Commvault launches ‘know your data’ solution with Commvault Activate

Commvault has had their Activate solution for discovery of data available for a while, but is formally launching it now, as a core component of their simplified four product area portfolio, and says that it will be a strong product for channel partners.

NASHVILLE – At their GO event for customers and partners, data protection vendor Commvault emphasized the importance of their newly restructured product portfolio, where what had formerly been 25 separate product lines has been simplified to four. Two of them, their Commvault Complete data protection portfolio, and their expanded HyperVault alliance line, are the big plays for the channel at the moment. One of the others, Commvault Activate, has actually been available for sale for months, but is now being promoted and more strongly enabled in terms of go-to market push. It is designed to identify what data a customer has, which has important compliance ramifications, although the use cases are broader than this.

“Today, we are introducing a solution to the ‘know your data problem’ said Bob Hammer, Commvault’s Chairman, President and CEO, in the opening keynote at GO. “Other vendors have a limited single file system index, which limits use for regulatory compliance and advanced analytics. Our 4D index collects hundreds of attributes about your data and can identify and select the right data for regulatory compliance requirements. It is critical to have a comprehensive understanding of data. This is Commvault Activate.”

That Commvault 4D open index, together with AI learning methods that enrich the data context, meaning and understanding across data sources, is the secret sauce here, which the company is emphasizing as differentiating Commvault Activate from other discovery solutions on the market.

“Through the Commvault Command Center, you can see how many copies there are, who has access to it, whether it has been used in the last three months, and whether it has an owner,” said Al Bunte, Commvault’s Chief Operating Officer. “One customer had 9 PB of data spread all over the world with 75,000 users. We were able to index everything in place, with the result that we found that up to 30 per cent of their data was orphaned, stale or duplicate. That’s both expensive and dangerous. Knowing this will save them $20 million in storage, personnel and operating costs savings over several years.”

Bunte stressed that customers grasp Activate’s utility.

“Customers get it,” he said. “They know that they have to automate everything, or they can’t deal with things. Customers told me here that ‘we are counting on you.’”

Commvault Activate has been available for sale since early this year, but hasn’t been formally launched until now.

“We’ve said for two years that you can’t manage data unless you know what you have,” Hammer said. “We didn’t announce it commercially until we had it fairly well-baked. We made sure we were architected to deal with those scale issues and come up with the right results.”

Commvault Activate will have a portfolio of applications around it.

“The first solution available today discovers and profiles all your data – not some of it,” Hammer said. “The second one [Sensitive Data Governance] is around sensitive use cases around GDPR. These are not visions or slideware. They are available today. They have actually been around for about a year, but are now being brought out on much broader basis.”

Bunte said that Activate has multiple standalone applications.

“I believe that we can go into a number of environments, and help customers understand what they have,” he stated. “This includes customers who do not use our backup and data movers. I see that as a really good onramp for migration to the cloud. We don’t like the term, but it is good with data lakes as well, as well as storage optimization and compliance uses like GDPR.”

“The data lake concept is completely archaic,” Hammer said. “It’s expensive and its another silo. Your data lake should be virtual. You don’t move any data unless its to do something with it. You should do indexing in place before you move it.”

“Or never do it,” Bunte quickly added. Still, their point is that Activate will work well in these environments – even the ones which are not optimally deployed.

Commvault sees Activate as being a good channel play, but acknowledges that while partners can sell it today, Commvault has not ramped up channel enablement around it, something that they say is coming.

“There is a strong channel play for Activate – in theory – absolutely,” Hammer said.  “But even though it has been in market for a year, it is still early stages. For a reseller with established practices in the areas which it plays, it will fit them really well. The channel has access to it today, but we will get more aggressive in the next two or three quarters.”

Damon Robertson, Managing Director of U.K-based Commvault Platinum partner COOLSPIRiT, Commvault’s 2017 European partner of the year, said that GDPR has made Activate a hot play in their market.

“It has speeded up the sales cycle to no end, and is driving a lot of conversations,” he said.