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CommVault Simpana gets file sync capabilities with Edge upgrade

The latest CommVault Simpana upgrades allow users to sync files across mobile devices and PCs. We spoke with CommVault's Greg White to learn more.

CommVault today announced enhancements to CommVault Edge, a module of the company's Simpana backup software designed to back up laptops and desktops.

CommVault said the new capabilities allow users to share, search and restore files across their own mobile, desktop and laptop devices without requiring IT assistance or third-party services. The company said this allows organizations to maintain better control over data while giving employees the ability to securely share files among their devices.

We spoke with Greg White, senior manager of product marketing for CommVault, to learn more about the release and other areas of backup convergence.

Why is CommVault pursuing file synchronization? Are you seeing a lot of demand from customers?

Greg White: [CommVault] considers it to be a natural extension to the holistic approach we take to managing data, being able to pull different data sources into a single pool of protection, management and access. The file share/file sync stuff is something we are hearing from customers about. They're concerned about where data is going outside of their organization, and they're trying to figure out how they can get their hands around that.

We hear from other backup vendors that they don't hear about the need for functionality such as file synchronization or file sharing from the backup administrators they speak with. Is it that you are talking to different people in the companies you sell to?

White: You're right -- it's less from the backup side of the house unless someone else tasks them with solving a specific problem. Typically, the request for this kind of functionality is coming from a C-level manager trying to figure out a way to holistically address this stuff.

They're thinking broadly across the organization to address risk and enhance workforce productivity. Also, the line-of-business people like a chief marketing officer that might be looking for ways to allow their teams to access data, get more value out of it, and be more responsive and agile.

We also hear from groups within a company that have specific needs. Take the legal team for example, they don't really care what the backup is, they just want to be able to produce data in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible when they need to.

Are there specific industries looking for file-sync functionality?

White: We've seen it on the government side; we've got a few customers there. We've seen it in manufacturing, education and health care. That's pretty broad, but that's where we are seeing interest.

How does Simpana's file-sync functionality differ from just using a typical file-sharing application or service?

White: There are a couple different pieces. It's not just sticking a file somewhere that someone can access it. You are going to have a backup copy. You'll have the ability to search it, do legal hold and e-discovery across it. It's protected and discoverable. You are also bringing it into a controlled, single solution rather than having to manage a whole separate product and the inefficiency of having to manage a separate silo of data.

How does Simpana ensure file-sync data is secure?

White: There are a couple different capabilities that CommVault has incorporated into Simpana software in order to help ensure the security of data when it comes to backup and file sync. CommVault Edge technology enables both control and data transfer over HTTPS for protection without requiring a VPN. Furthermore, built-in SSL certificates and full data encryption, which is part of the Simpana single platform, deliver some of the highest levels of security, including FIPS 140.2 certification.

Aside from file sync, do you see any additional areas where backup may converge with other applications/tasks going forward?

White: We see a few different areas of convergence with backup, both that we have incorporated in our most recent release, and that we see on the horizon as additional opportunities to drive efficiency. Besides the file-sync/file-share pieces, we see the convergence of snapshots and backup for critical applications, large data sets and expanding amounts of unstructured data like files. We are seeing more processes converge, like with what we started in Simpana 9 with OnePass technology that combines backup, archive and reporting processes into a single scan of file and email data (as opposed to scanning, running backup, scanning, running archive and scanning a third time for reporting). This is also illustrative of the convergence of backup and archive.

Also, we are seeing the ability to add value by driving productivity and reducing resource impact by incorporating indexing and search more tightly with backup so things like HTML previews of documents can be leveraged to view files before consuming resources to download or restore them. In some cases, data can be shown instead of being downloaded, reducing the amount of restore activity because the exact file or version was identified before any restore was executed.

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