CommVault CEO: Cloud Computing Only Part Of Storage Picture


Moving storage to the cloud is really only adding another tier of storage, but it is one for which customers and channel partners need to prepare, said N. Robert Hammer, chairman, president, and CEO of CommVault.

Hammer, who talked to Channelweb.com after the company reported its third quarter 2010 financials, said cloud-based storage is not a major focus for the industry.

"But it's a necessary focus," Hammer said. "Four or five years ago, we said people will deploy lots of low-cost storage as a way to cut costs. If I were a CIO, I would want to give my customers access to that storage pool, but not decrease the security of my data. We came to the conclusion that we need a single platform to do it."

That platform needs to cover all customer requirements, Hammer said. And, in the case of storage, it might be a combination of traditional and cloud-based storage, all managed in a unified fashion via a single application like CommVault's Simpana data protection software, he said.

"We think of the cloud as just another tier of storage. Customers who aren't even on the cloud are buying Simpana, and they have the platform they need for the future," he said.

CommVault took its first steps towards providing a unified data protection platform for local and cloud-based storage earlier this week with the addition of the representational state transfer (REST) protocol to Simpana 8.

The REST protocol allows customers to view storage on any storage cloud which has standardized on it, including the Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, and Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network (SDN) offerings. CommVault said compatibility with the EMC Atmos and Iron Mountain storage clouds is expected soon.

CommVault on Wednesday reported revenue for its third fiscal quarter of 2010 of $70.7 million, up 18 percent over the third fiscal quarter of 2009. The company also reported third quarter income of $9.1 million, up 48 percent compared to the same period last year.

Hammer said that 89 percent of sales went through indirect channels during the third fiscal quarter of 2010, compared to 76 percent for the same period a year ago. Arrow is the company's primary distributor in the U.S. commercial market.

Dell accounted for about 27 percent of the company's business, a figure which represents a large part of CommVault's business but one that Hammer said is not a cause for concern.

A lot of CommVault's sales are driven by the vendor's sales teams and then moved through the channel, including sales through Dell, which means that the vendor is not in danger if the relationship with any single partner including Dell were to change, Hammer said.

"But don't misunderstand me," he said. "There's a tight relationship with Dell. I think we are comfortable that, if something were to happen there, we can manage."