Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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ExaGrid Upgrade Expands Dedupe, Oracle RMAN Channels Support 

ExaGrid this month expects to release the latest iteration of software for its disk-based backup storage solutions, an upgrade that globally supports deduplication across NAS shares and appliances in a scale-out GRID, and enhances support for Oracle RMAN Channels.

By providing deduplication across all NAS shares and appliances in a grid, organizations save both money and time, said CEO Bill Andrews, in an interview. Deduplication prevents enterprises from repeatedly storing the same data, purposely saving multiple copies of terabytes of files on costly backup, he said. On average, only 2 percent of data changes week-to-week, said Andrews.

It is vital that organizations retain all changes in case they are audited, face a legal challenge, or other issue that requires historical data, Andrews noted. That said, 90 percent of data is restored from the most recent event, he said.

To accelerate the backup process with shorter windows, faster restores, and quicker virtual machine boot speeds that, ExaGrid said, are up to 10 times faster than inline deduplication appliances, the developer designed a landing zone, scale-out architecture, and fixed backup window via its scale-out grid architecture. ExaGrid adds compute with capacity by adding appliances into the grid, not by simply adding disk capacity, to cope with an organization's escalating amount of data at the same speed.

Bill Andrews (Source: LinkedIn)

Bill Andrews (Source: LinkedIn)

"Instead of doing it inline, we don't burden the backup window with dedupe. We dedupe it once it's on the disk," Andrews said. "When you want a restore, the most recent copy's sitting there in an undeduped version. Then we put all the long-term retention in a retention repository. Everyone else has only deduplication repository… so every time [customers] want something back, they have to wait for it. If you don't add any compute, bandwidth, or memory, it expands the backup window so you constantly have to add front-end controllers. We keep the backup window fixed. We can scale up to 8 terabytes in a single scale out system and the backup window doesn't slow. I can take 800 terabytes into a single scale-out grid."

ExaGrid has always supported Oracle, but its newly unveiled support of Oracle RMAN Channels enables enterprises to back up Oracle databases up to 800 terabytes. RMAN Channels automatically writes sections in parallel to all NAS shares, and then automatically redirects the next sections depending on available targets. As a result, despite potentially reaching hundreds of terabytes in size, the Oracle database can be backed up in parallel to one ExaGrid scale-out grid and its backup speed is faster as the system backs up sections in parallel across multiple appliances in the scale-out grid, according to ExaGrid. Likewise, performance improves because the solution automatically sends sections to the highest available performing NAS share or appliance and, if any appliance within the GRID fails, sections automatically go to active appliances, thereby providing automatic failover and database backups in the case of appliance failure, the vendor said. To further accelerate usage, the most recent database is stored in undeduplicated form in the landing zone – long-term retention data is deduplicated – to eliminate rehydration associated with inline scale-up appliances that store only deduplicated data, Andrews said.

"You can have lots of Oracle RMAN segments going on at the same time. When a segment is ready, it sends another segment; it's constantly moving those segments around," he said. "Before global deduplication, we couldn't allow segments to occur. Now, by having global deduplication, Oracle can spray these segments anywhere it wants. It gives us the ability to have these concurrent jobs to come to different appliances. If any appliance fails – if I had 10 appliances in a scale out grid and one fails – it just sends them to the other nine. It's built in failover."

(Source: Gartner)

(Source: Gartner)

ExaGrid's products sit behind an enterprise's nightly backup application. The company competes with market leader EMC's DataDomain and HP, he said. Overall, the deduplication appliance market was worth $1.74 billion in 2014, up 18 percent over the prior year, according to Gartner.

"While EMC continues to claim the lion’s share of the market, late-comer HP is making good progress, and Fujitsu reported some large-scale adoption in Europe and Japan,” said Pushan Rinnen, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "Quantum remains a solid contender, whereas Dell is ramping up its DR series appliances for SMBs. ExaGrid and Sepaton are positioned as Visionary vendors due to their innovative architectures."

Version 4.9, slated to ship Aug. 31, will be available at no charge as an upgrade to customers who have a maintenance and support contract. That applies to 98 percent of ExaGrid customers, Andrews added.

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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