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Commvault Shakes Things Up at Commvault GO 2019 - Proving to be More Than Ready

commvault go 2019 

Last week, Commvault wrapped up its annual customer and partner event known as Commvault GO, an industry event dedicated to backup and recovery for the progressive enterprise.  This year's event took place at the brand-new Gaylord Rockies facility in Denver, CO.  And the theme this year?  "More than Ready" -- appropriate, as Commvault helps their customers solve their enterprise's hardest data protection and management problems.

This was the company's fourth annual Commvault GO conference, and it featured thought-provoking presentations from industry luminaries, breakout sessions with Commvault customers and employees, and exhibition displays from Commvault's partner ecosystem.  Attendees were exposed to new technologies -- including AI-powered self-driving backup, automation, scale-out infrastructure and dynamic data indexing technologies -- to better protect and activate their data.

This was also the first Commvault GO event for the company's new president and CEO, Sanjay Mirchandani, who came on board by way of Puppet back in February of this year.  And Mirchandani didn't disappoint.

Commvault may have been thought of as an old school enterprise data backup company, but after this year's GO and with Mirchandani taking over the helm, it was clear the company is reinventing itself.

In less than 9 months, Commvault's new CEO has already shaken things up and course corrected a company that has been around for 20+ years.  Despite the company being in the top right quadrant for backup and recovery from both Gartner and Forrester, they are looking to breathe new life into their product line.

While at Commvault GO, the company introduced new thinking, product updates and enhancements; but perhaps the most interesting thing was the launch of two new offerings.  The first is a brand-new SaaS-based product built from the ground up using a startup mentality - that product is called Metallic.  The second is a product acquisition within the software-defined storage (SDS) market - and here we have Hedvig.  Both solutions were prominently featured during the keynote discussion and both were on display in a big way on the Commvault GO show floor.

There were several key messages from Commvault GO worth highlighting, some of which included:

  • Attendees can rein in the chaos of their current data environments and move closer to a state of IT Nirvana by becoming Data Ready.
  • Commvault innovations are helping their customers become Data Ready by making it easier for them to migrate, retain and recover data wherever it resides.
  • Commvault is helping its customers be Data Ready by providing them flexibility and freedom of choice.
  • Commvault will unify data and storage management, simplify data services, and allow businesses to take advantage of their data like never before.
There were also three notable products worth a deeper dive.
Activate

During this year's show, Commvault announced rich product and experience enhancements to Commvault Activate, the company's data insights and governance solution which took a key spotlight on stage at last year's conference.

Commvault Activate gives customers greater visibility into their data, identifies opportunities for storage efficiencies and manages risk.  Announced enhancements included the addition of file access controls for File Storage Optimization and new redaction functions with Sensitive Data Governance.

At GO 2018, Activate was launched as a total bundle and was sold on a user model with the full package.  Unfortunately, that made licensing difficult, and therefore, hindered a wider rollout.  But last week, Commvault changed things up and introduced a flexible licensing scheme.  

"We had a lot of early adoption last year with Activate," said Lance Shaw, Director of Solutions Marketing at Commvault.  "And we learned a lot of lessons about it too.  One of which was that use cases are fairly unique.  There's storage optimization, data governance for things like GDPR, and there's search and discovery.  And each of those have a slightly different audience."

That's a major reason why Commvault decided to split things up in terms of licensing and pricing in order to make it easier for customers to buy what they needed rather than only provide the entire pool of options. 

While the entire Commvault Activate suite continues to be available on a per-user basis, organizations can now flexibly purchase Commvault Activate's capabilities - File Storage Optimization, Sensitive Data Governance and eDiscovery - on either a per terabyte basis (for use with file and VM data) or a per user basis (for use with email or Microsoft Office 365 data).  Commvault Activate licenses can then be expanded as customer needs evolve.  This makes Activate easier to buy, and easier to sell.

Commvault also introduced Entitlement Management to the Activate File Storage Optimization offering, enabling customers to better control their critical or sensitive data and to apply changes necessary to lock-down file access.  The user experience for File Storage Optimization has been streamlined by consolidating the dashboards into the Commvault Command Center for easier management and reporting.  As a result, users can quickly access the various views when reviewing storage distribution and identify duplicated or orphan files for clients or client-groups.

Redaction is available when exporting files using Activate Sensitive Data Governance.  For those who respond to GDPR Right-to-Access and other similar requirements, the export function will optionally redact sensitive data entities found within the files or emails.

Metallic

commvault metallic 

Commvault launched a brand-new shiny object to GO attendees, a cloud-native data protection venture appropriately called Metallic.  This offering's claim to fame is that it provides enterprise scalability and it can be up and running in 15 minutes.

Created as a startup within an established company, the team working on Metallic was given a mandate to recreate a fit-for-purpose product and experience from the ground up, while leveraging Commvault's powerful core technology.  Metallic delivered a new portfolio of backup services that are run in the cloud while still giving customers the flexibility to choose their own storage.  This could be their own AWS or Azure storage or keeping a copy on an on-premises server for the fastest recovery option.

This software-as-a-service (SaaS) backup solution (or Backup-as-a-Service) was engineered for the parent company's most requested use cases: organizations with between 500-2,500 employees; mid-market customers; providing Office 365 and endpoint backup and recovery; enterprise scalable, quick to get started and simple to use.

For partners, Metallic is designed to drive business without complex sales cycles and attaches easily to what they sell today, including cloud storage and SaaS application licenses.

With Metallic, Commvault is attempting to secure backup and data recovery business from those companies who have been abandoning traditionally complex and difficult-to-use on-site backup products, opting instead for newer appliance and SaaS-based solutions promising a different user experience.

Metallic will offer an annual or monthly subscription-based pricing.  And it comes out of the gate in three distinct offerings: Core Backup & Recovery, Office 365 Backup & Recovery or Endpoint Backup & Recovery.

Core will focus on the essential of data backup covering VMware data protection, to file servers and Microsoft SQL databases.  Office 365 focuses on protecting an organization's work within the suite of tools (Exchange, OneDrive, and Sharepoint) to safeguard against accidental deletion and corruption.  And Endpoint focuses on protecting data on desktops and laptops with automated backups and flexible, granular restore.

Customers will be able to access a free 45-day trial of any of these three offerings which can be accessed on metallic.io, but in order to get a paid plan, that would have to be facilitated by a partner so that they can facilitate consultative conversations that allow them to bring value and expertise to those customers.

Hedvig

commvault hedvig 

Hedvig, a software-defined storage startup, is Commvault's first acquisition since Mirchandani was brought on board as Commvault's new president and CEO back in February of this year.  The price tag for the Hedvig acquisition came in at a price tag of $225 million, taking place only a month ago back in September.  

"This acquisition demonstrates how Commvault is leading the way towards the intersection of storage and data management," said Sanjay Mirchandani, Commvault CEO.  "We believe joining Hedvig's innovative software-defined storage capabilities with Commvault's industry-leading data protection reduces fragmentation and leapfrogs other solutions in the market."

During his opening keynote, Mirchandani introduced audience members to the concept of a 'unified data brain' and suggested the concept ties directly into the company's vision for decoupling data from applications and infrastructure in an increasingly multi-cloud landscape.  In this analogy, he outlined the synergies between Commvault and the Hedvig technologies represented the overlap between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Mirchandani called the data brain 'the plane upon which data and storage run in a unified way, operating together.'  The brain encapsulates these two sets of functionality.

He went on to say, "We believe that we have to go with solutions that are re-engineered differently, that things require new ways to be solved."

"It refreshes, in many ways, how you and I think about primary and secondary storage, in the more traditional sense," said Mirchandani.  "It needs a rethink!"

The left brain of storage management added by Hedvig provides multi-protocol capability, automated provisioning, storage API automation, elastic scale and location transparency.  And on the right side, data management contributes indexing, intelligent automation, a data policy engine, security & self-service, and ubiquitous control.

Commvault's roadmap offers a "better together" solution which combines converged storage and data management with unbelievable scale and a way to manage all that data that doesn't involve creating multiple siloes.

New features for Hedvig were also announced at GO.

"New capabilities converge many of the latest storage, container and cloud technologies, allowing enterprises to automate manual infrastructure management processes and simplify their multi cloud environments," said Avinash Lakshman, Chief Storage Strategist, Commvault.  "These capabilities enhance Commvault's value to enterprises today.  They also show how the integration of technologies into Commvault's solutions portfolio will deliver enterprises the industry standard solution in a multi cloud world."

The innovative software-defined storage capabilities introduced will enable enterprises to automate and simplify storage administration, reduce storage costs and accelerate time to value.  They include:

  • Container Storage Interface (CSI) support, which enables enterprises to use Commvault for the management of Kubernetes and other container orchestrators (COs).
  • Built-in data center availability, which helps enterprises improve data resiliency.
  • Support for erasure coding, which improves storage efficiency.
  • Comprehensive support for multi-tenant data centers, including the ability to manage tenant level access, control, and encryption settings, which will allow managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver storage solutions across hybrid cloud environments.
  • Multi-data center cluster management, alerting and reporting, empowering enterprises and MSPs to configure and administer all their data centers' software-defined storage infrastructure from a single location.

By adding technologies like Metallic and Hedvig into the mix, Commvault is taking a step to try and prevent any existing customers from leaving for newer startup competitor products, perhaps something like Clumio, Druva, Cohesity or Rubrik.  Commvault will also provide alternatives to prospective customers who are looking for something different, in the hope of bringing in net-new clients to the company as the "new and improved" Commvault brings the fight to the competition. 

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Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019 7:23 AM by David Marshall
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