ExaGrid Systems Inc. EX10000E

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. FC8-64 Blade for the Brocade DCX Backbone Family

Backup and disaster recovery hardware

Gold Award:

ExaGrid Systems Inc. EX10000E

ExaGrid's EX10000E sits at the nexus of two popular technology trends in 2009: scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) management for storage and data deduplication. Like ExaGrid's other products, the EX10000E offers global data deduplication for disk-based backup across multiple physical nodes in its clustered system, making it easily expandable while parallelizing performance.

Users have a choice of post-process or concurrent data deduplication, depending on how they prefer to balance the data deduplication process with backup windows. They also have the option of configuring the data to send it to tape or to replicate it offsite before dedupe is begun.

As data deduplication offerings have branched out from a backup focus to address primary data storage and other areas of the data center, and some data deduplication vendors have begun to broaden their target markets, ExaGrid Systems has remained focused on midmarket customers of backup-oriented data deduplication, working to add incremental upgrades to the product to support existing customers.

The company responded to another industry-wide theme in 2009: relentless data growth, regardless of company size, coupled with flat or declining budgets. With the release of the EX10000E, consisting of up to 10 10 TB server nodes for a total capacity of 100 TB, new customers can store more data in less space than with previous models. But customers with previously released smaller nodes won't have to rip and replace existing clusters; the new larger node can be mixed and matched with 1 TB to 5 TB nodes, with overall management via a single user interface.

Each node added to a cluster brings memory and processing power, boosting performance of data deduplication processing along with the additional capacity. In keeping with a theme of frugality in a down economy, the EX10000E consumes 50% less power than previous generations.

As one of our judges put it, "ExaGrid remains one of the few [vendors] thinking about how a system grows with the customer. Kudos on taking it to the next level."

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