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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

Tonawanda City School District Optimizes Backup Storage with ExaGrid-Veeam Solution

Customer Overview

Tonawanda City School District is a public school district that serves the City of Tonawanda, New York. The school district consists of 1,850 students in grades PreK-12.

Key Benefits:

  • ExaGrid and Veeam integration is unmatched
  • Brilliant support model
  • Easy to install & manage
  • 16:1 deduplication ratio
  • Ransomware security
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The Akron School District Consultant, Bob Bozek is a big fan of the ExaGrid and Veeam offering and continues installs where he sees a fit. The latest ExaGrid appliance arrived for the city of Tonawanda City Schools with the goal of reliable backup storage and security from cyber threats.

Tonawanda City Schools were using Paragon Protect & Restore. At that district they had an Idealstor unit, essentially removable drives (JBOD) which were five to seven years old, so it was getting time to replace them. The school districts are very similar. They backup from main controllers with user data, along with some database-based software and client/server database-type programs. Bob decided to go with the EX10 ExaGrid appliance with Veeam.

“Every chance I get to replace backup equipment, I’ve been putting in ExaGrid and Veeam. One of the primary reasons is that it meets a lot of the current cybersecurity insurance requirements. With Veeam, I can do encrypted backups. ExaGrid offers multifactor authentication and a Repository Tier, which gives me an air gap, so it meets that requirement for having an offsite backup with 2FA enabled between the Landing Zone and Repository Tier,” said Bob Bozek, Senior MCTSS at Akron School District.

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 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.

Easy & Secure

“ExaGrid is very easy. It requires very little, and the learning curve is minimal. I’ve installed ExaGrid appliances many times and I can get it set up in an hour. It’s fast and it’s reliable – overall great performance. It meets my insurance requirements. I like the dedupe. I love the support. It’s just so great having the same support engineer and having a good relationship with him. He’s
responsive and very knowledgeable. It’s like 95% of the reason why I keep coming back.”

“The other thing I like is the ransomware protection and tiered air gap because that’s really important to me now, especially trying to be meeting cyber insurance requirements. The air gap protection of the ransomware lock area of the ExaGrid has become important to me at all installed districts.”

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.

“I haven’t had this experience elsewhere. I bought units from Dell that weren’t as seamless. ExaGrid gives me a good deal of comfort.”

"“ExaGrid is very easy. It requires very little, and the learning curve is minimal. I’ve installed ExaGrid appliances many times and I can get it set up in an hour. It’s fast and it’s reliable – overall great performance. It meets my insurance requirements. I like the dedupe. I love the support. It’s just so great having the same support engineer and having a good relationship with him. He’s responsive and very knowledgeable. It’s like 95% of the reason why I keep coming back.” "

Bob Bozek, Senior MCTSS, Akron School District

Meeting & Exceeding Requirements

“I enabled the 2FA at the recommendation of my ExaGrid support engineer. With strict cybersecurity requirements, it really helps me. There are requirements that the insurance vendors spell out for you to get the cyber insurance. ExaGrid accomplished all of this for us.”

ExaGrid appliances have a network-facing disk-cache Landing Zone Tier (tiered air gap) 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, where recent and retention deduplicated data is stored for longer-term retention. The combination of a non-network-facing tier (virtual air gap) plus delayed deletes and immutable data objects guards against the backup data being deleted or encrypted. ExaGrid’s offline tier is ready for recovery in the event of an attack.

“I feel like I have a more secure system, so even if someone would get into my Veeam server and deletes my backups, I’ll still have data. I feel really protected against hackers. I like the system’s reliability and I don’t have problems. If I do, support notifies me and resolves it right away. I feel like in an emergency I can just call support and not have to wait around for four hours or all day. Everything about ExaGrid is efficient!”

Setup in one hour & brilliant support

“I got ExaGrid set up in about an hour. I’ve done it a couple times, and I’ve worked with the same customer support engineer before, so we have a good relationship. I took it out of the box and the installation was very easy. That’s why I keep returning to ExaGrid because I like the support. They help you get it set up properly. The product isn’t sitting around in a box or not working for a while. It’s usually working the same day that it arrives at the schools.”

“It’s just so great having the same person and having a good relationship. That’s number one for me! He’s responsive and very knowledgeable. It’s like 95% of the reason why I keep coming back.”

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.

Fastest Backups & Restores

“I’m getting my incrementals (about 6.4TB) backed up in about 32 minutes. I’m doing fulls on Saturdays, and incrementals Monday through Friday. I did a test restore of a VM. I did a test restore of data – and everything worked as designed. I also like the feature where I restored a VM and ran it from the ExaGrid. It’s another good thing feature for disaster recovery. If I do have a disaster, I’ll run the VMs in a pinch from the ExaGrid appliance. I do like that feature. I can get individuals files is seconds. When I did the VMs it was done in minutes.”

ExaGrid and Veeam can instantly recover a VMware virtual machine by running it directly from the ExaGrid appliance if 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.

Deduplication brings cost savings

“I’m excited that we’re getting 16:1 dedupe combined. I am doing a 60-day retention policy here at Tonawanda.”

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 is also 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, scale-out storage as data grows, and a strong ransomware recovery story – all at the lowest cost in the industry.

About ExaGrid

ExaGrid provides tiered backup storage with a unique disk-cache Landing Zone, long-term retention repository and scale-out architecture. ExaGrid’s Landing Zone enables the fastest backups, restores, and instant VM recoveries. The retention repository offers the lowest cost for long-term retention. ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture includes full appliances in a scalable system.

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