New ExaGrid Version Touts Backup Efficiency

ExaGrid's latest disk-based backup product focuses on efficiency and speed.

ExaGrid has released the newest version of its flagship data deduplication-centric, disk-based backup product with faster backup and restore performance.

Version 3, ExaGrid Systems first major release since September 2006, continues its focus on the disk-based backup market with its appliance approach combined with data deduplication. Whats new, however, is double the backup performance.

With the new version, users can expect up to a 2.1TB per hour backup rate with a 20TB ExaGrid system. The changes are due to some hardware alterations, the addition of extra network ports and software changes designed to increase the products performance.

The new versions faster capacity is particularly useful for customers at the upper end of ExaGrids small-to-midsize customer base and therefore extends ExaGrids reach, said Marc Crespi, vice president of product management at the company, based in Westborough, Mass.

"Unless you achieve certain minimal performance requirements for customers pushing a lot of data per day, they cant use the technology," he said. "If you dont have the highest performance possible, in some cases they cant fit into their backup window."


Click here to read more about how the ExaGrid backup product has evolved.

ExaGrids performance increase probably puts it in the lead against its competitors in the area of deduplication speed, said David Russell, research vice president for storage and technologies strategies at Gartner.

"If [ExaGrids] numbers are accurate, it could be the fastest," he said. "But regardless, whats most interesting is the fact that [it] can claim [it is] zero throttle in the ability to take in data, and that [it gets] through the deduplication process very fast."

Version 3 also speeds up restore times—optimized around the customers most-recent backup. The fastest restore with the new version is 1.5TB per hour.

"Ninety percent of the time, customers want the data they just put in the box. And with our approach, we maintain that last backup in native disk form. So when a customer is restoring that last backup, its as if they were restoring it off of any disk," Crespi said.

The new version also reduces the amount of space necessary, as well as the amount of power and cooling, by about 50 percent. Thats largely because instead of having two separate servers running different code bases, the company has merged them into a single code base running on one server. These changes allow users to store about 20 backups in the space of one ExaGrid system, Crespi said.

As for whats next, Crespi said the company will continue to focus on backup and restore performance as well as enhancing the products scalability. The company also will focus on exploiting the products content-aware focus, which allows the system to understand how each backup application operates—as well as understanding file content and boundaries—to bring other features to customers.

Russell had a slightly different take.

"They should focus more on route to market and awareness than on the technical side," he said. "Everybody knows Data Domain; [it does] a great job of getting mindshare. Players like ExaGrid have to get out there and push the product."

ExaGrid version 3 is shipping now with the same pricing as the previous version. A 1TB system costs about $19,000.


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