ExaGrid shrinks backups with Veeam, Veritas

'recovery' key on keyboard
recovery key on keyboard

ExaGrid has deepened its integration with Veritas and Veeam backup software to make backups complete in less time and take up less space.

Update: Bill Andrews notes on deduplicaion and competition added below, 18 November 2022.

Bill Andrews, ExaGrid
Bill Andrews

It makes scale-out, adaptive (see below) deduplicating disk backup appliances with restores from a native format ingest buffer, aka landing zone, and tiers data to send to the public cloud for longer-term retention and disaster recovery. It has more than 3,600 customers and competes with Dell’s PowerProtect (Data Domain), Quantum’s DXi, and HPE StoreOnce products. v6.2 of its software adds closer intergration with Veritas and Veeam, improved ransomware detection, and extended public cloud support.

CEO Bill Andrews said the company “continues to focus on improving backup and restore performance, scalability, cost savings, and security.”

v6.2 adds:

  • Veritas NetBackup Single Target Storage Pool for Veritas NetBackup: ExaGrid presents a single virtualized target pool of storage at each site with automated job management sending backup data to available ExaGrid appliances for front-end performance. ExaGrid automatically load balances all data across all non-network facing repositories for full storage utilization and deduplicates data across all repositories to save space.
  • Veritas IT Analytics integration: Enables reporting on Exagrid appliance statistics to Veritas’s unified insights for backup, storage, and virtual infrastructure. ExaGrid has a total of nine Veritas NetBackup integrations, including support of NetBackup Accelerator, OST Integration, integration with NetBackup media server hardware, AIR (Auto Image Replication), GRT (granular level restore), optimized deduplication, and instant recovery.
  • ExaGrid Cloud Tier: Improved performance and scalability of Cloud Tier for AWS and added support for Azure. Data sent to AWS and Azure is deduplicated and uses about a 50th of the bandwidth versus undeduplicated data. ExaGrid encrypts the data in transit, and the cloud providers encrypt the data at rest. 
  • Faster deduplication: ExaGrid has accelerated Adaptive Deduplication performance, increasing the Repository Tier’s overall performance, scalability and recovery points, and doing the same for disaster recovery copies in the public cloud.
  • Faster Veeam backup: ExaGrid has greatly improved the performance of Veeam synthetic fulls (Veeam v12) by adding support for Veeam’s Fast Clone technology, meaning synthetics fulls are at least 30x faster than previous versions.
  • Improved Security: ExaGrid has added two early warning features. An alert on large delete is generated as an early detection warning if an intruder is trying to delete a large amount of recently ingested data (above a set operational threshold) on the ExaGrid front-end Landing Zone. An alert on data deduplication change is generated when the deduplication ratio changes below a set threshold signaling that a large amount of encrypted data is being sent to the ExaGrid front-end Landing Zone or that the data on the Landing Zone is being encrypted.

The company believes in the better mousetrap theory. Purpose-built backup appliances are just backup software targets which need power, cooling, and datacenter space. They have to avoid limiting backup windows with slow ingest rates and support fast restores. If an ExaGrid box can hold more data in less disk and rack space for less power, and restore it faster, then it’s a pretty easy job to replace an existing system that’s reaching a limit point.

Bill Andrews notes

Inline does the dedupe on the way to the disk and this slows down backups. Also, the data is all deduplicated and has to be rehydrated for each request so the restores are slow as well.

Post process, which I don’t think anyone does anymore, waits until all the backups fully land (i.e. are complete) and then does the deduplication. The good part of this is fast backups and fast restores but the offsite DR RPO (recovery point time is not good).

We did this in the early years before we switched to Adaptive deduplication and Sepaton and Diligent (IBM Protectier) both did this but both were discontinued years ago (no longer in the market).

What ExaGrid does is Adaptive Deduplication. As the data hits the Landing Zone, we immediately start deduplicating the data into the repository tier and replicating to the DR site. So we are deduplicating and replicating all night as the backups are coming into us and therefore we have a much better RPO. In fact, we are done with backups and replication faster than any of our competitors with this approach.

Also, remember Dell, HPE, etc. have a front end controller and then disk shelves, we have compute and memory in every appliance which allows us to apply a lot more compute. ExaGrid is the fastest for backups, as fast as disk with non-deduplicated data for restores, and have the best RPO. We have no problem doing side by side tests to prove this out. We have tested 3 times against Pure SSD and won on performance in all 3 as they are not optimized for backup.

Lastly, we just don’t see Quantum in the marketplace and have not for years. I believe they sell but don’t develop that product any more.  In fact, when was the last time you saw new features for HPE StoreOnce or Dell Data Domain? [Federated management in June this year.]

We replace in order of volume the following:

  1. Primary storage disk from Dell, HPE, NTAP, Cisco, IBM, Hitachi, etc. – 50 percent of our business (we see more disk behind backup apps than anything else)
  2. Dell Data Domain – 30 percent of our business
  3. HPE StoreOnce -10 percent of our business
  4. Veritas storage appliances and everything else – 10 percent of our business

Primary storage disk dominates followed by Dell Data Domain who is the king of deduplication appliances.