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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

ExaGrid and Veeam Fleet Keep Backup Storage Strong and Steady at TAL International

Customer Overview

TAL International is one of the world’s oldest and largest lessors of intermodal freight containers. The company was founded in 1963 soon after the development of containerized trade, and today serves virtually every major shipping line in the world. The TAL fleet includes over two million TEU of dry containers, refrigerated containers, tank containers, open tops, flat racks, chassis, generator sets and pallet wide containers, making TAL one of the largest container leasing companies in the world. Triton and TAL International merged in 2015 under a newly formed holding company, Triton International Limited.

Key Benefits:

  • Problems of burdensome administration and inability to back up all data have been alleviated
  • TAL’s mix of Oracle RMAN, Dell NetWorker, and Veeam backups all supported by ExaGrid
  • 20:1 dedupe ratio maximizes TAL’s disk space
  • Automated replication keeps both sites in sync so DR site always has production data
  • Assigned customer support engineer provides fast response and assistance ‘on the fly’
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Virtualization Drives Better Economics and Tight Integration

TAL started as an Dell NetWorker/Arcserve shop backing up to tape. Things got to a point where backups did not happen within a day and administration became burdensome. TAL is a geographically dispersed company with offices around the world, requiring regional backup operators to make sure there was a tape in the server at all times. This meant remotely administering technicians and remote hardware to get regional data backed up. It got to be a logistical headache and it was clear they needed to virtualize and look at a disk-based backup solution. TAL backs up data nightly from a variety of apps, which they assumed would be tough to aggregate. They had a mix of Oracle RMAN backups, Dell NetWorker backups and Veeam backups each night. TAL performs a GFS (grandfather, father, son) rotation of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly backups.

TAL looked at a couple of other disk-based appliances, but ExaGrid won because of its extensive number of supported backup apps, speed to disk, deduplication rates and not having to do forklift upgrades down the road. TAL installed a two-site solution that included a remote DR site.

“ExaGrid definitely alleviated most of the backup storage burden. It took away the manual work that I had to focus on previously. The fact that backup is now a lot more automated, with good reporting and alerts, is huge. For the most part, you set it and forget it,“ said Larry Jones, Senior Systems Engineer at TAL International.

"Our data growth has been fairly constant, but in our industry, you have to plan for the unforeseen. We’re confident that the ExaGrid system will be able to expand to handle anything in the future. "

Larry Jones, Senior Systems Engineer

Adaptive Deduplication Provides Optimal System Performance

“We are seeing a 20:1 dedupe ratio overall, which I am very happy about. The key for me was trying to wrap my head around what deduplication really does and trying to understand the best ways to present our data for optimal performance. With ExaGrid’s landing zone, when the backups aren’t running, it does the processing, deduping, and replication. I just go about my life; now that’s really powerful,” said Jones.

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

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. TAL described that recovery time is the feature that matters most when needed. “Before ExaGrid, we had to ship things off to our DR site. Now we just set the replication schedule, throttle the bandwidth, and let the ExaGrid appliances keep each other in sync. It’s really nice to know from the help desk standpoint and from the operator standpoint that the job completes each day. I don’t have to think about it. I know that our DR site will always have production data, which is really nice,” said Jones.

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.

Helpful, Knowledgeable Support

Jones said that he’s found the support engineer who is assigned to the TAL account to be very helpful and attentive. “ExaGrid’s support model is probably one of the best I have experienced. I really appreciate having an assigned tech so I don’t have to give my life story every time I call and get first level support before I get escalated. My engineer can fix something on the fly or send me the steps to do it – we get it done.”

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.

Scale-out Architecture Provides Superior Scalability

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.

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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