When I first received the ExaGrid EX1000 demo unit, it took me few days before I was comfortably in my lab ready to test it.
EX1000 is the smallest unit of the ExaGrid family, it comes with the same software and features of its bigger brothers, and is has 3.5 Tb of raw capacity, that turns out being 2 Tb of usable capacity. It also as a maximum backup speed of about 480 Gb/hr. All fitted in a 2U chassis.
As decided with ExaGrid support, I went for an unassisted installation, since one of the goal of these series of tests was to discover how easy would have been to install and operate the unit.
The unit arrived in a good box, with fair amount of padding to keep it safe during shipping. The unit itself is basically an X86 server fully loaded of disks, as you can see by this picture:
But, as I read once in a quote, and I totally agree, “hardware is the bottle, software is the wine”. It’s no more time for custom-built hardware like it was years ago, the real difference is made by the software inside, and this is just another case.
Rear view of the unit displays once again reveals its X86 origin:
Here, I would like to linger over the network connections: the EX1000 has two network connections, but data transfers go by nic2 only. In every ExaGrid unit, Nic1 is used for multiple units interconnection, both local or remote.
Assembling the unit and mounting it in my rack took about 20 minutes, then I connect the two power units and nic2 and I powered up the unit.
Initialization is pretty easy: every ExaGrid comes pre-configured with IP address 192.168.0.5, and first configuration must be done with a laptop connected to it. So I configured my mac with a compatible IP like 192.168.0.100 and I connected the ethernet cable to the ExaGrid.
Then you will only need to open a compatible browser (chrome and safari were not, so I fired up a WinXP virtual machine with Vmware Fusion…) to http://192.168.0.5 and login with default credentials.
I’m not going to reply all the great installation manual, so here is a brief of the involved steps. Since this is a one-site/one-unit installation, nic1 does not need to be configured. I only configured my new ExaGrid Site as “TestLab”.
There are other configuration options like multisite, DR sites, that maybe we will discuss in next articles.
After less than two minutes and some screens, I was ready to apply my settings:
After applying my desired settings, ExaGrid was ready to reboot. I disconnected the cable from my computer and connected the unit to the network, and while waiting for it to complete the reboot cycle, I configured my dns server with the new entries for ExaGrid.
Finally, after less than 30 minutes from installation start, I was able to login for the first time, and this is the Overview I got.
I renamed the site to Vuemuer to make its name more specific and easily identifiable: if you configure the unit to do so, ExaGrid System will send information over the internet to ExaGrid Support, so they can monitor the status of the entire site and contact you directly in case of problems, disk failures and so on. This level of support is definitely another plus of this solution.