Greenchoice is a Netherlands-based renewable energy company. Its mission is to provide 100% green energy for a cleaner world by sourcing energy generated from the sun, wind, water, and biomass. In addition to proving customers with renewable energy, Greenchoice offers its customers the opportunity to generate their own energy by investing in ownership of solar panels and windmills, as well as helping customers to create energy cooperatives.
Prior to switching to ExaGrid, Greenchoice was backing up to server-attached storage. The backups were not going smoothly, leading Carlo Kleinloog, Greenchoice’s system administrator, to look for a better solution. Kleinloog described some of the issues he experienced, “[The prior system] didn’t really offer us what we needed. I had to spend backup. The backups were running, but sometimes the server had issues, then replication went wrong, and to check on the backups we had to reboot the server. When the server was rebooted, it took four hours just to scan the store that I was putting the backup on. One job wouldn’t finish, and then another one was running again. Performance issues were really, really bad.” Not only were backups causing a strain on the workweek, but restores were also proving difficult. “We did one full server restore that actually crashed. When I had to restore individual files, it took me half an hour just to set up the server and mount the data that I was supposed to restore, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t,” said Kleinloog.
Greenchoice looked into other options, such as local storage using Microsoft for deduplication, but Kleinloog was not comfortable with heading in that direction while needing to back up large terabyte-sized files. A local company specializing in storage solutions recommended ExaGrid to Kleinloog, who had already been looking into using Veeam as a backup application. Kleinloog was impressed by the demo of Veeam he had downloaded and looked into ExaGrid’s seamless integration with Veeam. After reading ExaGrid’s customer success stories on its website and conducting other online research, he decided to install both Veeam and ExaGrid together as Greenchoice’s new storage solution. Kleinloog set up two ExaGrid appliances at separate sites that cross-replicate, allowing for redundancy.
"Our largest backup takes three and a half hours, and that’s nothing compared to what it was before. Backup is easily five to six times faster. "
While initially looking at the different ExaGrid models to purchase, Kleinloog was concerned about running out of storage as Greenchoice has been experiencing growth at a dynamic rate. He figured that he would need to purchase additional appliances just a few years down the line but was impressed to learn that the combined ExaGrid-Veeam deduplication ratios maximized storage and doubled the amount of time it would take before additional storage is needed.
The ExaGrid system can easily scale to accommodate data growth. ExaGrid’s software makes the system highly scalable – appliances of any size or age can be mixed and matched in a single system. A single scale-out system can take in up to a 2.7PB full backup plus retention at an ingest rate of up to 488TB per hour.
It used to take Kleinloog half an hour just to set up the server for a restore, and now the entire restore process has been reduced to minutes. “We can actually start restores right from the ExaGrid. After a virus attack, we’ve had to restore files, and it took just ten minutes, at most,” Kleinloog noted. Kleinloog is impressed with how quick the backup process is, now that he uses the combination of ExaGrid and Veeam. He commented, “Our largest backup takes three and a half hours; that’s nothing compared to what it was before. Backup is easily five to six times faster.”
With shorter backup windows and quicker restores, as well as not needing to spend 20 hours a week resolving backup issues, Kleinloog has more time to accomplish other projects. Kleinloog commented, “If you look at dedupe ratios and the performance of the backup, it’s unbelievable. The performance is so good that I don’t need to check on it every day. We don’t have outages anymore; it’s just running – it’s up on arrival. We have a really dynamic environment, we’re growing and doing new things, so we actually needed this extra time.”
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).
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.