Adding ExaGrid to Virtualized Environment
The Jel Sert Company had been backing up its data to tape using Veritas Backup Exec.
The company decided to virtualize its environment, adding ExaGrid and Quest vRanger.
Gerardo Zavala, the company’s computer operations manager, was impressed that
the installation of the ExaGrid system at the company headquarters went “very smoothly,”
as did the installation of the ExaGrid appliance at its disaster recovery (DR) site.
The ExaGrid system is easy to install and use and works seamlessly with all
of the most frequently used backup applications, so an organization can seamlessly
retain its investment in existing applications and processes. In addition, ExaGrid
appliances can be used at primary and secondary sites to supplement or eliminate
offsite tapes with live data repositories for disaster recovery.
Switch in Backup Apps Optimizes Solution
“We recently purchased Veeam and are in the process of migrating our backup
jobs from vRanger to Veeam,” said Zavala. “Over the years, we have been growing
uncomfortable that the vRanger product was moving through so many companies;
we want to be sure that the solution we use will be available in the long-term.
Veeam has so many more features to offer, and my boss and I have both heard good
things about the work that Veeam and ExaGrid do within the backup realm.
“Our migration to Veeam from vRanger has been a slow process, but we’ve already
noticed how well ExaGrid and Veeam work together. It makes us feel even better
to have chosen ExaGrid for our backup storage and confident that Veeam and
ExaGrid are the best solution for our environment,” said Zavala.
Short Backup Windows and Quick Restores
Zavala backs up Jel Sert’s data in daily incrementals and weekly fulls. “Before
ExaGrid, we had to rotate tapes every day, and now we’ve moved away from tape
during the week. We back up in daily incrementals to the ExaGrid system Monday
through Thursday, with full backups on Friday and Saturday. On Fridays, we also run
a second full backup job to tape.”
Zavala appreciates ExaGrid’s “adaptive” approach to data deduplication, which
performs deduplication and replication in parallel with backups. “I like that our
onsite ExaGrid system does everything in the background and then sends our
backups to the offsite ExaGrid system. All that behind-the-scenes activity is great!”
The company’s daily incrementals take 20 minutes and full backups take about two
hours, and are replicated to the DR site. Zavala also finds that restoring data is also
a quick process from ExaGrid’s landing zone. “We can restore a file in less than
a minute. It doesn’t take long to restore a server either—it ranges from ten minutes
to an hour depending on its size.”
ExaGrid writes backups directly to a disk 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 while providing full system resources to the backups
for the shortest backup window. Available system cycles are utilized to perform
deduplication and offsite replication for an optimal recovery point at the disaster
recovery site. Once complete, the onsite data is protected and immediately
available in its full undeduplicated form for fast restores, VM Instant Recoveries,
and tape copies while the offsite data is ready for disaster recovery.
ExaGrid and Veeam can instantly recover a VMware virtual machine by running
it directly from the ExaGrid appliance in the event that the primary storage VM
becomes unavailable. This is possible because of ExaGrid’s “landing zone” –
a high-speed cache on the ExaGrid appliance that retains the most recent backups
in complete form. Once the primary storage environment has been brought back
to a working state, the VM running on the ExaGrid appliance can then be migrated
to primary storage for continued operation.
‘Straightforward’ System is Easy to Manage
Zavala finds ExaGrid to be straightforward and easy to use, from managing
the interface to creating shares. “ExaGrid appliances are solid hardware devices,
so I don’t have to worry about them breaking,” said Zavala.
The ExaGrid system was designed to be easy to set up and maintain, and ExaGrid’s
industry-leading customer support team is staffed by trained, in-house engineers who
are assigned to individual accounts. The system is fully supported, and was designed
and manufactured for maximum uptime with redundant, hot-swappable components.
Zavala values ExaGrid’s customer support model. “One of best things about ExaGrid
is that our account is assigned to a designated support engineer. Our ExaGrid support
engineer has gotten to know us and is familiar with our environment. It’s been much
easier to work with one person rather than someone different each time we need help.
Our engineer has been fabulous! He’s always available for questions, and he’s helped
us with upgrades and any issues that we encounter. He’s a really great resource.”
Benefits of Combining ExaGrid and Veeam
The combination of ExaGrid’s and Veeam’s industry-leading virtual server data
protection solutions allows customers to utilize Veeam Backup & Replication
in VMware, vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments on ExaGrid’s
disk-based backup system.
This combination provides fast backups and efficient data storage as well
as replication to an offsite location for disaster recovery. ExaGrid fully leverages
Veeam’s built-in backup-to-disk capabilities, and ExaGrid’s zone-level data
deduplication provides additional data and cost reduction over standard disk
solutions. Customers can use Veeam Backup & Replication’s built-in source-side
deduplication in concert with ExaGrid’s disk-based backup system with zone-level
deduplication to further shrink backups.