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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

School District Chooses ExaGrid for Faster Backups, Restores, and DR

Customer Overview

The Rush-Henrietta Central School District, located in Henrietta, New York, is comprised of five elementary schools (grades K through 5), two middle schools (grades 6 through 8), a ninth grade academy, and one high school (grades 10 through12), which includes an alternative education program. The district is situated near Rochester, New York, 20 minutes south of Lake Ontario. The district serves nearly 6,000 students.

Key Benefits:

  • Cross-replication between sites occurs automatically
  • Time required to manage backups greatly reduced
  • Restores are faster and more reliable than tape
  • System was easily expanded to accommodate growing data
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Difficulty Backing up Dual Datacenters to Tape

The Rush-Henrietta Central School District had been backing up its data to tape libraries in two separate datacenters, but the cost and day-to-day grind of managing tape led its IT staff to look for alternative solutions.

“Managing tape backups in two different locations was difficult and time consuming. My predecessors spent a lot of time driving back and forth between the sites and probably an hour or so a day handling tapes and managing backup jobs,” said Greg Swan, senior network technician at the Rush-Henrietta Central School District. “We took a close look at the overall cost of tape along with our future backup requirements and decided to install a two-site ExaGrid system.”

With the ExaGrid system in place, data is backed up locally and then cross-replicated between the two sites for disaster recovery. “We spend a lot less time managing backups now, and there’s almost no intervention on our part. All we have to do is check the logs to make sure our backup jobs ran successfully overnight,” Swan said. “Restores are also far easier with the ExaGrid system. We recently had to go in and rebuild our entire backup system, and it was relatively painless. With tape, it would have been a nightmare, but it took no time at all with the ExaGrid system.”

"We recently had to go in and rebuild our entire backup system, and it was relatively painless. With tape, it would have been a nightmare, but it took no time at all with the ExaGrid system. "

Greg Swan, Senior Network Technician

Scalability Improves Capacity and Performance

The district first installed ExaGrid EX5000 appliances in each of its datacenters and then expanded both systems by adding EX10000 units. The ExaGrid systems work along with Quest NetVault, the district’s existing backup application, to back up nearly 75 physical and virtual servers.

“We decided to expand the systems to improve capacity and performance, and found it to be a very simple process. Our ExaGrid support engineer helped us upgrade the software on our old systems. Then we configured the systems, and they were ready to go in no time,” he said. 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.

Faster Backups and Restores, Dedupe Ratios Average 10:1

Swan said that ExaGrid’s post-process data deduplication technology reduces the amount of data stored by approximately 10:1 and helps to speed the transmission between sites. Backup jobs run faster as well.

“We can now back up all our data over the weekend and have it replicated offsite by the time we come in on Monday mornings. With tape, our backup jobs took much longer and we’d have to drive the tapes back and forth between the two datacenters,” Swan said. “Now, our data is backed up quickly and automatically to the ExaGrid’s landing zone and then deduplicated. And because only changed data is sent between sites, replication is fast.”

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).

Simple Interface, ‘Fantastic’ Customer Support 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 interface is simple to understand, and it puts a lot of information at my fingertips,” Swan said. “The system is backed by fantastic customer support. We have a high degree of confidence in our support engineer, and he’s easy to reach whenever we have a question or concern.” Swan said that the ExaGrid system has significantly reduced the amount of time the district’s IT staff spends on managing backups.

“The ExaGrid system has been a good solution for our environment. It quickly backs up the data from our two datacenters and replicates it offsite. We don’t have to worry about managing tape anymore, and it’s reduced the amount of hours we spend on backups so we can focus on other parts of our jobs,” he said.

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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