Commvault takes first step to self-driving backup with Commvault Command Center

Commvault’s senior executives kicked off their opening keynote at Commvault GO on Wednesday, and while they introduced several new solutions, the highlight was their new Command Center interface.

Commvault’s CEO Bob Hammer (L) and Al Bunte (R) onstage at Comvault GO

NASHVILLE – The theme of innovation was front and centre as Commvault’s GO customer event here moved into its core keynotes on Wednesday morning. Bob Hammer, Commvault’s Chairman, President and CEO, and Commvault COO Al Bunte are generally the featured speakers at GO, but they usually headline separate keynotes. This year, they were combined in the opening keynote in a tag team tandem. The two executives reviewed several of the key announcements from the event, but the main emphasis was on the new Commvault Command Center.

Hammer emphasized the importance of strategic innovation in a crowded data recovery market.

“The key to delivering outcomes was to add innovations to our platform,” he told his audience. “Our platform is data-centric, not storage-centric. It has three fundamental differentiators. First, it abstracts data from any media structure, and media, and workload and any recovery need, to allow movement and management of data anywhere. Second, it has a richer, more extensible 4D index that offers a multi-dimensional perspective. The number of attributes can be almost infinite. The third is unparalleled flexibility to store, move and migrate data across public cloud private cloud and SaaS, efficiently, at lower cost, while being compliant with regulations. It enables you to know all your data in an enterprise, so that you can properly manage it.”

The executives positioned the new Commvault Command Center as the key to fully unlocking all these capabilities. The Command Center is essentially the UI for the Commvault portfolio, so there may be a tendency to dismiss Commvault’s big announcement as a simple UI update. The executives stressed that it is more than that however, emphasizing that it now encompasses all of Commvault’s solutions, not just backup and recovery. It also leverages both Artificial Intelligence  and Machine Learning to analyze and automate tasks, and improve the focus on business and operational outcomes.

“Commvault Command Center is the first step towards self-driving backup,” Bunte said. “It is a modern dashboard, so it has to be cool. We have injected automation to fundamentally change the user experience. We are redefining recovery with embedded orchestration and automation to handle complex tasks like workload migration. And it’s all role based. The dashboard will be personalized to your responsibilities. It provides a broad view of all the data in your enterprise – not just the VMs. It tracks and monitors all your SLAs, and the capacity and amount of your data under management.

“We start by defining a user service plan – who, what, when and where – with three preconfigured SLAs that can be modified,” Bunte added. “Then we see what’s relevant against those SLAs.

“What’s different about this self-driving backup from what we are doing today?” Hammer asked rhetorically. “It provides you with a complete virtual team of digital managers – an Autonomous Operations Manager, a Dynamic Recovery Manager, and an Intelligent Anomaly Manager.”

The Autonomous Operations Manager drives reliable and consistent backup and recovery.

“What makes it cool is the fact that we adjust and optimize in these highly dynamic environments,” Bunte said. “It self-adjusts, makes changes on the fly, self-corrects and self-optimizes to dynamically predict and optimize capacity consumption. It provides much more reliable consistent outcomes. Customers show up to 55 per cent more operational efficiency. The impact can be huge. It moves from requiring 40 minutes of an admin’s time to 4 minutes, with this self-driving capability.”

The Dynamic Recovery Manager recovers anything and everything within predetermined SLAs.

“In the last few years, the focus has shifted to recovery,” Bunte said. “People today are less patient. You need to be able to recover quickly and simply. What gets interesting is doing it at scale.” A presentation from shipping giant Maersk, a Commvault customer followed.

“Maersk recovered in 7 days, compared to the old standard of 6 months,” Bunte said. “We have 1000 streams of data, which scales to 500 TB recovery per day.”

The Intelligent Anomaly Manager  separates the myriad of noise from the anomalies that really matter.

“It separates those that can wait from those that can not,” Bunte said.

Bunte also emphasized the importance of the Command Center to Commvault Activate, their solution for identifying what data a customer has, which has important compliance ramifications.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The Commvault Command Center supports all four elements of Commvault’s new and greatly simplified portfolio –Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery, Commvault Orchestrate, Commvault HyperScale and Commvault Activate.  It will be available to customers starting in December with Service Pak 14.