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ExaGrid reworks dedupe appliance for replication, Veeam

ExaGrid gives its backup dedupe appliance an upgrade to improve its replication performance and work better with Veeam backup software.

ExaGrid Systems Inc. now supports larger grids, and its backup dedupe appliance works better with Veeam Software's backup application, following ExaGrid's latest software upgrade.

ExaGrid claims its 4.7 software increases the ingest rate and capacity in a grid configuration for backups by up to 40%, while expanding the number of systems that can cross-replicate for disaster recovery.

ExaGrid reworked its deduplication technology so that replication and deduplication run in parallel, which improves the recovery process. ExaGrid calls its simultaneous dedupe and replication "adaptive deduplication."

ExaGrid CEO Bill Andrews said the new software allows customers to cluster 14 appliances in a grid. Its largest 14-node configuration now can backup up to 294 TB, with an ingest rate of 60.48 TB per hour in a full backup. ExaGrid has nine appliance models that can be mixed and matched in a grid configuration.

Before, we would wait until all the data was backed up. Now, as the data comes in and hits the disks, we do deduplication and replication in parallel so our recovery point is greatly improved at the disaster recovery site.
Bill AndrewsExaGrid CEO

Previously, ExaGrid supported 10 backup dedupe appliances in a grid, scaling to 210 TB of full backups.

ExaGrid also doubled the number of systems that can be configured in a hub-and-spoke set up for data center cross replication from eight to 16. That means 15 systems can replicate to a major data center and cross-replicate the major data center to a second data center for disaster recovery.

The adaptive deduplication is designed to improve the recovery point for DR without impacting backup performance.

"Before, we would wait until all the data was backed up," Andrews said. "Now, as the data comes in and hits the disks, we do deduplication and replication in parallel so our recovery point is greatly improved at the disaster recovery site. With inline deduplication, you never have a full copy. In our case, our backups write straight to disk, so when the data hits the landing zone, it is in full form and we deduplicate. In the repository, we keep a full copy."

ExaGrid expanding Veeam partnership

ExaGrid is also expanding its partnership with virtual machine backup specialist Veeam with a Veeam Data Mover agent for faster backups and restores. The new data mover agent runs on ExaGrid appliances, enabling communication with the Veeam backup server. Veeam software performs a synthetic full backup on ExaGrid appliances, offloading overhead from the Veeam backup server and network.

Veeam recommends that a synthetic full backup be created once a week, but that is a time-consuming process because the backup has to be created from all the changed blocks.

Veeam and ExaGrid have collaborated to make their products work together in the past, but Andrews said the Data Mover represents a much greater level of integration.

"When we sit behind the Veeam backup server, a Veeam agent runs on ExaGrid. Before, Veeam had no code written in any backup device," Andrews said. "This is the first time. With the data mover, the synthetic full backup is done in ExaGrid and it offloads the backup and network environment."

George Crump, president of Storage Switzerland LLC, said the advantage of the Veeam data mover is it consolidates all the changed blocks into a main file and it shortens the process of creating a full backup.

"Without the data mover, the main virtual machine file and the changed files get sent to the Veeam backup server and it then consolidates the changes," Crump said. "It can be a time-consuming process. It's not an easy thing to do. Data is transferred across the network to the [Veeam] backup sever. The data mover eliminates that move. Now the consolidation part can happen all in the backup appliance."

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