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VMblog Expert Interview: An Exclusive Inside Look at Commvault GO 2019 with Miranda Foster


Commvault recently finished up hosting Commvault GO 2019 in Denver, Colorado - and this year's data readiness conference was bigger and better than ever before, filled with exciting data protection news, engaging keynotes and lots of fun along the way. To find out more, VMblog spoke with Commvault's Vice President of Worldwide Communications, Miranda Foster, to get more details on how the conference helped Commvault customers learn how they can be ready to protect, control, manage and use their data - no matter where it resides.

VMblog:  Can you start off by providing a recap of the recent Commvault GO event?  What was the theme of this year's show?  What were some of the highlights?

Miranda Foster:  The industry's premier data readiness conference, this year's Commvault GO brought together a 2,000-strong audience of data experts, customers, partners and influencers. The goal? Prepare attendees to tackle their greatest data challenges with enlightening and inspiring keynote presentations, as well as hundreds of educational labs, mini-theaters and both industry-specific and customer speaking sessions. 

Building on the success of our previous conferences, the theme of this year's Commvault GO was "More Than Ready." As ransomware attacks, privacy regulations and an increasing multi-cloud world bring new problems to the table, Commvault showed how we are leading customers, partners and the industry at large to be more than ready for this new era of IT. For instance, we announced the launch of Metallic, a Commvault venture established to bring next-generation software-as-a-service (SaaS) data protection to the market. We also introduced new product and experience enhancements to Commvault Activate, our data insights and governance solution, and new innovations to Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery, our core data protection solution.

Our keynote speakers expanded on the "More Than Ready" theme. Top movie stunt doubles, Bobby Holland Hanton and Chloe Bruce, discussed how they ready themselves to be "backup heroes" for the actors playing superheroes like Thor from The Avengers and Rey from Star Wars. In addition, filmmaker Jimmy Chin explained how his team spent over two years getting ready to capture Alex Honnold climbing the face of Yosemite's El Capitan cliff for his Oscar-winning film Free Solo.

Meanwhile, CEO Sanjay Mirchandani delivered his first-ever Commvault GO keynote, describing how companies can become Data Ready and rein in the chaos of their data environments. He explained how Commvault is empowering its customers to become Data Ready today with solutions that make it easy for them to migrate, retain and recover data wherever it resides. And he described how Commvault is innovating to help customers with new solutions that will unify data and storage management, simplify data services and allow businesses to take advantage of their data like never before.

In addition, this year's Commvault GO featured some of our "Customer Champions." Executives from Commvault customers such as Geico and the State of Colorado spoke about IT challenges they have faced, how Commvault readied them for these challenges and how they emerged from these challenges more than ready to take on new ones.

While Commvault GO had many serious elements, it was also full of fun. Since the conference was in Denver, attendees got their fill of fresh air and mountains and enjoyed the unique camping-and-climbing visual theme. An event favorite was the "puppy park" on the show floor, where attendees could cuddle with "data therapy dogs" from local shelters, who demonstrated that just as life is better with dogs, data is better with Commvault. GO's closing night party featured plenty of food and fun to celebrate another successful event!

VMblog:  Commvault always makes some of the biggest annual announcements at GO.  Can you give us the highlights of what you announced this year?

Foster:  We always have a lot of exciting announcements at Commvault GO and this year's slate was busier than ever. As mentioned above, the main announcement was the launch of Metallic, a new fast, flexible, powerful SaaS backup and recovery solution with enterprise scalability that can be up and running in 15 minutes. We also announced new capabilities for software-defined storage solutions coming from Hedvig, which we acquired in September.

In addition, we announced innovations for Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery designed to simplify recovery readiness for customers, including cloud-to-cloud data backup and migration, automated disaster recovery validation and intelligent elastic storage planning. Our data insights and governance solution Commvault Activate made the news-and the main stage as well. We added file access controls for File Storage Optimization, and new redaction functions with Sensitive Data Governance.

Commvault GO was an ideal platform to announce that Gartner recognized Commvault as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions for the eighth straight time. In this year's MQ, Gartner positioned Commvault furthest for completeness of vision in the Leaders quadrant and highest for ability to execute in the entire MQ.

Commvault knows that great work and recognition like this is only achieved with strong leadership. We announced new additions to our leadership team, with the appointment of Mercer Rowe as Vice President, Global Channels and Alliances, and Edison Peres as Strategic Go-to-Market Advisor. In these roles, they will help us build an even stronger, world-class sales and go-to-market team. We also launched a new initiative, a Global Enterprise Segment, aimed at driving greater impact with the largest global enterprises, and in tandem, named Anthony Faustini as Vice President of Global Accounts and David Boyle as Vice President of Sales, Americas.

We also demonstrated our readiness to build on our reputation as a good corporate citizen. The final Commvault GO announcement was that we are participating in the recently formed Business Avengers coalition, which unites global companies to deliver on the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

VMblog:  Talk about your partner ecosystem and how many sponsors were at the event this year.  And can you also talk about the key benefits as to why those exhibitors chose to sponsor Commvault GO?

Foster:  The 500 partners who attended this year's conference represented a significant increase from last year's 284, and such numbers demonstrate the strength and enthusiasm behind our partner ecosystem. Many of our technology alliance, channel and service partners attended, spoke and exhibited.

Executives from Commvault's partners, including Microsoft, Cisco and HPE explained how attendees could use the latest backup and recovery innovations to improve data protection and availability, simplify data management across the enterprise, comply with new requirements, and become more agile in delivering services to their business. They also delved into the enhanced partner program that we announced in July, which is the simplest and most profitable in our history and helps partners simplify, streamline and scale their businesses.

We've seen the success of these initiatives through our partners' strong interest in supporting this year's Commvault GO. We had more than 30 sponsors for the event, who operated creative booths on the show floor, hosted exciting sessions and fielded hundreds of questions, letting attendees learn how they are working with Commvault to help enterprises ready themselves to protect, control, manage and use data wherever it may be.

VMblog:  What are some of the key trends that came out of the show that the industry should be aware of?

Foster:  One of the trends that was heavily discussed was how businesses today need backup and recovery solutions that are not just powerful, but also simple and flexible. Our launch of Metallic, as well as the innovations we introduced for Commvault Activate and Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery, demonstrated how we are executing on our commitment to deliver simpler, more flexible solutions.

Another trend discussed was companies' growing adoption of multi-cloud environments. Here again, we are meeting our customers' needs, with new innovations like Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery's cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery capability. This innovation enables customers to back up, recover and migrate data between AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure and other major cloud providers, all from the Commvault Command Center.

Finally, the growing need to converge data management and storage was a major topic of conservation. At Commvault GO, our CEO Sanjay Mirchandani introduced his "data brain," concept, saying that the synergies between Commvault data management and Hedvig storage management technologies is like the overlap between the left and right brain hemispheres - different yet complementary. By converging these technologies in a new data brain solution, Commvault will enable companies to unify data and storage management, further placing data at the heart of everything they do.

All these trends tie into the event's theme, "More Than Ready." Enterprises today are faced with chaos, complexity and peril as they try to address challenges that include an ever-increasing number of applications, new data privacy regulations and the move to hybrid and multi-cloud environments. However, under the leadership of our new CEO, a "New Commvault" is relentlessly innovating to provide its customers with the most powerful, simple and flexible data protection solutions available, so they can be more than ready to take on both these and future data challenges. 

In fact, while the theme going into the conference was "More Than Ready," many attendees began using the phrase "New Commvault" which was turned into a widely-circulated hashtag. The key takeaway from Commvault GO is that Commvault itself is transforming and well positioned to take on the competitive, changing market we face.


Commvault GO is the must attend annual data readiness event for business and IT leaders trying to solve the biggest and most pressing data challenges faced by enterprises today.  Commvault is only getting started, so keep an eye open for news about Commvault GO 2020 - it will be here sooner than you think!
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2019 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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