

ExaGrid Customer Support Helps Keep System Up to Date

Andy values the assistance that ExaGrid customer support provides on keeping the system well-maintained. “Our experience with ExaGrid has been very positive. The customer support is proactive and notifies up whenever an upgrade is available for our system. Our ExaGrid support engineer accesses our system remotely and implements the upgrades for us, which is quite convenient.”

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. Customer’s 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. 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.

About think S3

think S3 takes their 14 years of experience of delivering hybrid cloud platforms and managed services from the leading edge to bring the latest technologies to their customers – enabling them to achieve more through collaboration, close relationships with their vendors and seamless support. think S3’s range of solutions allows them to inspire the future and change what is possible for their customers, whilst delivering on a promise of providing an industry leading end to end service where their people and personalities come together with world class expertise to deliver true transformation.

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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