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ExaGrid Disk Backup, Data Deduplication, and Disaster Recovery  Systems


ExaGrid Disk Backup with Data Deduplication Product Line


ExaGrid EX Series Product Line

ExaGrid’s disk-based backup with deduplication product line revolutionizes how organizations backup and protect their data. By leveraging your current backup application and replacing tape in your nightly backup process, ExaGrid’s simple, turnkey appliance can:

  • Reduce the disk space required by at least 10:1, and up to 50:1
  • Shorten your backup window by 30-90%, ensuring all of your data is fully protected
  • Improve your disaster recovery plan through off-site disk-based retention of your data
  • Reduce the amount of time your IT staff spends on managing backups
  • Scale easily and cost-effectively with your data growth
  • Fully protect your virtualized environment
  • Reduce other costs associated with tape-based backup


ExaGrid EX Series Product Line – Simple, Turnkey Appliances

ExaGrid’s disk backup appliances work seamlessly with the industry’s leading backup applications, and the appliance typically installs in about one hour. The product line’s seven appliance models can be combined into a GRID configuration of up to 320TB raw capacity and allowing full backups of up to 130TB.

EX Series Disk Backup Appliances Product Line

Because of ExaGrid’s unique Landing Zone Architecture (described below), each model has roughly twice the amount of useable disk to the size of the full backup it can land and store.

Multiple Mix and Match Servers

ExaGrid Model Raw Capacity Usable Capacity Capacity for
Weekly Fulls
Capacity for
Daily Fulls
Backup throughput
Copies Total
Copies Total
EX1000 3.5 TB 2 TB 16 16 TB 75 75 TB 380 GB/hr
EX2000 5.5 TB 4 TB 16 32 TB 75 150 TB 380 GB/hr
EX3000 9.0 TB 6 TB 16 48 TB 75 225 TB 720 GB/hr
EX4000 11.0 TB 8 TB 16 64 TB 75 300 TB 1.08 TB/hr
EX5000 13.0 TB 10 TB 16 80 TB 75 375 TB 1.80 TB/hr
EX7000 16.0 TB 13 TB 16 104 TB 75 488 TB 1.80 TB/hr
EX10000E 23.0 TB 20 TB 16 160 TB 75 750 TB 1.80 TB/hr
EX13000E 32.0 TB 26 TB 16 208 TB 75 975 TB 2.40 TB/hr

ExaGrid backup to disk appliances are comprised of Intel Quad Core XEON processors, enterprise SATA drives, RAID 6 hot spare, and ExaGrid software. Since each appliance includes the appropriate amount processor, memory, disk and bandwidth for the data size, as each server is plugged into the switch and virtualized into the GRID, performance is maintained and backup times do not increase as data is added. This combination of capabilities in a turn-key appliance makes the ExaGrid system easy to install, manage, and scale.

Post-Process Data Deduplication

The ExaGrid disk backup appliance uses post-processing to perform its deduplication. This means that the backup data is written directly from the backup server to ExaGrid’s Landing Zone (disk) at the highest possible rate with no inline processing to interfere, resulting in the smallest possible backup window. Once the backup job is complete and off the network, the data is protected and immediately available for restore or tape copy. Then the appliance deduplicates (and simultaneously replicates) the data in the background.

Because ExaGrid’s product allows each full backup to first land to the landing zone, it caches that most recent backup for rapid restore. Since over 90% of restores are done from the most recent backup, this approach avoids overhead incurred of undoing any deduplication during critical restores. As a result, restore times from an ExaGrid are 2x to 3x times faster than competitive solutions that do not preserve a complete copy of the most recent backup and store only deduplicated data.

ExaGrid’s innovative approach minimizes the amount of data to be stored by using byte-level data deduplication across all received backups. ExaGrid’s byte-level delta technology stores only the changed bytes from backup to backup instead of storing full copies. This unique approach reduces the disk space required by at least 10:1, and up to 50:1, delivering unparalleled performance for the fastest backups and restores, all in a solution that costs about the same as a new tape library.


Scalable GRID Architecture

The seven core ExaGrid backup to disk appliances include GRID computing software which allows them to virtualize into one another when plugged into a switch. As a result, any of the seven appliance models can be mixed and matched into a single GRID system providing up to 320TB raw capacity and allowing full backups up to 130TB. Once virtualized, they appear as a single pool of long-term capacity. Capacity load balancing of all data across servers is automatic, and multiple GRID systems can be combined for additional capacity. Even though data is load-balanced, deduplication occurs across the systems so that data migration does not cause a loss of effectiveness in deduplication.

ExaGrid’s unique approach to scalability provides the following benefits:

  • Performance is maintained as your data grows – each additional ExaGrid server added to a system provides disk, processor, memory and bandwidth
  • Plug and play expansion – adding an additional ExaGrid server is as simple as plugging it in and letting ExaGrid’s automatic virtualized GRID software do the rest
  • Cost-Effective and Flexible Solution with No “Forklift” Upgrades – no need to over-buy storage capacity up front – modular systems are easily combined in a virtualized GRID to smoothly scale up for larger capacities as needed with no painful “forklift” upgrades.
  • Capacity utilization is load-balanced across servers – as a single server reaches full utilization, it can leverage space available on other servers in the GRID



Examples of Several Common GRID Configurations

Raw Capacity Usable Capacity Capacity for
Weekly Fulls
Capacity for
Daily Fulls
Backup throughput
Copies Total
Copies Total
5 TB
1 x EX5000
13 TB 10 TB 16 80 TB 75 375 TB 1.80 TB/hr
10 TB
1x EX1000E
23 TB 20 TB 16 160 TB 75 750 TB 1.80 TB/hr
13 TB
1x EX13000E
32 TB 26 TB 16 208 TB 75 975 TB 2.40 TB/hr
20 TB
1 x EX13000E
+ 1 x EX7000
48 TB 39 TB 16 312 TB 75 1463 TB 4.20 TB/hr
30 TB
2 x EX13000E
+ 1 x EX4000
75 TB 60 TB 16 480 TB 75 2250 TB 5.88 TB/hr
52 TB
4 x EX13000E
128 TB 104 TB 16 832 TB 75 3900 TB 9.60 TB/hr
78 TB
6 x EX13000E
192 TB 156 TB 16 1248 TB 75 5850 TB 14.4 TB/hr
130 TB
10 x EX13000E
320 TB 260 TB 16 2080 TB 75 9750 TB 24.0 TB/hr


On-site and Off-site, or Multi-site Disk-based Backup

In addition to single site, ExaGrid supports multi-site topologies. Each site can act as a data backup target for storage of local backups. In addition, each site can transfer just the changed bytes over the wide area network (WAN) to an off-site location so that the off-site location can perform data recovery if the local site is lost. By deduplicating the data at the primary site before transferring it over the WAN, network bandwidth is reduced by as much as 50:1, thus making disk-based offsite backup and offsite tape replacement economically practical for many IT organizations.

This support is bi-directional allowing systems used as off-site repositories to also act as local targets for data backups at those sites. With two-site configurations, it is very common to have both systems act as a local data backup target and to cross-protect each other by replicating the local data to the opposing site. With multi-site topologies, a centrally located site may cross protect with one of the other locations for long-term retention and disaster recovery for the central site backup data.


Multi-site Topology


ExaGrid also provides a seamless integration with Symantec’s Open Storage Technology allowing for streamlined disaster recovery and highly flexible retention policies for on-site and off-site backup data.

Supported Data Backup Applications

ExaGrid offers a turnkey plug-and-play disk backup appliance with deduplication that sits behind existing backup applications and enables faster and more reliable data back up and recovery.

ExaGrid supports the following vendors and their backup applications:




The ExaGrid system supports cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup using Acronis Backup & Recovery backup software. ExaGrid also supports the ability to replicate your Acronis Backup & Recovery backups to a second site for offsite disaster recovery protection.




The ExaGrid system leverages the ability of BridgeHead Healthcare Data Management (HDM) to perform MEDITECH backups to disk, and adds the benefits of ExaGrid’s compression and byte-level data deduplication to save you money over standard disk solutions.  ExaGrid also supports the ability to replicate your backups to a second site for offsite disaster recovery protection.

CommVault Simpana


ExaGrid is a certified member in the CommVault(R) PartnerAdvantage(TM) Technology Partners program. ExaGrid’s cost-effective disk-based backup appliance is certified with CommVault Simpana(TM) Backup & Recovery software.

Computer Associates (CA) ARCserve Backup


ExaGrid Systems is a Technology Partner through the Computer Associates Partner Program. ExaGrid has completed compatibility testing with ARCserve and is ca smart certified — providing the ARCserve customer a highly cost-effective backup solution and alternative to tape backup.

EMC NetWorker


The ExaGrid system supports cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup using NetWorker backup software from EMC. ExaGrid Systems is an EMC Velocity Technology ISV Program Partner and provides the EMC customer with a data backup solution that saves them money and time.

HP Data Protector


The ExaGrid system supports cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup using HP Data Protector backup software. ExaGrid also supports the ability to replicate your HP Data Protector backups to a second site for off-site disaster recovery protection.

IBM i / LaserVault UBD


IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, and System i) users can quickly and efficiently back up their data on the most cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup system available on the market, using the LaserVault Universal Backup Device (UBD) as a gateway. By backing up to an ExaGrid appliance via a LaserVault UBD, IBM iSeries customers can gain improved backup performance, fast and reliable data restores, and rapid recovery from system or site disasters.



IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager (TSM) customers can quickly and efficiently back up their data on the most cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup system available on the market.  By backing up to an ExaGrid appliance, TSM customers can gain improved backup performance, fast and reliable data restores, and superior scalability to maintain performance as data grows over time.

Idera SQL Safe

The ExaGrid System supplements Idera™ SQLSafe™’s backup capabilities, providing improved data protection management, fast and reliable online data restores, enhanced security, and rapid data recovery from system or site disasters.

Microsoft SQL Server

ExaGrid is an intelligent disk-based data protection solution that works in conjunction with Microsoft SQL Backup to provide cost-effective, disk-based data protection. You can leverage your current technology investments while supplementing or replacing your tape library with an ExaGrid disk-based solution.

Oracle Recovery Manager (RMAN)


Customers can simply send Oracle backups via the RMAN utility set directly to an ExaGrid disk-based backup system, bypassing the use of a backup agent.

PHD Virtual Backup


The partnership between ExaGrid Systems and PHD Virtual Backup provides a cost-effective disk-based backup solution that maximizes data reduction and scales to meet the needs of demanding enterprise environments.  ExaGrid’s and PHD Virtual Backup’s virtual server data protection solutions allows customers to utilize PHD Virtual Backup in VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer virtual environments on ExaGrid’s disk-based backup system.  This combination provides fast backups and efficient data storage as well as replication to an offsite location for disaster recovery.

Quest LiteSpeed

The ExaGrid System supplements LiteSpeed’s backup capabilities, providing improved data protection management, fast and reliable online data restores, enhanced security, and rapid data recovery from system or site disasters.

Quest vRanger


ExaGrid offers VMware customers using Quest’s vRanger with the industry’s fastest backups and restores, along with tremendously high data deduplication ratios (up to many 1,000’s to 1).


The ExaGrid System supplements Redgate® SQL Backup Pro’s backup capabilities, providing improved data protection management, fast and reliable online data restores, enhanced security, and rapid data recovery from system or site disasters.

Symantec Backup Exec


ExaGrid Systems is a member of the Symantec Technology Enabled Program. ExaGrid works closely with Symantec to ensure compatibility with Symantec Backup Exec and is the first disk-backup appliance vendor to achieve Symantec’s highest level of qualification for both basic and optimized duplication (replication) with Backup Exec via the OpenStorage Technology (OST) program.

Symantec NetBackup


ExaGrid Systems is a member of the Symantec Technology Enabled Program and the Open Storage API Program. ExaGrid works closely with Symantec to ensure ExaGrid’s compatibility with Symantec NetBackup and has achieved Symantec’s highest level of qualification for both basic and optimized duplication (replication) with NetBackup via the OpenStorage Technology (OST) program.


Heterogeneous IT environments combine physical and virtual architectures, multiple operating systems, and platforms. Given these multi-infrastructure environments and data growth rates averaging 30% or more annually, IT organizations are challenged to address scalability and complexity
in cost-effective ways. The joint solution offered by ExaGrid and Unitrends provides IT organizations of all sizes with
many benefits.

UNIX / LINUX File System Data Dumps


ExaGrid customers can simply transfer file system data from Unix or Linux systems to the ExaGrid server, bypassing the use of a backup agent.



VMware customers using industry-leading Veeam Backup software can get faster, more reliable backups with ExaGrid’s high-performance, scalable disk-based backup appliance while also integrating quickly and easily with their existing infrastructures. Veeam Backup enables faster, more efficient storage and recovery of virtual machines while ExaGrid’s disk-based backup systems serve as the backup target for these virtual machine backups.

VMware Backup


ExaGrid Systems provides cost-effective disk-based backup for VMware environments. ExaGrid’s data backup appliance also supports the ability to replicate your VMware backups to a second site for off-site disaster recovery protection.

Why ExaGrid?

A Leader in Data Backup with Deduplication

ExaGrid takes pride in building a company with product that meets the needs of IT staff and their organizations.

We believe that IT people are best served by:

  • The best product line
  • At the best price
  • From a great company
  • With responsive, knowledgeable technical support

Best Product

ExaGrid’s focus is to make the best disk backup product with deduplication and employs the following criteria in development.

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to manage
  • Highly scalable architecture so performance maintained as data grows
  • Turnkey system with all software and hardware from a single vendor
  • Fastest system for backups to shorten backup windows
  • Fastest system for making offsite tape copies
  • Fastest system for restores
  • Redundancy to reduce down time
  • Offsite system to replace offsite tape
  • WAN efficient replication to keep an offsite site system up to date with minimal bandwidth
  • Leverage compression and deduplication technologies to reduce the cost of data backup

Best Price

  • ExaGrid has the lowest cost data backup with deduplication system
  • ExaGrid prides itself on offering the best product at the best price via an international network of partners

Best Support

  • ExaGrid offers the best support in the industry
  • The hardware, software and all components are supported by ExaGrid – You make only one call
  • Technical Support representatives are assigned to named accounts
  • All Support staff are in-house ExaGrid employees
  • The standard support package includes phone and email support, full version releases and replacement hardware

Best Company

  • ExaGrid has a strong history of consistent growth
  • More than 200 ExaGrid Customer Success Stories are available with users discussing their real-world experiences.
  • The company mission is focused around customer success and total satisfaction

ExaGrid vs Tape Library

For many years, backing up to a tape library has been the dominant method for performing backups to protect your organization’s data. Many IT organizations, however, have grown dissatisfied with tape-based backups and are looking for alternatives that offer fast backups and restores, scalability with no forklift upgrades, fast disk-based offsite disaster recovery, and a low IT maintenance burden . Disk backup with data deduplication is one such alternative, and it’s now available at a price comparable to a new tape library.

Why the move from a tape library? The problems with tape are well known: slow backups and restores, backups fail, restores fail, labels fall off, tape is mislabeled, and tape can be lost, stolen, or damaged. Tape backups must be monitored. Equipment needs to be maintained and heads cleaned for backups to be run properly. And tapes must be loaded and changed, labeled correctly, and physically transported off-site (and then back on-site) for disaster recovery.

According to Gartner and Storage magazine, 34% of companies backup their data to tape and do not test their backups. And an amazing 77% of those companies who do test their tape backups found backup failures (Boston Computing Network Data Loss statistics). Furthermore, a 2009 Symantec Disaster Recovery survey found that 65% of companies do not have adequate backup protection for virtual server environments. Many of these virtualized environments still rely on tape.

Disk, on the other hand, is fast and reliable for both backup and restores. The table below compares tape vs disk for selected attributes:

Tape Disk
Backups are slowTape libraries have a physical number of drives and therefore have a fixed number of concurrent streams. Also, tape libraries roll forward and backward (“shoe shining effect”) wasting performance time. Disk is fastDisk is faster than tape as it is random access versus sequential access. In addition, with disk, you can set up dozens of NAS shares for concurrent streams.
Backups are unreliableTape libraries are mechanical devices subject to failure over time. In addition, tapes get worn, dirty and damaged by heat and humidity. Disk is reliableDisk does not wear, get dirty or get damaged by heat and humidity as disk is in a hermetically sealed case and lives in a heat and humidity controlled data center.
Restores are slowRestores are slow from tape because the tape has to be streamed to the point where data is stored—and the tape with the data may not be in the drive, not in the tape library, or could even be offsite. Even worse is the situation where the backup failed, and you won’t know it failed until you go to restore. Restores are fastDisk is fast since it is random read versus sequential read, and with disk the data that is online is also on the disk. The chance of the data being on disk is 99.9999% because it is disk in a hermetically sealed case in a climate-controlled data center.
Tapes are lost or stolenTapes move around onsite and are transported to an offsite location. Tapes are easily stolen or lost, thereby creating security issues. Disk is SecureDisk sits in the data center rack secured by network and physical security. For an offsite disk backup system, the second system is also in a secured data center. All data is replicated in an encrypted form by the VPN.
Tape Labeling is Error-ProneTapes are mislabeled or labels fall off. Disk Labeling is AutomaticNo manual labor is required. Thus, no issues arise with human error or labels falling off.


ExaGrid’s disk backup with deduplication not only overcomes the challenge of tape, but it offers the following benefits:

  • Fast backups: typically 40-90% faster than tape, utilizing post-process deduplication which lands the data to disk and then deduplicates after the data is already protected
  • Fast restores: by keeping a full copy of the data on disk in non-deduplicated form
  • Scalability: GRID architecture allows seamless scalability from 3.5TB to 320TB raw capacity, allowing full backups from 1TB to 130TB with no forklift upgrades or degradation in backup performance as data grows
  • Offsite DR: an optional second-site configuration allows for WAN-efficient replication of data to an offsite disaster recovery location
  • Low IT management burden: Customers using a plug-and-play disk backup with deduplication system typically spend only a small amount of time each week managing backups. Many report saving 10-20 hours/week or more vs tape, thus freeing time for more important IT priorities

In summary, ExaGrid’s disk backup with data deduplication eliminates the problems and management burden of tape with a solution that offers the fastest backups and restores, the only scalable architecture, and the only solution priced comparable to the cost of a new tape library.


ExaGrid vs. Other Appliances

Comparing GRID with Full Server Architecture vs Front-End Server/Disk Shelf Architecture for Deduplication

When organizations are choosing a disk-based backup appliance with deduplication, they invariably evaluate the differences in product architecture between ExaGrid and other appliances (e.g. EMC Data Domain).  The main difference is that ExaGrid’s system offers a GRID architecture with full servers and post-process deduplication (which is faster and more scales) while other appliances use a front-end server architecture with disk shelves and inline deduplication (which is not as fast and requires costly forklift upgrades to scale).

Check out our chart below as we compare and contrast the differences between ExaGrid’s GRID architecture with full servers using post-process deduplication vs other vendors’ front-end server with disk shelves architecture using inline deduplication.

GRID Architecture with Full Servers and Post-Process Deduplication Front-End Servers with Disk Shelf Architecture and Inline Deduplication
Fastest Backups Fastest
Writes to the disk at disk speed to ensure completion of the backups quickly.
Performs compute-intensive process between the backup server and disk.
Backup windows do not expand as data grows Strong — add full appliances
As data grows, full servers are added, each with their own processor, memory, bandwidth and disk. This maintains consistently fast backup performance and a fixed length backup window as data increases. For example, when you grow from 10TB to 20TB (twice the data) the processor, memory, bandwidth and disk all double which means you have twice the resources.
Weak — can only add disk
Only disk shelves are added as data grows, This means you start with a shorter backup window, but as data grows, the backup window expands because you are not adding more deduplication processing resources. For example, when your backup grows from 10TB to 20TB, with twice as much data but the same processor and memory, the backup window expands. Eventually, the backup window expands to a point where you must replace the front-end server with a more powerful server.
Forklift Upgrades; Cost Effective Scalability No Forklift Upgrades; Cost Effective to Scale
Uses full servers. As data grows you add another server into a GRID architecture. Each server comes with processor, memory, bandwidth and disk. When your data goes from 10TB to 40TB, you simply keep adding more appliances and the system keeps growing. There are no forklift upgrade points and no future costs to consider. Just add as you grow.
Forklift Upgrades; Costly to Scale
Only disk is added as data grows, but at some point the front-end server can no longer keep up because the amount of disk you can add behind fixed processor, memory and bandwidth is limited. At some point the front-end server must be replaced with a server with faster processor and memory, which is a “forklift” upgrade. Some product lines have as many as five forklift upgrade points. Since the cost of the front-end can be as much as the price of the initial system, when you buy in and then hit a forklift upgrade point, you may have to spend about as much for the upgrade as what you originally spent.
Fastest Full System Restores Fastest Restores
Keeps full copy of most recent backups and historical versions as byte-level deltas behind the most recent backup. Latest full copy is always ready to restore in complete form for fastest full system restores.
Slower Restores
Deduplicates data on the fly so all data on disk is deduplicated. When doing a full system restore— often time-sensitive—you have to wait for all of the data to be put back together (rehydrated).
Fastest Tape Copies Fastest Tape Copies
Keeps a full copy, so when your Friday night backup is complete, the full backup is sitting on the disk waiting to be copied to tape. The tape copy job simply copies the full backup from disk to tape without any data rehydration time, resulting in fastest tape copies.
Slow Tape Copies
Deduplicates data on the fly so during the Friday night full backup, data is deduplicated on the way to disk. As soon as the Friday night full is complete and the offsite tape copy starts, the entire full backup needs to be put back together (rehydrated) which makes for slow tape copies.
Cost-Effective Up-Front Purchase Best Price for Best Scalability
Performs the processing after the backups are complete. Therefore, the systems can utilize mass market Intel processors that are shipped in high quantity and therefore are inexpensive. This greatly reduces the cost of the system. These systems can be up to as much as 30% less than an inline/block system.
Higher Price
Due to the inline approach, this requires the most recent, high-performance CPU in order to keep up with backups. The premium processor and memory drives the cost of the system up. These systems are more expensive than post process/ byte.

The Bottom Line on GRID Architecture with Full Servers

A GRID architecture with full servers using post-process deduplication offers the following advantages compared to a front-end server architecture with disk shelves using inline deduplication:

  • Faster for backups and full system restores
  • More scalable, with no backup window expansion as data grows
  • No forklift upgrades as data grows with cost-effective scalability
  • Faster for offsite tape copy
  • Costs less up front and costs less over time
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