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Commvault GO 2016 Wrap Up - Commvault Concludes Its Inaugural Event

CommvaultGO 2016 

This week, I had the honor of attending Commvault's inaugural customer conference, Commvault GO 2016.  The three-day event took place at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek facility in Orlando, FL.  While this event may have been an inaugural event for Commvault, you never would have known it.  Commvault GO went off about as smooth as anyone could expect.  With more than 1,300 attendees making the journey, Commvault set out to educate its customers, partners, sponsors, analysts and reporters with technology insights covering today's modern data center, the move to the cloud, backup, application recovery, and data management -- goal accomplished!

Attendees had the opportunity to attend nine keynote sessions featuring Commvault executives, industry analysts, and Commvault customers; had their choice of more than 40 breakout sessions; could schedule time with actual product experts to deep dive and gain a better understanding of almost any topic; and they could sit down and participate in a number of hands-on-labs.  One interesting twist, Commvault had all of these things contained within the massive vendor expo hall which kept everyone flowing throughout rather than disappearing off into one of any number of other meeting rooms or ballroom areas.

Even with a category 4 hurricane Matthew threatening to crash the party, the event showed no signs of slowing down (although emergency weather alerts did at times pop up on mobile phones during the keynote session and attendees were checking on flight schedules to be sure they could leave once the show had reached its conclusion).    

Technology evangelist and futurist, Robert Scoble, did a fantastic job of hosting the event.  The keynote kicked off with Commvault Chairman, President and CEO Robert Hammer who provided his vision on holistic data management and how to solve critical data related problems.  Hammer said the need for a holistic data management strategy has been brought on by the move to the cloud, application explosion, increasing demand for security and compliance, and anywhere computing.  With data at the center of everything, enterprises now more than ever need the ability to activate data regardless of where it resides.

CommvaultGO Hammer 

Hammer also "hammered" the point home saying, "You are going to hear that everybody and his brother and uncle has a platform.  But all platforms are not created equal." 

When asked during a media roundtable discussion, Hammer said he considers its main competitors in enterprise data backup to be Veritas, Dell/EMC and IBM.  After mentioning the competition, he added, "There is a difference between vision and reality.  Our platform has been a reality for 10 years."   

To further entrench the company's market position, he said the company is extending their product suite to support software-defined data services (SDDS) and improve orchestration, as well as grow its industry alliances.

Hammer also discussed what he called "The five fundamentals," which included: 1) Know your data - Organizations today need to have control over where data is stored, how secure it is and how available it is for fast recovery, disaster recovery, test/dev, reporting and business analytics.  2) Federate your data - To federate data is to seamlessly protect, recover, move, find and deliver apps and data spanning different infrastructures, and to also access and use data without having to move it.  3) Mobilize your data - Organizations need to aggregate their data across an array of locations - on premises, in the cloud, in virtual environments and on mobile.  4) Govern your data ­- Compliance requirements in regulated industries is today's reality.  By having data federated under one corporate governance capability, organizations can understand what data they have, where it resides and have the ability to put audit-able policies on data ensuring compliance. 5) Secure your data ­- In this world of hacks, malware, ransomware and other threats, both internal and external, organizations need to be able to secure their data.

Al Bunte, Commvault COO, told audience members that he knows that data is driving major changes in organizations and that it's fueling fundamental transformations in the way we all do work.  Data is critical, and there's a lot of complexity in managing all that data.  Bunte told attendees, "You have to take control."

And in response, Bunte exclaimed, "We have the technology!" and then went on to outline the most recent technological innovations within the platform - a simplified, personalized and modern interface; more powerful orchestration to automate the complex tasks users are dealing with every day in IT; a continued commitment to openness; and accessibility combining to maximize the value of customers' data.  

Other keynote speakers included: Steve Guggenheimer of Microsoft, who discussed the digital revolution and the cloud; Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, Dave Russell, who discussed the forces that are transforming the backup and recovery market and how these changes are impacting enterprises' IT objectives and priorities; ESG Founder and Senior Analyst, Steve Duplessie, who provided tips on how IT leaders can stay on top of the latest changes in the technology industry and how to use this knowledge to deliver value to their enterprises and manage their own technology careers; Satinder Sethi, Vice President, Data Center and Cloud Solutions, Cisco Systems, outlined the value Commvault provides his organization and emphasized the need for a software-driven and policy-based approach to data management; and ComputerWorld Executive Editor, Julia King who moderated a customer panel that included American Municipal Power, Denver Health, CLP Power, and University of Minnesota.

commvaultgo customer panel 

The Commvault GO keynote proved educational and entertaining thanks in large part to the addition of the world-famous front man from the hit television series MythBusters, Adam Savage.  Savage entertained the audience with a non-traditional keynote session that was delivered, I later found out, almost completely off the cuff.  With a fun and whimsical delivery, Savage brought his insights from his diverse work experience and 14 seasons on MythBusters to take a unique look at today's fast-paced and global data environment, and how data is at the heart of our lives.  He related his personal experiences with "backing up" his own materials to the challenges faced by IT professionals doing the same for their companies. 

CommvaultGO Savage

I also had an opportunity to sit down and speak with a couple of their customers.  One of those customers, Doug Beck from Innovative Systems, told me that his company moved from Symantec to Commvault a few years ago because of a SQL DB backup issue and because it did a better job with the data spread across his physical and virtualized environment.  He also said Commvault's solution "just works," and that for the most part he can "set it and forget it," which is high praise for a software solution like this. 

In a similar fashion, Jeffrey Pelot, CIO of Denver Health, also spoke highly of the backup and recovery portion of Commvault, which is important for HIPAA compliance -- but the underlying value is in the orchestration and the analytics side of the product, which is where his organization will continue to grow with their solution as that level of data understanding continues to broaden and evolve.

On the final day of the show, Commvault ended where it began -- It's about the customer.  As Bunte explained to me during a roundtable discussion, "We're here to help.  If we can make the customer successful, we'll be successful."  And the company clearly takes pride in its customers.

As Hurricane Matthew's track appeared to point towards the Florida coastline, the company decided to circulate a warning to its attendees on Wednesday afternoon that Commvault GO activities would come to an end Wednesday night, and that Thursday sessions and training programs would be canceled to ensure everyone would get home safely.

Not to be outdone by Matthew, Commvault GO ended with a bang and a well thought out giant party dubbed the "GO Play! Extravaganza."  With a carnival style theme, complete with acrobatics, classic video games, a drift trike racecourse, a giant ball bit, and food and drinks like you wouldn't believe, Commvault pulled off one the best hurricane parties I've ever attended.  And I'm from New Orleans, so I know hurricane parties.

CommvaultGO Party

The team involved with putting on this event should be proud, and I can't wait to see what they have planned for 2017.  Good luck, although the bar has been set pretty high!

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Click to view more Commvault GO 2016 photos.

Published Friday, October 07, 2016 5:50 PM by David Marshall
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VMblog's #CommvaultGO 2016 Video Montage : @VMblog - (Author's Link) - October 10, 2016 4:52 PM
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