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HYCU and ExaGrid: Hyper-converged Backup for Nutanix

February 17, 2021

Backing Up and Recovering Data: Nutanix, ExaGrid and HYCU.

As IT data centers move to hyper-converged infrastructure, new and innovative backup approaches are required to be able to recover from any failure within minutes.

Backup for nutanix and exagrid through HYCU

The combination of HYCU and ExaGrid is purpose built for hyper-converged environments.

Treating HCIS like traditional infrastructure

Hyper-converged infrastructure includes intelligent systems that have extremely efficient snapshots, clones, replications, deduplication, and compression. This intelligence is one of the major reasons you invested in Nutanix. But traditional data protection solutions treat Nutanix like standard dumb disks. To truly capitalize on your investment, HYCU allows you to leverage HCIS’ capabilities. 

Acting like VMS are black boxes 

Today’s solutions are singularly focused on VMs without regard to applications, essentially treated as black boxes. There is no easy way of knowing which applications are running on which VMs. Customers are given the wrong perception that generic VM-level snapshots are always enough. The truth is, they don’t work for all applications, and oftentimes you don’t find out that your backup fell short until it is time to recover.

The HYCU solution comes built-in with Application Awareness, Application Consistent Backup and Application Aware Recovery.

Moving beyond legacy complexity

The core value proposition of hype convergence is its simplicity, but when you use today’s complex data protection systems, you can’t realize its full potential. HCIS solutions can be deployed in 30 minutes, yet most current data protection solutions require multi-day professional services to deploy them. The lack of native integration between most data protection products and hyper-converged environments makes it much more difficult for administrators to rapidly get up to speed and become instantly productive.

The ideal data protection solution should tightly integrate with the Nutanix systems and create a closed-loop process. HYCU is highly integrated and can be installed and up in running in minutes.

Logos of HYCU, Nutanix and EXAGRID

Focusing on backup not recovery

When people think of data protection, they tend to focus on the backup. In actuality, backup is the simpler task and recovery is the challenging one. HYCU offers stress-free recovery, application context, ease of use, self-service, and error-proof tools.

Using HYCU, purpose-built data protection for Nutanix

  • User interface strongly resembles Nutanix user interface
  • Runs as a Virtual Appliance on a Nutanix cluster
  • Dynamic discovery of VMs to be backed up – application-level awareness of what is running on each VM
  • Intelligent incrementals forever; does full backups at specified data change threshold

Using ExaGrid, secondary storage designed for virtualized environments and Nutanix 

ExaGrid’ s unique approach to backup storage delivers the fastest backups, restores, and VM boots as well as the only fixed-length backup window as data grows. In addition, ExaGrid’s scale-out architecture and various size appliances allow customers to buy what they need as they need it, avoiding disruptive and costly forklift upgrades. Customers are able to mix older and newer appliances in the same scale-out system, eliminating product obsolescence and protecting the IT investment up front and over time.

Using Nutanix Enterprise Cloud

Nutanix enables IT teams to build and operate powerful multi-cloud architectures. Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software melds private, public and distributed cloud operating environments and provides a single point of control to manage IT infrastructure and applications at any scale. Nutanix solutions are 100% software-based, and are built on the industry’s most popular hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology, delivering a full infrastructure stack that integrates compute, virtualization, storage, networking and security to power any application, at any scale.

Nutanix software runs across different cloud environments to harmonize IT operations and bring frictionless mobility to all applications.

Shortening the backup window with the fastest backups

ExaGrid provides advanced and aggressive data deduplication, matching the high deduplication ratios in the industry of 10:1 to as high as 50:1 data reduction, with an average of 20:1, depending on retention periods and data types. However, ExaGrid understands that data deduplication is highly compute intensive and should not be performed during the backup window as the deduplication will slow down ingest performance and, as a result, will lengthen the backup window. ExaGrid provides a unique disk landing zone in each appliance where backups are written directly to disk so that the compute-intensive data deduplication process doesn’t impact ingest speed. This approach provides the fastest backup ingest rate of any deduplication solution. ExaGrid uses “adaptive” deduplication to deduplicate and replicate data to the disaster recovery (DR) site during the backup window (in parallel with the backups) but not inline between the backup application and the disk. This unique combination of a landing zone with adaptive deduplication provides for the fastest backup performance, resulting in the shortest backup window as well as a strong disaster recovery point (RPO).

Ensuring the fastest restore requests, VM boots and offsite tape copies 

Ninety-five percent or more of the total volume of restores, VM boots, and offsite tape copies come from the most recent backup, so keeping the most recent backup in only deduplicated form will require a compute-intensive, time-consuming data “rehydration” process that will slow down restore requests. VM boots can take hours when done using deduplicated data. Since ExaGrid writes directly to the disk landing zone, the most recent backups are kept in their full undeduplicated, native form. All restores, VM boots, and offsite tape copies are fast because the overhead of the data rehydration process is avoided. As an example, ExaGrid can provide data for a VM boot in seconds to single-digit minutes versus hours for inline deduplication backup storage appliances that only store deduplicated data. ExaGrid maintains all long-term retention (weeks, months, years) in a deduplicated format for storage efficiency.

Maintaining a fixes-length backup window 

Since data deduplication uses a lot of processor and memory resources, as data grows, the amount of data deduplication to be performed grows commensurately. The first generation of deduplication storage appliances utilize a “scale-up” storage approach with a fixed resource front-end controller and disk shelves. As data grows, they only add storage capacity. Because the compute, processor, and memory are all fixed, as data grows, so does the time it takes to deduplicate the data until the backup window is so long that the front-end controller has to be upgraded (called a “forklift” upgrade) to a larger/faster controller, which is disruptive and costly. ExaGrid provides full appliances in a scale-out system. Each appliance has landing zone storage, deduplicated repository storage, processor, memory, and network ports. As data volumes double, triple, etc., ExaGrid doubles, triples, etc. all required resources to maintain a fixed-length backup window. If the backups are six hours at 100TB, they are six hours at 300TB, 500TB, 800TB, etc. Expensive forklift upgrades are avoided, and the aggravation of chasing a growing backup window is eliminated.

ExaGrid and HYCU: Providing fastest backups, restores and best scalability for Nutanix

  • Landing zone for fast backups
  • Landing zone for fast restores
  • Long-term storage efficiency with aggressive data deduplication
  • Scale-out backup storage system – backup window says fixed in lengt as data grows
  • Scales to a one petabyte full backup in a single system

The combination of HYCU and ExaGrid provides for the fastest backups, fastest restores, best scalability, and best overall up front and long-term costs for Nutanix environments.


ExaGrid reserves the right to change specifications or other product information without notice. ExaGrid and the ExaGrid logo are trademarks of ExaGrid Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders. ©2017 ExaGrid Systems, Inc.

Shive Raja Headshot

SVP of Product

Subbiah Sundaram is the SVP, Product at HYCU. Subbiah spearheads product management, product marketing, alliances, sales engineering, and customer success with more than 20 years' experience delivering best-in-class multi-cloud data protection and on-premises solutions. A Kellogg Management School MBA graduate, Subbiah has worked with leading companies such as EMC, NetApp, Veritas, BMC, CA, and DataGravity.

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