News

CommVault connects Simpana to the cloud

Simon Sharwood with Dave Raffo

CommVault has announced a “cloud storage connector” for its Simpana backup software, to enable its users to target cloud storage services as they would any other kind of storage device.

The new connector will enable use of cloud storage from Amazon Web Services, EMC, Iron Mountain, Microsoft and Nirvanix.

Gerry Sillars, CommVault’s newly-appointed Vice-President for Asia Pacific and Japan said Simpana now “treats those cloud providers as simply another tier of storage.” Features such as data deduplication and indexing can address data stored by cloud operators, he added. Even CommVault’s “out of band synchronisation” tools work on data in the cloud, allowing users to take advantage of services like Amazon Web Services’ Import/Export feature and have their local Simpana implementation made aware of new data stored in the cloud.

The company sees the cloud as ideal for long-term archival storage, or pools of data to be indexed for e-discovery purposes, and can apply policy-based automatic tiering to data to ensure that only desired items are migrated to the cloud.

Sillars said he considers the connector to be a “first generation product” and hinted at more sophisticated future offerings.

Pricing for the connector depends on the quantity of storage under management.

In other CommVault news, Sillars said his recent promotion to the Asia Pacific role has left the company without a local managing director, but that the post will shortly be filled. The company is also close to appointing a Professional Services Director and Sillars said the company is also contemplating a further 15 hires to meet client demand.

Analyst reaction

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse said CommVault's approach is far different than that of market leader Symantec, which got the cloud ball rolling for backup vendors.

"Symantec built up its own cloud services – the Symantec Protection Network," Whitehouse said. "CommVault decided 'We don't want to be in the cloud provider business, we want our technology to be an enabler' so they go after MSPs. They're saying 'We don't want to be that cloud tier, we want to enable it for you.'"

Market research suggests little adoption of cloud storage so far, but data backup is the application with most interest.

Garnter analyst Dave Russell said CommVault's differentiator over the major backup software vendors is its use of native REST APIs instead of flat file transmissions. "They've chosen to deploy it in a deeper way than what others have described," he said.

Russell said storage shops are still "appropriately cautious" about changing their backup environment by using the cloud. Still, he said offering the option now could prompt enterprises to move to the cloud gradually.

"A lot of big businesses might say, 'We'll do it for a subset of data, maybe a copy but not our primary copy,'" he said. "More people might be receptive down the road."