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CommVault, NetApp partner on integrated backup appliance

CommVault Backup Appliance is sold on NetApp E-Series hardware; backup software vendor looks to take on Symantec, EMC appliances.

CommVault this week launched its first branded integrated backup appliance with NetApp as its hardware partner. It also added an endpoint data protection bundle separate from its complete Simpana application.

Neither launch was a surprise. CommVault CEO Bob Hammer said in late 2014 that the vendor would partner with NetApp on an integrated appliance. And endpoint protection was one of the four product bundles it disclosed last August. The launches underscore two industry trends: integrated appliances that remove the need for separate backup targets and media servers, and interest in protecting data outside of the data center.

The CommVault Backup Appliance consists of Simpana software sold on NetApp E-Series 2712 storage systems, and is sold through Arrow and Avnet in North America. Customers can buy 18 TB or 36 TB base appliances, and can add eight expansion shelves to scale to 288 TB. The 18 TB appliance costs $82,189.

The CommVault Backup Appliance is competitive with Symantec NetBackup 5330 and 5230 appliances as well as EMC Avamar appliances. It can also replace disk backup targets sold independently of backup software, such as EMC's Data Domain.

Symantec began selling its NetBackup software on appliances in 2010, and has moved up to second in backup appliance market share behind EMC, according to IDC. CommVault is now trying to cash in on the appliance model, which IDC estimates is a $3 billion annual market.

"We've had a lot of feedback from customers and we've lost a lot of deals because we did not have an appliance," said Greg Bennett, CommVault director of product management.

Bennett said he expects the appliances to be used mainly in remote/branch offices, medium-sized data centers and large enterprises that deploy appliances in a primary data center and second site.

CommVault already sells its software bundled on Fujitsu appliances in Europe and StorServer appliances in North America, but this is its first appliance with the CommVault brand.

This is NetApp's second OEM deal with CommVault. NetApp rebrands Simpana IntelliSnap snapshot software as SnapProtect for its FAS storage arrays.

"Appliances have been a long time coming for CommVault," said analyst Dave Russell, Gartner vice president of storage technologies and strategies. "It should help them against Symantec and EMC, which leads the way on appliances. CommVault can still lead with the software-only approach, but can sell the pre-packaged appliance to customers who want it. "

Russell said pre-packaged backup appliances are part of the overall IT trend toward converged systems. He added that at a recent Gartner conference, about one-third of attendees said they were interested in deploying backup appliances pre-bundled with software.

CommVault's Endpoint Protection for laptops, desktops and mobile devices breaks out features from the Simpana application into a separate product that costs less and is easier to install.

Rama Kolappan, head of CommVault's mobile business unit, said CommVault added authentication and authorization features such as single sign-on, role-based access and enhanced file sharing for the bundle.

The endpoint bundle includes the ability to conduct enterprise-wide search, legal discovery, the ability to search for and remotely wipe lost devices, and encryption of data in transit and data at rest. CommVault enables self-service capabilities that allow end users to restore files or remotely wipe devices.

Other features include source-side data deduplication and bandwidth throttling for backing up data, and the ability to manage backups through a Web portal, mobile app or Windows Explorer.

While smaller vendors such as Druva and Code42 developed backup applications specifically for mobile devices, traditional enterprise backup vendors have mostly neglected data protection outside of servers. Veeam Software and Arcserve recently added free endpoint protection products that were limited in scale.

Gartner's Russell said one reason the large backup vendors have not moved into endpoint backup is because the IT teams that back up endpoint devices are not the same as the ones who protect enterprise servers.

"General backup vendors have had challenges trying to address this space," he said. "Part of the reason is, who's the buyer? If the same team that's going to back up Oracle databases will back up laptops, then it would make sense for the backup vendors. But if the client delivery team that gives you the laptop also does backups … they probably never heard of EMC."

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Integrated backup appliance drawbacks

Integrated appliances an alternative to traditional disk libraries

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The idea behind selling pre-packaged back-up appliances separately from the Simpana application that costs less is superb, and will definitely factor into my back-up decision.
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The question I have is, is this an exclusive agreement for either CommVault or NetApp? Or are they both free to partner with others as well? 
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