Commvault expands use cases in product portfolio refresh

The news involves reworking Commvault Data Protection and Commvault Backup & Recovery into separate products with a suite option, bringing Hedvig technology into HyperScale, expanding Hedvig support for Kubernetes, further encouraging subscription pricing, and positioning the Metallic SaaS offering to go upmarket and address the enterprise as well as the midmarket.

Commvault President and CEO Sanjay Mirchandani, in the new 2020 normal of home-based conference presenting

At their Future Ready virtual press and analyst event this week, Commvault made several new solution-centric announcements. They also imparted a clear strategy focus tying all the announcements together and positioning the company to move forward to address the needs of the future. That in turn involves moving beyond its traditional backup focus and providing a broader range of offerings addressing more use cases than before.

“Today’s theme is future ready,” said Sanjay Mirchandani, Commvault’s President and CEO. “Data has never been more important, and for those managing data, there has never been a more perilous time. Today’s announcements truly change the game.”

A critical aspect of this is deconstructing Commvault’s core data protection capability into multiple products. Commvault Backup & Recovery is now a standalone product with just this specific functionality, which covers all workloads, including containers, cloud-native, and virtual, across cloud and on-premises environments. For the first time, Commvault Disaster Recovery has been broken out into a separate product to provide business continuity. Both products can be available as they were before as well, as Commvault Complete Data Protection, with a customary bundled discount.

This is essentially a branding and packaging announcement. So why does Commvault consider it a big deal? Because it was something that partners said was important to them, to provide more flexibility and extend the use cases they can address.

“The changes we are making here in parsing and packaging the products came about through conversations with partners,” said Mercer Rowe, Vice President of the Global Partner Organization at Commvault. “The partner feedback was that we could better package products in alignment with customer use cases and value propositions.”

Mercer said for partners, this makes sense for multiple reasons.

“Selling a large suite in the data protection space can be daunting,” he stated. “They can continue to sell the suite, or they can shift into selling deconstructed elements. Both Commvault Backup & Recovery and Commvault Disaster Recovery are now composable elements. Disaster Recovery was just a capability within the Backup and Recovery before, not a separate product.”

An obvious use case for the separate DR product is selling to a customer who doesn’t want Commvault Backup.

“Because Disaster Recovery doesn’t require selling Commvault Backup any more, this opens up a market for it among customers who already have another backup solution and are happy with it,” Rowe said.

“A second aspect is that this opens up the opportunity for more targeted use cases instead of the one big data protection conversation,” Rowe added. “We heard a lot of that from partners.”

Other products announcements were more than packaging, including the new iteration of HyperScale, Commvault’s scale-out data management solution.

“We are announcing the next generation of our Hyperscale technology, with HyperScale X,” Mirchandani said. “This is the first time that it brings HyperScale together with Hedvig’s technology, bringing together storage and data management.”

“Several months back in October when we announced the acquisition of Hedvig, we shared a vision of integrating storage with data management,” said Rangaraaj Ragagopalan, Commvault’s VP of Products “HyperScale X is our next generation data protection solution – a simple to deploy, scale and manage solution which is fully integrated with file systems. Scale-out from Hedvig is traditionally associated with primary storage, and we will use that as an acceleration strategy for hybrid cloud transformation.”

“This is what we have been working on since we brought Hedvig into the family,” Mirchandini noted. “It comes together seamlessly integrated, and customers get it in a form factor that’s completely appliance-like, where any software can be put on it.”

There are some enhancements in HyperScale X over the previous generation, including enhanced resiliency by maintaining availability in the event of concurrent hardware failures, and improved scale-out capabilities, but the big pluses here are things on the roadmap.

“HyperScale X is similar to the last generation, but there are some under the covers differences, and there is a road map tied to some interesting stuff later this year,” Rowe said. “Partners will be able to swap the new HyperScale X platform for the old in quotes that they have out today. We have also launched a new set of accreditations today around the new pricing and packaging options.”

The portfolio’s use cases were also expanded with the enhancement of support for Kubernetes containers running in hybrid and multi-cloud environments on the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform. It will give customers more flexibility to develop and run new modern applications with encryption and third-party KMIP support for data security in any Kubernetes environment, and use the data stored in Hedvig to speed the DevOps process.

“These new native API enhancements in Hedvig provide the flexibility to run modern applications in any Kubernetes environment,” Mirchandani said. “Containers and Kubernetes don’t scare us. They are the new frontier for DevOps.”

“With these major updates to container data management capabilities to Hedvig Storage for containers, customers can easily build cloud agnostic delivery layers,” Ragagopalan said. “Hedvig is now completely integrated into Kubernetes.”

“We are continuing to work with partners on leveraging Hedvig,” Rowe added.

Commvault is also looking to help partners better address specific customer use cases by expanding their subscription licensing opens to better enable partners to lead more broadly with subscription models. Commvault already has more than 40% of software and product revenue coming from subscription licensing, and while they will continue to support the perpetual pricing model, they say that the pandemic has enhanced further the market momentum towards subscription.

“The simplicity of the new subscription licensing will provide a much more effective data management strategy,” Ragopalan indicated.

While Commvault did not introduce any new capabilities around their Metallic SaaS offering – having made a major announcement expanding their Microsoft Azure partnership to Metallic just three weeks ago – they did outline their full vision around Metallic for the first time, and laid out more of the roadmap, and how Metallic fits into the emphasis on broader use causes.

“The beauty of Metallic is that it is built on the backbone of Commvault,” Mirchandani said. “It’s not like we woke up one day and just built a SaaS. We took what we had and built a world class scalable experience around it, the same as with Hedvig. You will see more of that simplicity come right through the product line.”

Janet Giesen, VP of Operations and GTM Programs for Metallic, outlined the vision for Metallic and how it fits into Commvault’s strategy around intelligent data management.

“Our vision, which we haven’t discussed before, is to provide the industry’s leading SaaS solution for intelligent data management with the simplest cloud-first experience for companies of all sizes,” Giesen said. “When we started, our original emphasis was the midmarket, but interest in the enterprise was stronger than we anticipated.”

Giesen said that Metallic has been mapping product strategy to specific customer needs, including hybrid cloud support, and remote work and IT management.

“We now have remote offerings around Office 365 and an endpoint one with Azure,” she said. “When we launched, we didn’t have endpoint backup as a lead at all, but that has become critical now with most breaches being at the edge. Intelligent data management today means moving beyond backup, and with our technology and our new relationship with Azure, that’s an area we are looking to expand into.”

The extension of Commvault’s longtime partnership with Azure to Metallic will be critical for Metallic’s growth.

“We focus on the joint benefits of a trusted data protection solution working with the trusted cloud of Azure,” Giesen said. “We are concentrating on demand generation, jointly selling to marquee customers, with channel attach and seeding programs. We also have a free endpoint protection offering through September 1, covering up to 1,000 endpoints in conjunction with Azure.”

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