NetApp, CommVault Strike OEM Deal

NetApp signed an OEM agreement this week with CommVault under which it will integrate that company's data snapshot technology.

Under the deal, NetApp will OEM the SnapProtect feature of CommVault's Simpana 9 data protection, and integrate it with its own Integrated Data Protection product portfolio, said Mark Welke, director of data protection solutions at NetApp.

NetApp will also eventually gain control of the SnapProtect brand name, said David West, senior vice president of marketing and business development at CommVault. "They liked the name, and we agreed to transfer it to them," West said.

SnapProtect is a separately licensable feature of CommVault's Simpana 9 data protection solution, West said.

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CommVault's SnapProtect includes the ability to take snapshot copies of a company's data, along with data replication and tape management technologies. It will be integrated with NetApp's Integrated Data Protection portfolio, which also includes NetApp's own snapshot, data replication, deduplication, and compression capabilities, Welke said. Together, they give NetApp a complete disk-to-disk-to-tape-to-cloud data protection solution, he said.

Together, they offer a complete solution to solve what West termed customers' "broken" backup processes. "Together, we offer a real compelling answer to the broken backup space with a very fast granular backup and fast recovery within minutes," he said.

The NetApp-CommVault fills in a big gap in NetApp's data protection solution, said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp partner.

That gap has been partially filled with a sales agreement between NetApp and Syncsort, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based developer of data protection software, Strasheim said.

The NetApp-Syncsort relationship resulted in the NetApp Syncsort Integrated Backup (NSB) which combines Syncsort backup management software with NetApp disk storage.

Strasheim said NetApp and Syncsort have had a good offering for the past 18 months or so. "I was surprised to see the CommVault relationship," he said. "But anything to give us a better solution for our customers is a good thing. And CommVault has a good business in the enterprise."

Strasheim said his company in the past worked with CommVault to compete against Symantec, but found channel conflict issues in CommVault's long-term relationship with Dell.

That should not be a problem with NetApp, Strasheim said. "Anytime there's a relationship which NetApp brings to its VARs, my feeling is the vendor partner will subscribe to NetApp's rules of engagement which are strong in terms of protecting its channel partners," he said.

CommVault's relationship with NetApp is at a much deeper level than its Dell relationship, West said.

"This new agreement takes it further by integrating closely with NetApp," he said. "We've been working on this for over a year. There is very tight integration between us."

NetApp's relationship with CommVault is also on a different level than its Syncsort relationship, Welke said. The Syncsort relationship resulted in more of a third-party channel offering, while the CommVault relationship is resulting in a tightly integrated data protection offering which is being sold as a NetApp product, he said.

Peter Eicher, senior product manager at Syncsort, called the NetApp-CommVault a positive deal for Syncsort.

"It helps that NetApp is increasingly getting involved in data protection," Eicher said. "It wasn't known for it in the past. To the extent it does so, it helps us as well."

Unlike the NetApp-CommVault relationship, which extends NetApp's data protection capabilities from disk through tape and the cloud, the NetApp-Syncsort NSB solution is about extending NetApp's functionality to third-party storage, Eicher said.

Next: Making It Easy For Channel Partners

"A core NetApp technology is snapshots," he said. "We let non-NetApp users move data to NetApp devices for data protection. About 50 percent of NSB sales go into accounts where NetApp hadn't been before."

The NetApp-CommVault relationship includes a sales model which makes it easy for NetApp solution providers to offer the new NetApp-CommVault offering, West said. "There's a check box for every time a channel partner sells a NetApp Filer," he said. "I think channel partners will like the efficiency of how it's sold."

The NetApp-CommVault relationship is expected to grow in the future, West said. "This is a $5 billion market," he said. "You have two companies that by themselves are doing this business right. Together, it's a force to compete better against EMC and Symantec."