Commvault held their fourth annual Commvault GO conference in Denver, Colorado from October 14th – 16th. Evaluator Group, along with many customers, partners, and industry influencers attended the conference to hear the latest from Commvault. GO provided the opportunity to hear testimonials about data protection and use cases of Commvault’s solutions from a multitude of various customers and partners all rallied behind a theme of being “More than Ready.” Commvault GO also featured some more elaborate displays such as “Data Avengers”, stunt doubles from the popular superhero movies, and “Data Therapy Dogs”, adoptable puppies showcased on the show floor, all to reinforce the messaging that Commvault is there to protect IT organizations from whatever harm may threaten their data. Through it all however, what Commvault really brought forward at the event was three big ideas: a new CEO, a new product offering, and a new acquisition.
Commvault GO 2019 was Commvault’s chance to introduce its newly appointed CEO Sanjay Mirchandani. Mirchandani, the former CEO of Puppet, replaced Bob Hammer as CEO earlier in 2019, making this his first event in the new role and an opportune time to share his vision for the company.
Mirchandani spoke of his time as a CIO of another company, stating that the job often isn’t the “rainbows and unicorns” that it may appear to be from the outside, pointing to the many challenges that IT organizations face with data protection. He went on to preach that organizations must be “data ready”, which he defined as the ability to not only protect, but also manage, control, and use the data in question. This signifies Mirchandani’s desire to move Commvault beyond being a data protection solution and grasping the opportunity to be a data management solution as well.
Mirchandani also expressed that organizations now have a “cloud responsibility” in which he stressed that for most organizations the cloud is no longer simply an option, but a necessity, and along with this comes the need for protection. He emphasized the importance of a “multi-cloud solution” rather than a solution of “multiple clouds” and warned against single point solutions that lead to a potential single point of failure. Instead Mirchandani emphasized a need for unified data and storage management. He painted his vision as two halves of a single brain, a right-side brain for data management consisting of items such as indexing, intelligent automation, and data policy engines, and a left side brain depicting storage management including features such as multi-protocol support, automated provisioning, elastic scalability, and location transparency.
Another point of emphasis for Mirchandani was simplicity. It was clear that Mirchandani wants to do away with any previous conceptions that Commvault products are complicated or difficult to use. This was shown throughout product updates across their entire portfolio. Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery was touted as being “cloud ready”, and consistently simplified through quarterly updates. Hyperscale, Commvault’s scale-out data protection solution, simplified with a new UX and workflows, along with a new nearly zero touch install. Commvault Orchestrate integrated AI and ML to simplify data replication, cloud portability, and as Mirchandani stressed, eliminating reliance on point solutions. Commvault Activate was simplified too, as it was stated that it was rebuilt from the ground up, and offered with a new pricing model to simplify the consumption of the data management and insight tool.
Possibly the biggest announcement at Commvault GO 2019 was the unveiling of its new product offering: Metallic, a new SaaS based backup and recovery solution. Branded as “Metallic: A Commvault Venture” it is clear that Metallic is neither intended as a direct competitor nor as a replacement to Commvault’s existing products. Instead, Metallic forges a new path towards SaaS based data protection as a Commvault sub-brand. This idea of a sub-brand was explained as simply as “it’s different, because SaaS is different.”
SaaS is indeed different, and the launch of this product opens a new path to SaaS-inclined customers for Commvault. The product was built from Commvault’s history and knowledge of backup and recovery; however, it is not simply Commvault’s existing solution offered as SaaS. Commvault stressed that the product was developed through a process of talking with customers to determine what was desired in a SaaS offering. Commvault executives stated that their intent was to “bring the best of SaaS to the best of backup.”
Metallic intends to be hyper-focused on simplicity, and as the first major new product launch under Sanjay Mirchandani it echoes his focus on reducing complexity. It features a wizard-based setup that Commvault claims can be done in 15 minutes or less, as well as a simplified interface.
Metallic is capable of backing up to the cloud as well as local targets and features built in deduplication and anomaly detection functionality. Metallic is being offered in three different configurations. Metallic Core Backup and Recovery offers support for VMs, file servers, and SQL. For Microsoft office products such as Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint Commvault is offering Metallic Office 365 Backup and Recovery. The third Metallic offering, Metallic Endpoint Backup and Recovery, offers backup and recovery for laptops and desktops.
Along with introducing a new CEO and a new SaaS product offering, Commvault utilized its conference to introduce its first big acquisition. Hedvig, the software defined storage company was officially acquired by Commvault only recently before the conference, making it an opportune time to present an initial vision for the brand. Similar to Metallic, Hedvig has been branded as “A Commvault Venture” signifying Hedvig’s ability to be an independent solution under the Commvault name, and not a replacement or direct competitor to Comvault’s existing Hyperscale solutions.
The addition of Hedvig brings a software defined, distributed storage solution with a robust set of functionalities to the Commvault portfolio. Hedvig offers unification of block, file, and S3 object storage across a distributed platform that can utilize commodity hardware. It also brings along new features announced at Commvault GO such as container support through CSI, erasure coding, multi-tenancy support, end-to-end encryption, and multi-data center cluster management.
As such a new acquisition, Hedvig’s role in the Commvault ecosystem has not fully matured, however the road map laid out set for three primary workstreams moving into the future: Hedvig as a distributed storage platform, Commvault as a data management platform, and ultimately achieving a unified storage and data management platform. Commvault and Hedvig made it clear that work will be done to further integrate Hedvig into the Commvault family by focusing on unifying the customer experience, integrating storage and management, and unifying APIs.
This early look into “Hedvig: A Commvault Venture” shows that the product is still continuing on as its software defined, distributed storage platform today, but will be further integrated into Commvault’s vision of data management going into the future.
Evaluator group sees multi-cloud data management as a key area of growth in the near future, and Commvault is positioning itself as a competitor in the market. This is clear from Sanjay Mirchandani’s messaging about being data ready and the importance of a unified data and storage management solution.
The addition of Hedvig adds a new distributed storage option to Commvault’s products, however the true value of this acquisition will most likely be in the potential to integrate Hedvig’s existing technology into Commvault’s plans for multi-cloud data management. The acquisition is likely a win-win scenario for both sides, providing Hedvig security under the Commvault brand, and providing Commvault with a robust set of software to be used in furthering its multi-cloud data management goals.
The addition of Metallic is also a smart move by Commvault. A SaaS solution opens up a new market for Commvault and nicely complements its existing portfolio. Metallic’s focus on a simple, easy to use SaaS product while still offering robust backup and restore functionality will make it an attractive option for organizations that may have otherwise prioritized a SaaS solution over Commvault’s existing products.
Commvault GO was light on updates about its existing products, and instead focused on the new. The conference was ultimately an opportunity to showcase Sanjay Mirchandani and his vision to take Commvault forward including the first new product and new acquisition during his time as CEO.
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