CommVault Extends Data Protection With Open-Standards Approach, Will Retire Simpana Brand

CommVault Tuesday introduced a significant upgrade to its flagship data protection and archiving software while dropping its well-known Simpana brand name as part of a move to expand capabilities across on-premise and cloud infrastructures.

The new CommVault Data Platform, formerly known as Simpana, features open-standards-based data protection capabilities and the ability to work with native format data, said Jonathan Howard, senior product manager for the Tinton Falls, N.J.-based company's data protection and recovery business.

"The new platform is all about openness," Howard told CRN. "We've moved beyond simple backup and recovery. We have made a generational shift that allows customers to read from and write to more platforms and to do more tasks than ever."

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The introduction of the new CommVault Data Platform was a good time to retire the company's Simpana brand name, Howard said.

"Simpana has been successful for us," he said. "But with this new platform, and all the innovations and what they are opening to customers, we want to focus our brand on CommVault. We want people to know CommVault and the software are one and the same."

Focusing on the CommVault brand instead of Simpana is a good move, a couple of the company's channel partners said.

CommVault is on a path of evolution away from traditional license-based, on-premise sales to an online, as-a-service model, said Roger Hamshaw, vice president of marketing at OnX Managed Services, a Naperville, Ill.-based managed services partner of CommVault.

"The move doesn't surprise me," Hamshaw told CRN. "We put all our data protection chips on CommVault. I want to see them transform."

Jay Waggoner, vice president of sales at VeriStor Systems, an Atlanta-based solution provider and CommVault reseller and managed services partner, told CRN that having both the CommVault and Simpana brands was confusing.

"CommVault was both a brand and a product," he said. "Having a sub-brand was confusing. Customers rarely said, 'We use Simpana.' They say, 'We run CommVault.' "

The CommVault Data Platform's key change was the addition of an open-standards-based approach to data protection, CommVault's Howard said.

"This lets it run anywhere, including on-premises, in virtualized environments, and on hybrid or public clouds," he said. "Our customers are in various stages of moving to the cloud. This provides flexibility and their approach and how they access data."

The new open-standards approach is a huge deal, OnX Managed Services' Hamshaw said.

"We're seeing this more and more among software providers," he said. "By taking an open approach to the data, customers get much more flexibility. This is important. You need to choose the right platform for the workload. You may want one workload to run on-premises, another to run off-site, and another to run in the cloud."

Also key is the adoption of a native data format, Howard said. "The typical format of data in data protection applications is proprietary to the hardware or software vendor," he said. "We now let the data be presented in its native format to allow customers to do more with that data than just data protection and recovery."

The new open-standards approach and the end of data lockdown are both significant advances, VeriStor Systems' Waggoner said.

"This enables a lot in terms of immediate recovery," he said. "This will allow for new and better treatment of the data."

New capabilities allowed by the native data format include better intelligent data warehouse and business intelligence applications, improved develop and test environments, and the ability for third-party partners and integrators to read and write data without the need for software agents, Howard said.

Also new to the CommVault Data Platform is the extension of the company's IntelliSnap snapshot orchestration to all-flash array vendor Pure Storage, hyper-converged infrastructure developer Nutanix, and NEC. IntelliSnap, which previously worked with NetApp arrays, also now works with EMC and Hitachi Data Systems arrays, Howard said.

New virtualization support now includes Nutanix Acropolis and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, he said.

The platform can also now perform block-level incremental backups to eliminate backup windows and provide highly available recovery point objectives. It also now does searches for data across live data and archived data, whether it's on-premise or in the cloud, Howard said.

Waggoner said the improved search capabilities will be critical to certain customers. "It's not necessarily for all enterprises," he said. "But where it's valuable, it's invaluable. This includes for companies subject to e-discovery and legal holds."

CommVault Simpana has always had good performance, but the new instant recovery capabilities of the CommVault Data Platform are impressive, Hamshaw said. "Key to doing this successfully is testing," he said. "CommVault is better at this than any other platforms we have used in the past."

The CommVault Data Platform is slated to be released into general availability in December. However, the Simpana name will continue to exist in older versions of the software going forward, Howard said.