ExaGrid’s Dell-certified iSCSI disk backup

First de-duplicating front-end for Dell/EqualLogic

Exagrid has produced a de-duplicating appliance tailored to front-end a Dell/EqualLogic PS-Series iSCSI SAN array and approved by Dell.

The ExaGrid iSCSI De-duplication Gateway is a 1U rack unit holding an Intel Dual Core XEON processor, Intel motherboard and ExaGrid Software which carries out byte-level data deplication.

Normally such an embedded server is paired with ExaGrid’s own disk storage to provide a NAS-type disk-to-disk (D2D) backup target for standard backup applications. What ExaGrid has done is to decouple its server from its storage and use Dell/EqualLogic PS Series IP SAN storage as the backend.

This gives it an entree into Dell/EqualLogic customer accounts, of which there are said to be 3,000. The de-duplication has an efficiency ratio of between 10:1 to 50:1 with 20:1 a reasonable de-dupe ratio to achieve in an average backup scenario.

Mark Rivard, CIO of Johnson Health Network, a Connecticut-based healthcare organization, said: “This new gateway will allow us to leverage and expand our existing infrastructure while simplifying overall management of our storage. It makes great sense for us to use the ExaGrid and Dell EqualLogic products together to achieve cost-effective and reliable backups. It’s a very smart combination.”

The ExaGrid box starts at $39,700. ExaGrid suggests having another one plus the PS Series storage at a remote site to act as a disaster recovery facility. Only de-duped data is sent across the metro or wide area network link making the transmission time far less than if raw backup data was sent across.

The company claims that the combined ExaGrid/Dell products cost the same as or less than a tape library with equivalent capacity for the raw backup data. It also has the well-known D2D advantages of faster backup and much faster restore than tape-based systems.

Kevin Wittmer, senior manager for Dell EqualLogic Product Marketing, said: “ExaGrid’s iSCSI Gateway, in combination with Dell EqualLogic PS Series iSCSI storage arrays, provides a cost-effective, easy-to-deploy and manage disk-based data de-duplication backup solution. These are factors that are important to Dell customers wherever they need to store, access or protect their data.”

It’s perhaps surprising that Dell hasn’t chosen its traditional OEM, Dell-branded route for providing de-duping D2D backup capability for its customers. Presumably ExaGrid wants to enjoy the status of being a Dell-chosen partner in the relatively commoditised de-duplication and D2D area. Possibly Dell thought that a Dell certification route was all that was needed for just 3,000 customers.

Naturally customers for the new ExaGrid box get the well-known Exagrid clustered scaling capability if they need more de-duping iSCSI gateway capacity.

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