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ExaGrid-Veeam integration eases Jordan's backup move

Jordan's Furniture expanded its use of ExaGrid backup and added Veeam Backup & Replication, citing the ExaGrid-Veeam integration as a major benefit.

Citing cost, capacity and speed, Jordan's Furniture recently integrated ExaGrid Systems' disk-based backup system with Veeam Backup & Replication, taking advantage of the ExaGrid-Veeam partnership.

Jordan's, which has five retail stores in New England and headquarters in East Taunton, Mass., had virtualized its infrastructure and was using EMC Avamar to back up and protect data. After virtualizing servers, Jordan's took another look at virtual backup specialist Veeam. The furniture store considered Veeam earlier, according to network engineer Ethan Peterson, but still had mostly physical servers and Veeam didn't protect physical servers.

Jordan's has four physical servers and more than 100 virtual servers, and uses a 50 TB Hitachi Unified Storage 130 array. Peterson said when the company's storage capacity spiked following the move to virtualization, "we took a look at other products as if we were starting from scratch." Peterson considered adding EMC Data Domain disk backup to Avamar, but found what he considers a better combination in Veeam and ExaGrid.

Jordan's had been using ExaGrid to back up its physical servers running Solaris, but decided to expand its use of the ExaGrid backup system and also purchase Veeam Software's Backup & Replication for its virtual infrastructure.

Peterson said ExaGrid's pricing was good enough for Jordan's to purchase a system that was bigger than needed today for its virtual infrastructure. He added a second system for disaster recovery.

The ExaGrid-Veeam Accelerated Data Mover developed by the vendors creates a synthetic full backup on the ExaGrid landing zone instead of requiring Veeam software to pull data from disk to its backup server. That results in faster synthetic full backups.

"Being an ExaGrid customer, we knew the support was not lacking. We knew it was good equipment," Peterson said. "The biggest [benefit] was the integration."

ExaGrid software version 4.7 enabled the ExaGrid-Veeam Accelerated Data Mover to be integrated into each appliance, enhancing performance for all Veeam backups and restores.

According to Peterson, Jordan's chose Veeam because it was built for virtualized environments, enables fast recoveries, and automates many of the tasks associated with deploying new VM [virtual machine] backups. And he praised ExaGrid's system for its price, compared to EMC products, and its efficiency and easy use.

Jordan's uses Veeam Backup & Replication for daily onsite backup of about 150 VMs -- or 12 TB of data -- in its data center to ExaGrid, which replicates backups to a second ExaGrid appliance at a disaster recovery site.

Jordan's, with more than 1,000 employees, has already used one of Veeam's most popular recovery features. When a user accidentally deleted a group record in Microsoft Active Directory, the Jordan's IT team recovered it in three minutes using Veeam Explorer.

Prior to Veeam, this type of restore wouldn't have been possible, Peterson said, and it would have been faster to rebuild the VM.

Veeam and ExaGrid have worked closely to integrate their products for several years.

"Their architecture works well with Veeam," Doug Hazelman, Veeam's vice president of product strategy, said of ExaGrid.

Hazelman praised ExaGrid's landing zone architecture that backs up data directly to disk and does data deduplication while the data is committing to disk to shorten backup windows. Peterson cited Veeam's Instant VM Recovery, which lets Jordan's restart a failed VM from a backup on ExaGrid's landing zone, as a big selling point.

When Veeam has a new release, the company talks to ExaGrid, and vice versa.

"ExaGrid has been a really good partner in the field," Hazelman said, noting that Veeam has other storage partners, including EMC.

There are more than 700 customers using Veeam with ExaGrid. In addition to Jordan's, litigation services provider U.S. Legal Support Inc. recently switched to the ExaGrid-Veeam system, praising the faster backup times and more consistent backups.

ExaGrid software version 4.7 enabled the ExaGrid-Veeam Accelerated Data Mover to be integrated into each appliance, enhancing performance for all Veeam backups and restores.

"When we sit behind the Veeam backup server, a Veeam agent runs on ExaGrid," said ExaGrid CEO Bill Andrews. "With the data mover, the synthetic full backup is done in ExaGrid and it offloads the backup and network environment."

Jordan's switched to the new ExaGrid-Veeam backup system approximately eight months ago. Peterson said installation was fairly simple and straightforward.

"It's less troublesome for us," Peterson said. "It's pretty easy to manage."

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