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Commvault architecture overhaul reduces product count

By consolidating more than 20 offerings into four repackaged product sets, Commvault moves to simplify the purchasing process and eliminate its architecture's 'features sprawl.'

Commvault has deduplicated its product lineup, reducing it from about 20 separate products to four.

The vendor this week unveiled a significant change in the way it packages and prices its data protection and management products. By simplifying its product packaging, Commvault is responding to criticism over the years that its products are too complicated and costly. The goal is to fix what Commvault COO Al Bunte calls "features sprawl" around the Commvault architecture.

The four products are Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery, Commvault HyperScale Technology, Commvault Orchestrate and Commvault Activate.

The Commvault architecture alterations come three months after activist investor Elliott Management posted an open letter critical of Commvault management in April, calling for fundamental changes. In May, Bob Hammer said he would step down as Commvault CEO pending the hiring of a replacement. The search for a new CEO is ongoing. Elliott praised Commvault's technology but said the vendor was slow to adapt to market trends such as appliances and virtualization.

Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery is a comprehensive suite of backup and recovery offerings, including tools for disaster recovery, snapshot management and integrated archiving. As the name suggests, it's meant to be a complete package -- basically everything an enterprise needs to protect and restore its data, regardless of infrastructure or environment.

Headshot of Commvault's Al BunteAl Bunte

The other three products are positioned as add-ons or expansions to the core "Complete" package. Commvault HyperScale Technology is built around its scale-out storage platform launched in 2017. It is available on a branded Commvault appliance or as software that runs on partners' hardware.

Commvault Orchestrate lets customers use data in secondary storage for disaster recovery testing and other automated tests, and Commvault Activate provides insight and data discovery for compliance and business analysis purposes.

Commvault architecture aims for simplification

None of the products or services are new. The repackaging coincides with the company's announcement of a series of initiatives aimed at helping its partners. By consolidating features into fewer packages, Commvault is trying to give partners an easier time quoting prices to customers, and, by extension, making sales. It is part of what Commvault calls its new "partner-led strategy."

We find that the priority among IT organizations today is simplification.
Phil Goodwinresearch director, IDC

On a webinar discussing the changes, Commvault COO Bunte talked about what IT customers, faced with the threat of cybersecurity attacks and ransomware, are looking for in their backup and recovery products. "They want to do it holistically. They want to do it through simply powerful solutions. They want a consolidated offering," he said.

Bunte pointed out that the Commvault architecture had a bit of a "features sprawl," and consolidating the company's offerings into four packages is an effort to clean that up.

Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC, backed up Bunte's claim.

"We find that the priority among IT organizations today is simplification," Goodwin said. "[It] is a much higher priority than cost reduction. Cost is always important, but when we ask that question in surveys, the cost issue is fourth or fifth down the list.

"How do I work with the people I have without having to go through extensive retraining? How can I consolidate and reduce the amount of time that I need to spend doing specific tasks?"

This isn't Commvault's first attempt to simplify its product portfolio and lower costs. In 2014 it broke its platform -- then known as Simpana -- into four point products. Those bundles were Simpana for VM Backup, Recovery and Cloud Management; Simpana for Endpoint Data Protection; Simpana for Email Archive; and IntelliSnap Recovery.

Commvault replaced Simpana in 2015 with the Commvault Data Platform.

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