Storage VARs: CommVault IPO Gives New Ammunition For Growth

The Oceanport, N.J.-based developer of Galaxy backup and recovery software and related technologies, priced its 11.1 million shares at $14.50.

In aftermarket trading, shares were up 17 percent to nearly $17 on Friday near the market's close.

CommVault is one of a number of smaller storage management software players whose growth is putting pressure on larger vendors such as EMC and Symantec, consulting firm IDC said earlier this month in its quarterly storage software report.

Glenn Dekhayser, vice president of technology at Voyant Strategies, a solution provider in Hazlet, N.J., which has been working with CommVault's software since 2001, said it was both coincidental and poetic that CommVault and WAN technology developer Riverbed Technology, San Francisco, had IPOs in the same week.

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"Both are leaders in their space," Dekhayser said. "I put the two together in my solutions. We started with Riverbed about six months ago, and about half of my CommVault customers now deploy Riverbed technology. I'm going back to all my CommVault customers now with Riverbed."

Dekhayser said CommVault's products are the only storage software his company sells because the vendor treats both its partners and its customers right. "CommVault offers technology that is disruptive to both Legato and Symantec," he said. "They thought about it from the point of view of someone looking to manage data, not backup to tape."

The fact that CommVault is now a public company will help the vendor get its name out to more potential customers, Dekhayser said. "It's good for their marketing," he said.

Keith Norbie, director of the storage division of Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider that recently formed a new storage division based in big part on storage services using CommVault software, said CommVault's storage software offerings have actually been forcing Symantec's Veritas and EMC's Legato applications to catch up, which has in turn made those two rivals stronger.

The battle between these vendors is heating up, especially as customers look beyond simple backup and recovery to advanced capabilities like storage resource management, data classification, and archiving, Norbie said. "Symantec has the best e-mail archiving on the planet," he said. "It has great electronic data archiving, But you get more system management capabilities with CommVault."

One solution provider who preferred anonymity said the battle between CommVault and Symantec's NetBackup software is really one of focus.

"Anyone with a Windows environment will find it hard to beat CommVault because of all the things they do with the Windows platform," the solution provider said. "NetBackup is mainly in the Unix space. It's extremely feature-rich, which is good and bad. It's bad because of the extra complexity. It's good if you need niche capabilities. But CommVault is much better when it comes to ease-of-use."