Commvault’s new Metallic SaaS offering for midmarket will be pure channel play

Canadian partners need to be prepared to wait a while however. The new services launch in the U.S. only, and the plan is to pilot it there to make sure it delivers what customers want.

Robert Kaloustian, SVP and General Manager of Metallic, announcing it to a press conference at Commvault GO.

Data protection vendor Commvault is deepening its presence in the midmarket and reaching into the upper realms of the SMB space with the launch of Metallic, a Commvault venture. The unusual corporate branding reflects a distinct operating structure and Go-to-Market strategy in which Metallic will act like a startup within Commvault, and will have – eventually – its own partner program. Out of the gate, it comes with three offerings. Out of the gate, it is also limited to the U.S. market, however. While extension of availability to Canada following the U.S. is often relatively quick, this may not be the case here, however.

“This new sub-brand is part of a transformation to a new Commvault,” said company CEO Sanjay Mirchandani. “We are squarely focused on getting this company back to growth. Everything about this product is about innovation. This was built in house, from the ground up, with the strong bonuses of our Commvault heritage and IP, wrapped around an unbelievable user experience that is only delivered through our partners. We were able to build this in less than nine months because of the benefit of the Commvault technology behind it.”

Mirchandani said that what customers said they wanted in a SaaS product was baked into the design objectives.

“I hounded our team from the viewpoint of a CIO about what I wanted – a focus around flexibility and choice,” he said. “‘Give me the power of technology, but let me figure out how I wish to use it.’ We have thus built what I think is the most flexible SaaS product of its type. The early feedback from customers is that this doesn’t feel like Commvault, because of the user experience, the intuition and intelligence based into the product.”

The organizational structure – establishing Metallic as a separate sub-brand and division of the company – is highly unusual for Commvault, but Mirchandani emphasized that the new approach is fundamental to the thinking behind the product.

“With the new colours, the new approach, the new way of presenting, part of what Metallic represented for us as a company was a new way of building it,” he said. “It’s like it’s a startup within the company. They chose the Go-to-Market. They chose the partners they wanted to work with. They could use what they wanted within Commvault – or not. Metallic had its own identity. It stood on its own, but also had the strength of the brand. We are hoping it’s the best of both worlds. It has an enterprise grade pedigree but we wanted it to be the simplest experience.”

Simple, consumer-like experience is part of the value proposition offered by enterprise focused SaaS-backup vendors like Druva, Cobalt Iron and Clumio, the latter of whom emerged from stealth only three months ago. However the target market for Metallic is the 500-2500 space, bringing them squarely into the market of companies that started in the SMB and have moved upmarket, like Acronis, Barracuda, Datto, SolarWinds MSP and many others.

Robert Kaloustian, SVP and General Manager of Metallic, said that they listened to partners and customers about SaaS backup and recovery and concluded that everyone was compromising.

“There wasn’t a SaaS Backup and Recovery solution that had the scale and flexibility customers demanded,” Kaloustian said. “We launched this portfolio of SaaS data protection aimed at common solutions, and thought about how to make things simple enough to people could be able to sign up and protect data in 15 minutes.”

Kaloustian has been with Commvault almost 20 years in many technical-side positions, with the last seven in technical services, culminating as Senior Vice President, Global Technical Services & Support. Mirchandani asked him to take on this new role when he took over as CEO.

“It’s most appropriate to launch this on Partner Day,” Kaloustian told the Partner Xchange keynote audience on Monday. “This is meant to be a frictionless sale. You can direct a registered lead to the site, and get a trial immediately, with no PoC.”

The 45-day free trials are offered through a separate website at www.metallic.io. They are available for all three products available at launch: Metallic Core Backup & Recovery; Metallic Office 365 Backup & Recovery; and Metallic Endpoint Backup & Recovery.

“The free trials become leads for the partners who can then have conversations about which option is best, said Janet Giesen, Head of Operations and GTM for Metallic.

Giesen said that all three offerings are available as either annual or monthly subscriptions, and only through partners.

“They are meant to be a velocity sale, a 45-60 day sales cycle,” she said. “It’s meant to be rapid. Since it’s SaaS we handle all the upgrades, and it always has the latest innovations.”

Commvault is emphasizing the strong attach opportunities for partners with these products through both platform sales like Azure and AWS as well as selling Office 365 licenses. They also stress that Commvault will not be selling services of their own around Metallic.

“We are not offering any services on top of this so other ancillary services like dealing with GDPR can be offered by partners,” Kaloustian said.

The initial launch is with a select group of channel partners – CDW, Insight, Sirius, Microsoft, Arrow, and Ingram Micro. They will not be the only ones who can sell it, however, because of the distributor presence.

“The Metallic Go-to-Market is defined with partners we have as launch, but any partner can resell it as a service if they wish to,” Mirchandani said.

“My hope is that the distributors will make this broadly available to their partners,” Kaloustian indicated. We aren’t done adding distribution in this, but I don’t want this overdistributed.” He  indicated that he was talking with Tech Data later in the day.

They also aren’t planning to try to compete with this lower in the SMB space.

“A lot of the lower end of the market is served by a lot of VARs who are local, but we aren’t going after that market,” Kaloustian said. “We are confident we have an attractive price but we aren’t after 10 employee companies, and we aren’t pricing for that market.”

While Metallic would likely have appeal to MSPs, they aren’t at that stage yet in their Go-to-Market.

“We will look at customer demand for procuring through MSPs, and we will put together together an advisory board to give recommendations on that,” Kaloustian indicated. “They have unique requirements on billing and security, and in this launch, we focused on those things specifically for us. In the next phase, we will look at focusing on that for them.”

Pricing for Core Backup & Recovery is priced by capacity, while the Office 365 and Endpoint solutions are priced by user.

“Customers who will gravitate to this will want enterprise grade at a price point that is highly competitive,” Mirchandani said.

Because the Metallic offerings are a fundamentally different kind of offering from Commvault’s established lines, and because they are largely targeted lower in the market, Metallic will not be managed through the existing partner program.”

“We don’t have a partner program right now,” Kaloustian indicated. “We are kind of figuring that out. It is a different suite of products.”

For now, these relationships are governed with agreements with the launch partners

“We are looking to roll out a more formal program in our next fiscal year,” Giesen said.

Finally, for Canadian partners, the rather large wet blanket here is that the new offerings are only available in the U.S.

“We want to make sure that we get the experience right, so we are just launching it in the U.S. now,” Kaloustian indicated. “Over time, we will bring it internationally.”

The word is at the event is that Canadian availability is expected for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins in April 2020. Distributor Arrow is hopeful that they will have Metallic available for Canadian partners at that time.

Kaloustian was somewhat more guided on the timing.

“Canada is a border country and a big market,” he said. “Its one of the top five markets I want to be in next. I don’t want to commit to being there  in April specifically, but I also don’t want to take 12 months to be in another country. We have a list of the next ten countries, but we haven’t prioritized the order.”

The reasons for delay are purely around customer experience, and have nothing to do with regulations.

“I could turn it on in Canada tomorrow, but I have enabled a couple VARs who sell there, and I want to make sure the experience is right, especially with the added factor of the French language there< Kaloustin added.

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