Commvault Go: CEO Hammer And COO Bunte Tout Leading-Edge Data Management Capabilities


The growing importance of data not only in terms of storing and protecting it but also in terms of how to generate value from it is leading to a profound change in how companies manage that data.

And that in turn has caused Commvault, best known for its data protection technology, to refocus how it approaches the management of data, said Robert "Bob" Hammer, chairman CEO, and president of the Tinton Falls, N.J.-based company.

Hammer, along with Commvault Chief Operating Officer Al Bunte (pictured), Wednesday highlighted the changes going on in the industry and in the company during their joint keynote address at the Commvault Go conference being held this week in Nashville, Tenn.

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Hammer compared Commvault to such recent industry giants as Amazon, Google, Uber, Netflix and Waze in terms of how it leverages technology innovations to deliver a predictable outcome.

"They applied sophisticated technology for A.I and machine learning to achieve new outcomes. … We are focused on using artificial intelligence and machine learning to achieve the desired outcomes," he said.

Hammer said that the use of such technologies gives Commvault a number of key differentiators, including the ability to extract data from any location and in any format to make it easy to move data between on-premises architectures, the cloud, and between multiple clouds.

Another differentiator is what he called "unparalleled" flexibility and performance when storing data in and moving it between on-premises architectures and hybrid clouds.

The benefits of Commvault's data platform are clear, Hammer said. "It enables us to know all the attributes of the data to intelligently move it," he said.

Bunte said the Commvault technology drives several specific outcomes based on customer requirements.

The first is the concept of a self-driving backup that comes with Commvault's new Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery suite, which Bunte said is all about simplicity and ease of deployment, and its ability to be part of a service offering.

A big part of Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery suite is the new Commvault Command Center dashboard that uses machine learning and AI for predictive capabilities, Bunte said.

It also adds workload orchestration to increase automation and provides a broad view of all the customer's data and the appropriate SLAs, or service level agreements, he said.

The "self-driving" capability also includes autonomous operations, including the ability to automatically make needed changes on the fly to optimize the environment, Bunte said.

He compared that to the way most customers are currently managing data. "Today, most of you are trying to do the tasks with static tools and worksheets. … But what you are trying to optimize is based on yesterday's data," he said.

The second concept related to driving desired outcomes with customer data is dynamic recovery, Bunte said. "You have to be able to quickly and simply recover data, even if it's a single file," he said.

It is important that customers have the ability to address a diverse range of recovery requirements including disaster recovery and test/dev, Bunte said. And every customer will be subject to an attack on its infrastructure that will require an intelligent recovery of the data, he said. "It takes a lot of automation to recover from an attack," he said.

Commvault addresses dynamic recovery needs with its high-performance HyperScale family of data protection appliances that can recover up to 25 TB per hour, or 500 TB per day, Bunte said.

The third concept related to driving desired outcomes with customer data is that of an intelligent anomaly manager that looks for issues such as random attacks or conditions that are not within a customer's SLA requirements, Bunte said.

This is important given that a typical installation, which may have over 450 virtual machines across 35 physical servers, may experience over 48,000 events in a day, many of which may require immediate attention, he said.

Commvault provides the automation to handle that, he said. "Even the 'cool' new [vendors] are getting you down to 213 events [they] think you should know about," he said. "We get you down to six."

Commvault addressed the ability to intelligently manage anomalies with the introduction Tuesday of two new members of its HyperScale data protection appliance that provide scale-out data protection integrated with the Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery suite, Hammer said.

The company introduced the HS3300, a new appliance featuring 174 TB to 262 TB of usable capacity and a target average selling price of $300,000 to $450,000. The HS3300 is targeted at managed service providers and large enterprises.

Also new is the Commvault Remote Office Appliance, a version featuring 5 TB to 15 TB of usable capacity with an average selling price of $15,000 to $30,000. It is targeted at smaller enterprises or remote offices.

The new appliances bracket the company's existing HS1300, which features usable capacity of 29 TB to 84 TB with an average price of between $50,000 and $75,000.

When it comes to working with data in the cloud at scale, automation and orchestration are the keys to efficient disaster recoveries, DevOps, smart technology like IoT, and so on, Bunte said.

"It's easy to move one [virtual machine] to the cloud, but not when you're dealing with thousands of VMs," he said.

With that, one can build dynamic clouds, Bunte said. "You want to only power things up when you need it," he said. "That's when you're paying for it."

Traditional scripts, on the other hand, do not work any more, Bunte said. "[The] lead to what I call the 'WTF moment,'" he said. "Don't worry. It stands for ‘Welcome To Farming.’"

Hammer said customers cannot manage data unless they know what it is, but that many customers have in their infrastructure pools of so-called dark data where its location, who created it, who accesses it, how many copies exist, and so on are not known.

For this reason, Commvault Tuesday introduced its 4D Index, which Hammer said collects, organizes and assesses data to provide a broad degree of understanding about that data to simplify such capabilities as identifying and selecting data for compliance.

"It's critical to have a broad, deep understanding of the data in order to manage it," he said.

Bunte also introduced Commvault Activate, a new capability that takes advantage of data information from the 4D Index to map and profile data sources in order to identify unnecessary data, assess data usage to make sure it is stored on the right media, identify critical or sensitive data to manage it properly, identify data ownership, and assess data not properly protected.

Bunte cited an example of an early user of Commvault Activate—an oil/gas company with 75,000 users and 9 petabytes of data across the world. Commvault Activate was able to index everything in place and add important information to the metadata.

With Commvault Activate, that customer discovered that up to 30 percent of its data was orphaned, stale or duplicated, Bunte said. That resulted in an estimated $20 million in annual savings from reduced storage, personnel and management costs, he said.

The new machine learning and artificial intelligence Commvault is introducing in its data management offerings is becoming a real game-changer for the channel, said Glenn Dekhayser, field chief technology officer at Red8, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime Commvault channel partner.

"It's going to reduce operational costs for enterprise and midsize customers," Dekhayser told CRN. "It's also going to reduce support costs for Commvault. Think of how many fewer tickets they're going to have to deal with. You don't have to deal with all these backup jobs that are failing because things are out of order and you need to re-prioritize."

For partners, the advantage is they can bring to customers something that no one else provides, Dekhayser said. "This doesn't exist in any other platform that can work across all these disparate environments," he said.

Kevin Cronin, vice president of sales at Kelyn Technologies, a Parker, Colo.-based solution provider, told CRN that the new data discovery capabilities Commvault is introducing are important for customers to understand.

"All the things that Commvault can now talk about," Cronin said. "Where is my data? How many copies do I have? How much information can I get back? Finding out about abandoned files. People leave companies but a lot of data is left behind. What happens to it? How does a company glean anything from it? That's some of the things customers are trying to solve."

These questions are a part of every customer conversation, Cronin said. "We can show customers that Commvault is a really good backup tool," he said. "But there are so many other things it can do. We're trying to show them, ‘Hey, you're already paying for this. Here's something else you probably didn't know this product can do.’"