CommVault Leaps Toward Simpler Storage Management

The second generation of CommVault's QiNetix data management suite has more than 100 updates, which fall into three categories, Chris Van Wagoner, director of product marketing for the Oceanport, N.J.-based vendor, said Monday.

The first group of updates involves faster backup and recovery, with new functions aimed at increasing the performance and cutting the cost of using disk-based backups across heterogeneous storage environments, Van Wagoner said. The main difference is a single, new graphical user interface called Recovery Director, which lets users create array-driven data snapshots and retain, copy, clone, protect and back them up using disk-based technology, providing better performance and flexibility in restoring to previous versions of files compared with using tape, he said.

Another group of updates brings smarter use of tiered storage to sharpen the efficiency of data life-cycle management, according to Van Wagoner. The software now includes Cascading Copy, a function that allows the setting of policies to "cascade" data from one copy to another, which takes advantage of lower-cost storage for older data and eases migration from obsolete storage hardware, he said.

The third group of updates improves reliability and automation of data management by verifying that the entire storage network is connected to the right storage devices and that those devices are available, Van Wagoner said. This update category includes Data Check, a service that verifies the integrity of the entire storage network before a backup begins. Data Check ensures that the necessary storage devices and software modules are available and that a sufficiently sized data volume can be accessed before data is backed up or migrated.

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"Hierarchical storage management is often done at night, and usually the only way to know if there is a problem is to check it the next day," Van Wagoner said.

As more people adopt disk-based backups, they need more intelligent tools to handle the tasks, said Keith Norbie, manager of the Emerging Technologies Group at Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based storage solution provider. Though many people have NAS and SANs, few take advantage of data snapshots and clones because of difficulties in integrating such functions with tape, he noted.

"CommVault has done the integration in its management interface," Norbie said. "Snapshot and clone backups can give customers a better business value. But how to get them to tape has always bothered people."

CommVault's Recovery Director will be useful to many customers because it can create a bootable CD that allows direct mounting of tape or disks for doing full bare-metal restores, according to Norbie. "Other vendors have similar capabilities that can be scripted or manually mount the tape or disk, or like Windows, that can't see across multiple operating systems," he said. "CommVault's Recovery Director manages the snapshots and clones automatically, takes them, mounts them, migrates them and does ILM [information life-cycle management]."

About 60 percent of CommVault's sales last quarter came from indirect channels, mainly through solution providers but some through Dell, Van Wagoner said. The company is continuing to recruit some new solution providers, but it's focusing more on helping existing partners rather than adding a bunch of new ones, he added.