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.