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CommVault adds global dedupe, simplified management to Simpana 10

Dave Raffo

CommVault today launched the latest version of its backup and data management application, Simpana 10, with a graphical workflow automation process, global data deduplication and self-service restores from mobile

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devices.

It is CommVault's first major upgrade since Simpana 9 rolled out in October 2010. Simpana 10 includes a host of changes to the way it handles snapshots, archived data and cloud backup management.

Other new features and improvements include:

  • Instant restores of backups into virtual machines
  • Tighter integration with Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere and vCloud Director
  • Replication of deduplicated copies to any storage target
  • New Outlook plug-in offering self-service access to archived email
  • More cloud-based analytics
  • A HealthCare Viewer for rapid search and retrieval of data in picture archiving and communications system, or PACS, images

"We're focusing on how to manage this growing amount of data and get more value out of it, whether they're looking to analyze, recover, search, do e-discovery or retain this stuff for compliance or future use," said Greg White, CommVault's senior manager of product marketing."

Graphical tool for common tasks

The new workflow tools let administrators automate repetitive tasks and set job flows across sites in a drag-and-drop graphical interface. Administrators can automate such jobs as client registration, verify backups and set disaster recovery processes by dragging and dropping icons. Other new management tools include Web-based reports and dashboards, including reports for data in mobile apps.

Analysts Rachel Dines at Forrester and Dave Russell at Gartner agreed that the automation feature is a major step for backup administrators because it simplifies tasks.

"I don't know of any other backup software apps that have anything similar," Dines said. "That could be a powerful tool for companies trying to automate the whole process from backup to replication."

Russell praised the workflow automation engine and added that CommVault "has gotten more sophisticated with the reporting. There's a lot of functionality in a clean interface."

Dedupe across nodes

CommVault, which dedupes at the source and target, added what it calls "parallel dedupe," a function that lets customers reduce data across nodes. Simpana 9 used 90 TB dedupe databases that were deduped independently. With Simpana 10, those databases can be clustered for global dedupe across nodes. Simpana 10 supports a two-node grid at launch, but White said more nodes will be supported eventually. The dedupe nodes have also been expanded to 120 TB for a 240 TB global dedupe grid.

Dines said the new dedupe feature enables Simpana 10 to replace deduplication appliances in the data center. "They have a new dedupe algorithm and approach that makes it much more scalable," she said. "They couldn't address the enterprise market that uses backup appliances before. Simpana's dedupe was more for branch offices."

Mobile device access

CommVault's Edge mobile app for smartphones and tablets provides self-service access to files from users' mobile devices. Simpana 10 didn't add features for protecting and restoring data in those devices, but Russell said jobs are more likely to be done by the client desktop IT group instead of the backup admins who use Simpana.

"There's a lot of talk about BYOD [bring your own device] and what that means to companies," Russell said. "Instead of trying to protect a smartphone or tablet, CommVault's doing it the other way around -- making it so you can use a smartphone or tablet to view the documents that are backed up. That makes sense because data center storage people are now the most likely to get the BYOD backup request."

Can CommVault continue to grow?

CommVault's market share lags that of backup software vendors Symantec, IBM and EMC, but it is growing much faster than its larger rivals. CommVault revenues have increased more than 20% for each quarter over the past year, while the overall market has grown in low single-digits. CommVault deserves consideration in any enterprise backup deals alongside the market leaders, Russell and Dines said.

"In the large enterprise space, it's a 'big four' now," Russell said. "You have Symantec NetBackup; IBM TSM; EMC with its portfolio of Avamar, Networker and Data Domain; and now CommVault. Usually it's some combination of those four getting considered by enterprise customers. And when you total it up, CommVault's outpacing the market."

"CommVault is now a legitimate rival to Symantec, IBM, EMC and HP," Dines added. "CommVault comes up a lot in conversations with the enterprise customers I speak with. And there is a lot of market-share stealing and trading now with some major vendors in states of flux. HP and Dell are trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up, Symantec has some uncertainty [around its CEO change], and CommVault is taking advantage."


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