Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. is part of a leading global infrastructure business, with operations in more than 80 countries and employing more than 50,000 people internationally. BBI services key infrastructure markets including transportation, social infrastructure, utilities, and commercial. The company delivers services essential to the development, creation and care of infrastructure assets including project design, financing and management, engineering and construction, and facilities management services.
Like any global organization, Balfour Beatty had a growing need for data that was not only accessible but also resilient to data loss or disaster. As the organization’s storage footprint expanded, the time needed to backup critical data swelled to as much as 8 hours for an Exchange backup.
Cliff Williams, Manager of Infrastructure and Security at Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, was spending upwards of two hours a day on backup tasks and knew that a change was needed.
Mr. Williams turned to the datacenter infrastructure specialists at Lockstep Technology Group to examine new backup solutions in an effort to streamline processes and shorten backup times. Emphasis was placed on a desire for a solution that would meet current storage needs and allow for planned growth while being as cost-effective as possible.
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure selected a two-site, disk-based backup system with data deduplication from ExaGrid to back up and protect the company’s data. The company installed one ExaGrid system in its main datacenter in Atlanta, Georgia and a second in its Jacksonville, Florida, office. Data is backed up locally at both locations and is then cross-replicated between sites each night.
Organizations like BBI using Symantec Backup Exec can look to ExaGrid as an alternative to tape for nightly backups. ExaGrid sits behind existing backup applications, such as Symantec Backup Exec, providing faster and more reliable backups and restores.
ExaGrid combines last backup compression along with data deduplication, which stores changes from backup to backup instead of storing full file copies. This unique approach reduces the disk space required by a range of 10:1 to 50:1 or more, delivering unparalleled cost savings and performance at 25 to 30% the cost of standard SATA drives.
ExaGrid backups are designed for speed, with last backups being written directly to disk with no dedupe. The data resides in the “Landing Zone” in its full undeduplicated form ready for any request. Local restores, instant VM recoveries, audit copies, tape copies, and all other requests do not require rehydration and are as fast disk. As an example, instant VM recoveries occur in seconds to minutes versus hours for the inline deduplication approach.
As Balfour Beatty Infrastructure’s data grows, the ExaGrid system can easily scale to accommodate more data. ExaGrid’s GRID computing software makes the system highly scalable, and when plugged into a switch, different sized configurations can be mixed and matched into a single GRID system with capacities of up to a 130TB full backup plus retention. Once virtualized, they appear as a single system to the backup server, and load balancing of all data across servers is automatic.
Balfour Beatty partnered with Lockstep Technology Group and the excellent customer support from ExaGrid to guarantee a seamless transition to the new system.
Our ExaGrid support engineer worked closely with [Lockstep] to install the system, and it was fully operational in just a few hours. It really was painless.”
Mr. Williams said that the company’s backups have run far more efficiently since it installed the ExaGrid system. For example, backups of the company’s Exchange system are now completed in just an hour and a half instead of the eight hours required when backing up to tape.
The ExaGrid was perfectly suited for an environment like ours. Its data deduplication technology works well and enables us to quickly back up and retain lots of data on the unit. It also makes the system more economical because it maximizes our storage.”
ExaGrid systems are easy to implement, manage, and maintain, integrating with existing backup software. The result is a disaster recovery system that just works, with minimal care and feeding.
The ExaGrid system was definitely the right choice for our environment. With the ExaGrid in place, I’m confident that our backups will be completed correctly each and every night. It also saves me lots of time on management and administration and restores. We’ve been very pleased with the system.”