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“Disk is Too Slow and Unreliable”; Energy XXI’s Experience with D2D Backup Part 1 of 2

Last week I saw a first-of-its-kind announcement in an April 9th press release from Asigra. What specifically caught my eye in the press release were some comments that Energy XXI had found that using disk in place of tape still proved “too slow and unreliable” while lacking offsite capabilities. Disk’s inability to send data offsite came as no big surprise but the references in the press release to disk being too slow and unreliable when used in backup caught me a bit off-guard.

In order to get a better understanding of the context of these comments, I put a call into Energy XXI’s IT Director, Andrew Schaefer. He commented that introducing disk into the backup process had initially provided increased backup performance and higher success rates; however the amount of data that was being backed up would soon outgrow their temporary solution. Without the use of innovative software technologies, any sufficient disk based storage solution would require a much larger investment.

Energy XXI had initially backed up their data using an automated tape library; however their tape backup experience resembled the experiences other users including tape management headaches, extended backup windows and tape errors. In order to try to rectify these issues, Energy XXI created a volume on their iSCSI SAN and presented it to the backup server as a local disk. While backups were completing successfully, the growing amount of data that were being backed up were reaching the limits of the SAN volume.

Once the SAN volume neared capacity, the backup software would pause the backup jobs requiring manual intervention to resume them. Even though backing up to disk provided a more reliable backup medium, the software managing the backups proved inefficient. Equally problematic, the amount of data Energy XXI needed to backup on a nightly basis continued to grow. Energy XXI needed to find a solution which would scale with their business. It was at this point that Schaefer began to expedite his search for an alternative backup solution that would match Energy XXI’s environment.

In part 2 of this series, I’ll take a look at why Energy XXI selected Asigra’s Televaulting and what specific benefits it provided for them.


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