ExaGrid Named Disk-Based Product of the Year: Small/Midrange at Annual Storage Awards in London

2014 Storage Award logo

ExaGrid was also nominated in several other categories at this annual awards ceremony; confirming its leadership position for disk-based backup with deduplication.

Winners were determined by a public vote, further validating that the industry recognizes the superior performance and scalability of ExaGrid’s solution. This award follows ExaGrid’s strong momentum over the past year, as a leader in disk-based backup solutions:

  • Launching its most robust appliance that can scale to 210 terabytes in a single GRID
  • Being awarded two new patents
  • Earning top spots in analyst reports from three independent firms

“We would like to thank everyone who voted for ExaGrid this year. To be acknowledged by the industry reflects our ongoing efforts to deliver a scalable and cost-effective backup solution,” said Andy Palmer, Vice President of International Sales – EMEA & APAC, ExaGrid Systems, Inc.

The award extended ExaGrid’s four-year winning streak in the Annual Storage Awards competition. ExaGrid was also a finalist in the following categories in 2014:

Storage Magazine “One to Watch” Award – Product
Storage Magazine “One to Watch” Award – Company
Backup & DR Hardware Product of the Year
Storage Innovators Award
Storage Product of the Year
Storage Company of the Year
Editor’s Choice

With more than 7,000 deployments worldwide, ExaGrid Systems is relied on by thousands of customers to solve their backup problems, effectively and permanently.

ExaGrid is also the only solution to offer a landing zone retaining the most recent backups in their full undeduplicated format for fast restores, fast offsite tape copies and fast instant VM recoveries. ExaGrid has over 350 customer success stories detailing first-hand experiences with this award-winning disk-based backup system.

Read on at www.exagrid.com

Posted in Backup Applications, Disk Backup with Deduplication, Industry Analyst Perspectives, Industry Trends and Predictions, Scalability | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is Virtualization Breaking Disk Backup?

Q & A:  Charlie Hodges talks with Colm Keegan and George Crump, from Storage Swiss – Storage Switzerland

Charlie: I recently sat down with Storage Switzerland Lead Analyst and Founder George Crump and Senior Analyst Colm Keegan to talk about one of our recent webinars; “How Server Virtualization is Breaking Disk Backup”. We had a large attendance for the live webinar, and continue to have on-demand visitors to the webinar ON-Demand. I started our discussion by asking Colm why this webinar has been so popular:

Colm: Well Charlie, because we talk about ways to remediate issues with backing up virtual environments.

As you know, virtual server technology isn’t anything new. But there are a lot of issues with reliably backing them up and recovering the data protected in those environments. We really drill down into that.

Charlie: Anything you want to add to that, George?

George: Yes. I think the other big challenge is there are technologies being introduced to the virtual server environment that are challenging backups. So, the ability to do change blog tracking and the ability to do recovery in place of VM recoveries really negatively impacts the backup window, the recovery window, and the backup device itself that most people are just not aware of.

Charlie: George, what do you think the key take aways from this webinar are?

George:  First of all, we give listeners some ways to design an environment that allows them to protect this massively growing virtual server environment.

Many end users I talk to start off with 12 or so virtual machines and then, almost overnight, have 100 virtual machines – literally. That can dramatically change how you backup, so you need something that can scale and meet those demands.

And then also, we – with virtual servers and even virtual desktops – live in a world where almost all the data is on corporate storage, and needs to be backed up. That’s impacting backup windows.

So we’ll also give them some ideas on how to reduce, or continue to meet, their current backup windows.

Charlie: Colm, any other take aways?

Colm: Just to follow along with George. Obviously backup windows are important and keeping it maintained is critical, but equally critical is being able to recover the data in a timely fashion.

So, people don’t want to architect everything purely for the backup window at the sacrifice of being able to do timely data recoveries. We also cover how you can get the best of both worlds and have the ability to protect that virtual data and recover it on the fly by using things like data in place recoveries, as well as just doing standard recoveries.

That is critical because as data grows you’re going to need to have the capability to keep your backup window short but also, equally important, able to make your recovery time objectives.

George: And I think a key component there is that the recovery in place requirement changes how we architect the disk backup system. So that is another key take away: How the disk backup system has to evolve to meet all of these different challenges and things that they’re going to learn about.

Charlie: One of the key parts of any Storage Switzerland webinar is the question and answer period. In fact, a good bit of the webinar is the Question and Answers. What are you guys expecting to hear from the people who’ve signed up for this webinar? Colm, why don’t you go first?

Colm: I think some of the questions will be that deduplication is something that they want to take advantage of, what are some of the down sides to that, and what do I need to do to make sure that my architect fits my environment, so that I’m able to have the speeds and feeds that I’m used to having today with standard backup technology. So I would imagine there’s going to be questions around that.

Charlie: George?

George: I think to tie in, partly to the deduplication question, here’s technology that’s been around for over ten years now. But the adoption rate of that, while widespread, is not 100 percent. So there’s clearly some reservations on how to implement it.

Then again like we said, how it impacts the backup windows and recovery windows, change in the virtualized server environment. And then specifically, I think we’re going to have a lot of questions around optimizing the backup to get virtual machines back into production as quickly as possible. I think we’re going to be able to answer those for them.

Charlie: Now, the webinar was live on February 11, but you don’t have to be at the webinar live to really get anything out of this, right George?

George: Right. We make sure it’s available ON-Demand, so if you’re overseas or somewhere, you can get the on-demand version and listen to it whenever it’s convenient for you.

There’s even an app for both the iPad and iPhone where you can download and stream the webinar. So if you’re working out in the gym and want to watch one of our webinars, we’d be honored to keep you company.

Charlie: Remember, that by registering for the Storage Switzerland webinar, you gain access to over 60 on demand webinars, featuring top CEOs and Storage Switzerland experts like George and Colm. We discuss all kinds of topics like: all flash arrays, dedupe, SSDs, data protection, object storage, you name it; we have it with our Storage Switzerland webinars.

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Military College Chooses ExaGrid over EMC Data Domain for Scalability and Price

GA Military College logo

Georgia Military College is a public, independent educational institution comprised of a junior college and a separate preparatory school for students in sixth through twelfth grade.  The college provides its students with an associate’s degree in liberal arts and prepares them for a four-year college or university.

The College had been backing up all of its student and administrative data to disk but needed to upgrade its backup infrastructure to incorporate analytics, deduplication, and replication. They chose the ExaGrid system after also looking at an EMC Data Domain solution.

Backing up nearly 100 virtual machines to the ExaGrid system, located in its main campus in Milledgeville, GA, and data is replicated automatically offsite each night to a second ExaGrid system located in another campus building. “We’ve been very happy with ExaGrid’s deduplication capabilities and the results are much better than I expected. Even though we’re using Veeam’s deduplication, the ExaGrid system still reduces the data by another 5:1, so we’re saving even more disk space,” said Mick Kirkwood, Senior Server Engineer.

“The management of the system is so easy — you pretty much turn it on and forget about it. Our support engineer has been very helpful in giving me some commands and shortcuts to help get real-time information. It’s great because I can get a graphical representation of how the backups are performing and then have the ability to change things if I need to.”

To read the entire case study, click here.

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California Dept of Ed Faces Forklift Upgrade, Replaces EMC Data Domain with ExaGrid System

CA Dept Ed

The California Department of Education provides leadership, assistance, oversight, and resources (via teaching and teaching material) so that every Californian has access to a good education. Its headquarters are located in Sacramento.

The agency began shopping for a new backup solution because its EMC Data Domain system had reached capacity. “Our old Data Domain unit required a forklift upgrade to accommodate our growing backup demands, so we decided to look for a more scalable solution that could handle our needs well into the future,” said John Jackson, backup and LAN administrator for the State of CA Department of Education.

Jackson said that the ExaGrid system was considerably less expensive to acquire and
maintenance was nearly 25% less than the EMC Data Domain system. The department
decided to implement the ExaGrid system after consulting with another state agency
that was also using the system.

The department chose two ExaGrid EX21000E systems and installed one appliance in its main datacenter and a second in its offsite location. The EX21000E systems can be mixed and matched with other ExaGrid appliances in a single GRID.

Jackson said that restores from the ExaGrid are faster than the EMC Data Domain unit, and backups run faster and more efficiently, too.

Deduplication was another factor in the decision to purchase ExaGrid, Jackson said. “ExaGrid’s post-process data deduplication produces 14:1 data reduction, which enabled us to purchase a system with a lot less disk space and yet still keep three months of retention.”

To read the entire case study, click here.

Posted in Blog, Customer Success Story, Disk Backup with Deduplication, ExaGrid vs EMC Data Domain, Industry Analyst Perspectives, Scalability, Symantec NetBackup | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

UCLA Faces Forklift Upgrade, Looks Beyond Data Domain, Installs ExaGrid

UCLA logo


The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university with approximately 28,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. The University has the largest enrollment in the State of California and is the most popular university in the U.S. by number of applicants.

UCLA had a five-year-old EMC Data Domain unit that had reached capacity. Initially, the University looked at replacing the EMC Data Domain unit with a newer system and also considered FalconStor, ExaGrid, and a few other solutions. In the end, the University chose the ExaGrid system based on price and performance.

“We had the EMC Data Domain system for several years and kept adding data to it.  When our group merged with another IT group here at UCLA, we decided to combine our backups, and we realized that we needed another solution because the EMC Data Domain unit couldn’t scale in terms of capacity or performance,” said Jeff Barnes, Senior Development Engineer at UCLA. “We simply couldn’t justify the cost of a new Data Domain unit. In fact, the cost of the two-site ExaGrid unit was approximately what we would have paid for three years of maintenance on the EMC Data Domain system,” Barnes said.

UCLA is currently getting data deduplication ratios as high as 17:1, which helps to maximize the amount of data the University can store on the system. The technology also helps to make transmission between sites more efficient.

“The ExaGrid system works well with our existing backup applications, and it was easy to install. When we initially got the systems, ExaGrid assigned a support engineer. He helped with the setup and brought us up to speed on everything we need to know to operate the system efficiently. We were very happy with the installation experience,” said Barnes. “Our engineer has been very good and really knows what he’s doing.”

To read the entire case study, click here.

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ExaGrid Disk-based Backup with Data Deduplication Scores High Marks with Lourdes College

Lourdes College logo

Lourdes College has nearly 3,000 students and faculty on its network. The College performs full backups each weekend and incremental backups throughout the rest of the week. However, since implementing Panopto, a software solution that allows faculty to record and post all lectures, the College’s data was growing rapidly and its existing tape library was not a viable option for backups any longer.

“I literally just didn’t have a window big enough any longer to be moving all of our data to tape,” said John Alderman, Network Analyst at Lourdes College. “I didn’t feel comfortable doing incremental or differentials with tape. We learned about ExaGrid and really liked its post process approach to data deduplication.

Lourdes College chose the two-site ExaGrid system and installed one in its main datacenter and a second ExaGrid off-site for disaster recovery purposes. The ExaGrid system works with the College’s newly implemented backup application, Symantec Backup Exec™.

Since installing the ExaGrid system, the Lourdes College’s backups have been reduced by nearly 75%. “Prior to implementing the ExaGrid our nightly backups were taking about 15 hours. They are now completed in just over 2 hours. We’ve also been very happy with ExaGrid’s data deduplication capabilities. It’s extremely effective at reducing our data and it enables us to maximize the amount of data we keep on the system,” said Alderman.

To read the full case study, please click here.

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How Backup Disk Architecture Impacts the Backup Window

By Dana Prestigiacomo, SVP Marketing, ExaGrid

As noted in the recent Storage Switzerland article by Colm Keegan growing backup windows are the biggest challenge faced by IT professionals and the architecture you
chose matters.

The runaway growth of data in organizations creates cost and complexity in primary storage, production applications, and has a profound impact on backup and recovery operations.

The common mistake made is to look at backup and recovery as only a storage problem. Instead IT organizations need to consider the following:

  • Data movement – how to move significant amounts of data within a pre-defined backup window
  • Data processing – how data needs to be processed to be stored in deduplicated form and recovered quickly
  • Data storage – how to store more backup data in far less disk space with deduplication

With the wrong disk-backup architecture, as your data continues to grow, you will punish your operations with longer backup windows, costly forklift upgrades, and technology obsolescence.

There are two architectural choices when choosing a disk based backup solution.

The scale-up architecture has a single front-end controller that houses all network ports, processor, and memory. As data grows only storage is added. This presents backup performance and data movement problems.

The alternative scale-out architecture handles data growth very differently. Full server appliances with processor, memory, network bandwidth and disk are added into a scalable GRID system. As the data grows, so do all four resources resulting in the shortest backup window, a backup window that doesn’t grow as your data grows and the fastest restores, tape copies and recoveries from a disaster.

The architecture you choose can make all the difference if you want to solve your backup challenges forever.

To learn more about how you can design a backup infrastructure to meet the needs of your virtualized server environment today and well into the future, join us February 11th for a webinar with George Crump, Founder and lead analyst from Storage Switzerland and Kevin Russell, VP of systems engineering from ExaGrid.

All pre-registrants will receive an advance copy of Storage Switzerland’s latest whitepaper, “Disk Backup Is About More Than Deduplication.”

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How Data Deduplication Is Implemented Makes A Difference

By Bill Andrews, ExaGrid CEO

Many customers believe that to solve backup challenges they simply need to replace tape with disk. And to keep disk storage to a minimum, they simply turn on data deduplication.

Disk does solve many of the backup problems tape causes. And data deduplication does reduce the amount of disk required, because data deduplication only stores the unique blocks or bytes from backup to backup. These are table stakes for a disk-based backup appliance; they must include disk and data deduplication.

However, how data deduplication is implemented matters. The wrong implementation can mean:

  • Slower backups than writing directly to disk
  • A backup window that grows and grows as data grows
  • Slow restores
  • Slow offsite tape copies
  • Slow VM instant recoveries
  • Costly forklift upgrades along the way

Bottom line: Not all implementations of data deduplication for backup are created equal.

For example, if you deduplicate inline (as the backups are occurring), it adds in a very compute-intensive process during the backups that slows the backups down. Furthermore, if you deduplicate inline, all the data is deduplicated and each time you request a restore, offsite tape copy, or VM instant recovery, you have to wait for all the data to be put back together or re-hydrated. These inline approaches tend to be scale-up architectures, which means that the all of the backups pass through a head end controller to be deduplicated. As the data grows, only disk capacity is added resulting in an ever-increasing amount of data passing through and being deduplicated inline by the head end controller. As data grows, no additional processor, memory, or bandwidth is added – just disk capacity. As the data grows, the backup window becomes longer and longer until it is outside of the allotted backup window time. The only way out is to replace the front-end controller with a bigger, faster, and more expensive controller. This is called a “forklift upgrade” and is a very painful and expensive approach to add disk with data deduplication to the backup process.

The alternative is to back up the data to a disk landing zone and then deduplicate the data after the backups are complete. This not only provides for faster backups, but since the most recent backups are in their complete and un-deduplicated form, they are instantly ready for fast restores, fast offsite tape copies, and instant VM recovery in seconds to single-digit minutes. In addition, if the system is a scale-out architecture, as data grows, not only is disk capacity added, but , processor, memory, and bandwidth are also increased. As data grows, appliances with all four resources (processor, memory, bandwidth, and disk) are added into a GRID system. This approach ensures that as the data grows, so do all resources needed to process, deduplicate, and move the data. The backup window stays fixed in length and eliminates the need for an expensive forklift upgrade. This approach provides for the fastest backups, the fastest restores, the fastest offsite tape copies, the fastest VM instant recoveries, and a fixed backup window length as data grows. It also means no forklift upgrades. On top of that, these systems cost the same as—and often less than— inline scale-up approaches.

ExaGrid offers the best of all worlds, plus a landing zone and scale-out architecture. Why pay more for slower backups, an ever-expanding backup window and slow restores, copies, and recoveries when you can pay the same or less for faster backups, a fixed-length backup window and faster restores, tape copies, and recoveries?

To learn more about how you can design a backup infrastructure to meet the needs of your virtualized server environment today and well into the future, join us February 11th for a webinar with George Crump, Founder and lead analyst from Storage Switzerland and Kevin Russell, VP of systems engineering from ExaGrid.

All pre-registrants will receive an advance copy of Storage Switzerland’s latest whitepaper, “Disk Backup Is About More Than Deduplication.”

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ExaGrid Wins ‘Product of the Year’ at Techworld Awards 2013

ExaGrid Systems, Inc’s EX13000E has been named ‘Storage/Big Data Product of the Year’ at the annual awards in London. This win extends the company’s successful streak for being ranked as best-in-class for disk-based backup with deduplication.

The EX13000E was selected for its unique GRID architecture which is optimized for high performance, scalable disk backup with deduplication. It delivers a consistent backup window that doesn’t grow as data grows; the shortest possible backup window; fast restores, tape copies and fast recovery from a disaster. As a result it allows you to grow as your data grows and eliminates “forklift” upgrades.

Now in its tenth year, the Techworld Awards have firmly established themselves as the major infrastructure and networking awards event in the IT calendar. Recognizing both products and users, the Techworld Awards highlight innovation on all sides of the IT industry. “ExaGrid beat off stiff competition to win the Techworld Storage and Big Data product of the year award because of its powerful combination of scalability, security and speed of operation,”said Mike Simons, editor of Techworld. “The judges were very impressed.”

The Techworld Award win has proven yet again that ExaGrid has the best-performing backup and restore solution on the market and is revolutionizing how organizations backup and protect their data. This market leadership is perhaps best summed up by Jeremy Wendt, DCIG lead analyst, who said: ‘The ExaGrid EX Series essentially defines what modern mid-range target-based deduplicating backup appliances should deliver.”

“We are delighted to be acknowledged by the industry as the ‘Storage/Big Data Product of the Year’ and would like to thank the judges who recognized the power and performance of ExaGrid’s unique solutions”, said Andy Palmer, VP International at ExaGrid. “Only ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture with unique landing zone technology solves the backup challenge forever. If anyone is thinking about moving to disk backup with deduplication, they should always include ExaGrid in their backup appliance review.”

ExaGrid was also a finalist in the Backup and Recovery / Archive Product of the Year category in this year’s Storage, Virtualisation, Cloud (SVC) Awards.

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Distributor Doubles Data And Shrinks Backup Window By 65% With ExaGrid

Georgia Crown Distributing Company* had been backing up its physical servers to disk and then to tape, but when the firm decided to virtualize, its data increased rapidly and backup times grew to nearly 19 hours a day.

“Once we started going down the virtual path, our data grew quickly and we had a hard time keeping up with it. We started with five virtual servers and before we knew it, we had 25 with our data spiraling out of control,” said David Brown, systems analyst for Georgia Crown. Initially, the firm’s IT staff decided to purchase additional disk along with software designed to reduce redundant data; however, the solution didn’t meet expectations. After doing some research, Georgia Crown decided to install the ExaGrid system along with Dell vRanger. “We’ve been very happy with the ExaGrid vRanger combination. The two products work hand-in-hand and are tightly integrated,” said Brown. “We were also impressed with its approach to data deduplication. With the ExaGrid, the data is first backed up to a landing zone and then deduplicated, so backup jobs fly.”

Brown said that Georgia Crown’s backup times have been reduced from 19 hours to 6.5 hours, despite the fact that the firm’s data has doubled since the system was installed. “Our backup speeds are extremely impressive, especially in light of the fact that our data continues to increase,” he said. “We’re saving time in other ways, too. For example, we can restore data with the touch of a button instead of having to deal with tape. Our data is right on the system and available to us at any time. We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t even think about backups or restores.”

“Our backup data is constantly growing. ExaGrid’s GRID architecture gives us an extra level of comfort because we’re confident that we’ll be able to scale the system up to meet increased backup demands,” said Brown. “We’ve already added onto the system and found the process incredibly easy and straightforward. I simply plugged in the additional unit, called into ExaGrid support, gave our engineer the IP addresses to complete the configuration, and it was up and running.”

* Georgia Crown Distributing Company is a full service beverage distributor that sells imported and domestic spirits, wines, beers, and bottled water with wholesale operations in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.


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