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Customer Success Story

Customer Success Story

ExaGrid and Veeam Combination Delivers Seamless Backup Solution for Library System

Customer Overview

The Weber County Library System (WCLS) is a public library system located in northern Utah. The WCLS serves a population of approximately 213,000 Weber County residents, with interlocal agreements, extending access to 330,000 residents in surrounding counties.

Key Benefits:

  • ExaGrid’s tight integration with Veeam provides worry free backup, restore, and recovery
  • Automated cross-replication between sites provides offsite disaster recovery
  • Backup window reduced by over 75% from 6 to 8 hours to just 1-1/2
  • Automated reporting and intuitive interface provide hands-off operation
  • ‘Proactive support is really impressive’
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Near Disaster Led to Decision to Purchase a New Backup Solution

The WCLS had been using SAN snapshots to back up its virtual machines and tape for backups at the file level, but when a drive on a primary server failed, it brought down a major system and the drive had to be sent out to a recovery service for data retrieval.

After this brush with disaster, the WCLS began looking closely at its backup infrastructure and decided a major improvement was needed to properly back up its virtual environment. “We quickly realized that in a virtual environment, a file-level restoration wouldn’t be enough if we ended up losing a whole machine,” said Scott Jones, Technology Director for the Weber County Library System.

The library began its quest for a best-in-class backup solution by choosing Veeam Backup & Recovery and then set out to select a target. “We began looking for a solution that would enable us to restore an entire machine quickly, and we also wanted offsite disaster recovery. We looked at a lot of backup applications, but nothing shined as brightly as Veeam Backup & Recovery. When we learned from our VAR, Trusted Network Solutions, how tightly integrated Veeam was with the ExaGrid system, it became the only choice for a backup target,” he said.

"We learned the hard way how critical it really is to properly back up our virtual environment. We’re extremely confident in our ability to restore data now, thanks to the combination of Veeam and ExaGrid. "

Scott D. Jones, Technology Director

Post-Process Data Deduplication Speeds Backup Times Over Data Domain

The library installed an ExaGrid system in its main datacenter and a second system for disaster recovery at a branch location. Data is automatically replicated between the two systems each night for disaster recovery. Jones said that the WCLS looked closely at the ExaGrid system and liked its post-process data deduplication approach because it reduces the amount of data stored while ensuring fast backup times. Since installing the ExaGrid system, backup jobs have been reduced from six to eight hours to 90 minutes.

“We have a fairly large backup window, but some of the other systems we looked at would have deduplicated the data while the backup was happening and stretched the backup times out too far,” he said. “Now, we have enough time to perform our backups every night and still have plenty of time to perform maintenance and other tasks that come up. Restores are easier too because we can easily access data on the ExaGrid’s landing zone, and with just a few keystrokes, we can recover data quickly.”

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-to-Manage Solution, Superior Customer Support

The ExaGrid system is ‘overly simplistic’ to manage, said Jones, and its automated reporting features help him keep tabs on the status of daily backup jobs and system capacity. “We really like ExaGrid’s automated reporting features. Every day at 9 am, we get a report on our nightly backups with detailed information about the health and capacity of ExaGrid. I don’t have to look at the interface often, but when I do, it’s intuitive and easy to understand and use,” he said.

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.

“ExaGrid’s customer support is among the best in the business. If we have a question or concern, we contact our support engineer and he’ll remote into the system to help diagnose it. Our engineer is also proactive and has been known to call us to alert us to a potential issue. For example, he recently called us out of the blue to tell us that we were behind on our software updates and promptly scheduled the upgrade. That kind of proactive support is really impressive,” he said.

Scale-out Architecture Ensures Flexible Upgrade Path

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. “Scalability wasn’t an initial requirement of ours but as we’ve seen our data grow, we’re happy that we’ll be able to expand the ExaGrid system to handle more data in the future without doing a forklift upgrade,” said Jones.

Jones said that the powerful combination of Veeam and ExaGrid delivers solid, consistent backups day in and day out, and he no longer worries about disaster recovery. “We’ve been very happy with our choice of  the Veeam/ExaGrid combination,” he said. “We learned the hard way exactly how critical it is to properly back up our virtual environment, and we’re extremely confident in our ability to restore data now, thanks to the combination of Veeam and ExaGrid. The two products work seamlessly together, and the result has been fast, reliable backups and efficient storage.”

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.

ExaGrid-Veeam Combined Dedupe

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 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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