CommVault Boosts Performance, Adds Mobile Capabilities

The latest version of CommValut's Simpana data protection software includes increased overall backup and archive performance and improved ability to manage backups for mobile devices.

Simpana 9 addresses changes in the type and location of business data, said Jeff Echols, senior director of marketing and business development for the Oceanport, N.J.-based storage software vendor.

"We're addressing a strategic shift in data management," Echols said. "We want to help customers accelerate virtualization, meet their SLAs [service level agreements], work better with mobile workers, and get more business value from their data.

Simpana 9, which CommVault introduced in late 2010, brought integrated dedupe as well as snapshot capabilities over both physical and virtual storage devices.

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The enhancement takes this one step further by integrating backup, archiving and reporting into a single function with its new OnePass technology.

Customer data is put into a single repository called Simpana ContentStore, from which backups and archiving can be done, Echols said. That ContentStore is also the source of all reporting on the data.

Because the data in the Simpana ContentStore is available for multiple uses, managing the data can be sped up by 50 percent while the cost of retaining that data decreases significantly, he said. This is especially important as the storage industry looks at better ways to manage big data, he said.

"The ContentStore is a virtual repository," he said. "The media under it is completely independent from the data. It doesn't matter whether it's stored on disk, tape or even optical drives. It can be used to create an archive copy. For example, if 20 percent of the data collection is not used for 90 days, that part can be moved to tape and deleted off the disk and/or be replaced with 'stubs.' And once it's in the repository, it can be used to make other copies for disaster recovery purposes."

The new OnePass function in Simpana 9 will change the way customers do backup and archiving, said Mark Melvin, CTO of ePlus Technology, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and CommVault partner.

"OnePass looks at data as an object instead of as a file," Melvin said. "It creates the ability to do a full backup every time the incremental changes are backed up without the need for a full backup of the data. Customers can then restore specific files or an entire object. So they get the same performance as an incremental backup while ensuring the backup data can be restored."

Customers are just now starting to understand the idea of object backups, Melvin said. "It's early," he said. "But the customers we have already talked with about this say that they are interested."

Big data is also something customers are talking about on a regular basis, Melvin said.

"Most of our customers are enterprises," he said. "Maybe we don't see big data so often in the midrange. But for some midrange customers with large data warehouses, anything to better manage big data can be attractive."

The enhanced version of Simpana 9 also includes improved integration with third-party storage hardware, including Dell Compellent, Hitachi Data Systems VSP, Hewlett-Packard 3Par, IBM SVC, and EMC VNX and VMax, Echols said. Integration with storage hardware from Nimble Storage and XIO are on the way, he said.

Another major improvement to Simpana 9 is the addition of source deduplication and encryption to mobile users as a way to both increase the performance of backup of mobile devices while improving the security of data stored on those devices, Echols said.

NEXT: New Mobile Data Protection Capabilities

Simpana 9 also has a new Web interface that lets users recover specific files without the need for administrator help. It is now integrated with iOS and Android devices. "It lets mobile users call up backups and do restores as needed from wherever they are," Echols said.

For companies concerned about regulatory issues associated with data on mobile devices, Simpana 9 now allows legal departments to develop controls for eDiscovery and legal holds, he said.

The new mobile device capabilities could prove useful as part of a mobile device management offering for customers, Melvin said.

ePlus is just starting to explore the mobile device management market, he said. "This is becoming a big business for us," he said. "We have a team now looking at the right tools for customers."