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Combined ExaGrid De-Dupe Backup and Veeam Solution

"Offers effective instant VM recovery," ESG Lab review finds.

ExaGrid Systems, Inc. announced that IT analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) has validated the effective instant VM recovery capabilities of ExaGrid’s disk-based backup with deduplication system with Veeam Software, Inc.‘s virtual server data protection solution.

The joint ExaGrid-Veeam configuration allows organizations to recover VMs in just minutes – speeds comparable to recovering from straight disk – thanks to ExaGrid’s landing zone architecture, according to the ESG Lab Review.

While instant VM recovery works well with straight disk storage, it isn’t as effective with deduplicated backup targets, according to ESG. Competing disk backup appliances that only maintain a deduplicated copy of data can take hours to reassemble or "rehydrate" the backup data. This makes the "instant" part of recovery "virtually impossible."

ESG noted: "In the case of a disaster, IT can restore data from a deduplicated backup, but the time required often exceeds today’s RTOs."

The ESG report explained that many IT organizations face a dilemma when protecting VMs: They must choose between keeping users productive with instant restore capability after a failure or disaster involving a VM, and minimizing the use of storage capacity with deduplication.

However, the ESG review found that with ExaGrid and Veeam, "you can have the benefits of both instant restore and deduplication," and that no tradeoff was necessary.

ExaGrid’s high speed landing zone maintains a full copy of the latest Veeam backups in their original, non-deduplicated formats. This means that users can instantly recover and run a VM from the ExaGrid system in case the primary VM is unavailable. Since the costs of IT downtime are substantial-a 2012 Aberdeen Group report that found the average cost of downtime to be $181,770/hour-the ExaGrid-Veeam solution that recovers VMs in just minutes can save organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars by avoiding lost productivity in the event of a system failure.

"The key takeaway from the ESG Lab Review is that with the joint ExaGrid and Veeam configuration, you can achieve instant VM Recovery and meet your RTO without sacrificing the benefits of deduplication," said Marc Crespi, VP of product management, ExaGrid. "With the ExaGrid-Veeam configuration, customers can rest assured that they will be able to recover a VM in just minutes in the event of an outage."

ESG is an IT research, analysis and strategy firm. The May 2013 ESG Lab Review, authored by Lab Analyst Kerry Dolan and senior lab analyst Vinny Choinski, reports the results of a hands-on test which executed Veeam Instant VM Recovery configured with ExaGrid’s disk-based backup with deduplication solution.

Key findings from the ESG Lab Review:

"Acts like plain disk": The ESG Lab tested the Instant VM Recovery capability of the ExaGrid and Veeam solution, using both the ExaGrid appliance and plain disk as the backup targets.

  • Test found that instant VM recovery from the plain disk target was completed in about 2 minutes, while instant VM recovery from the ExaGrid target was completed in 2:49.
  • ESG also measured throughput and response times for the ExaGrid-Veeam configuration, finding that ExaGrid outperformed plain disk in both throughput rates and I/O per second workload measurements.
  • Summarizing the tests, the report noted: "In ESG Lab testing, the ExaGrid landing zone enabled the appliance to act like plain disk, enabling instant restore in less than three minutes. Testing also demonstrated the increase in productive time provided by the combined solution, saving 37 minutes over standard restore. Finally, ESG Lab validated that throughput and response times were very good when accessing an instantly recovered VM on ExaGrid, enabling users to function at a high level despite the degraded state. The ExaGrid target delivered better throughput and faster response time than the plain disk target."

Ease of use and efficiency: ESG Lab tested both the ease of use and the time needed to set up the ExaGrid-Veeam solution for a new backup. Among the key findings:

  • "ESG Lab validated the ease and efficiency of deploying the ExaGrid/Veeam solution; the total time to configure both products and be ready to create backup jobs was three minutes and 40s (3:40)," the report noted.

"Tremendous capacity savings": ESG Lab also validated the "tremendous capacity savings" available with Veeam’s client side deduplication combined with ExaGrid’s post-process deduplication.

  • "From an initial data set of 2.1TB, Veeam performed client-side deduplication at a rate of 1.5:1, sending only 1.4TB to the ExaGrid target over a simulated five-week backup. Additional ExaGrid post-process deduplication at 5.6:1 further reduced that 1.4TB, resulting in only 255GB of storage consumed, and a combined deduplication ratio of 8.4:1," the report noted.