In 10 years, CommVault has grown from a Lucent Technologies spin-off to a leader in enterprise data and storage management software, with more than 3,400 customers and around $100 million in sales last year.
The Oceanport, N.J., company confirmed late last week that it will take its development to the next level with a long-awaited initial public offering.
CommVault has built its success developing unified data management solutions that allow companies to store, manage and retrieve data quickly and easily. The centerpiece of the company's unified data management approach to storage is the QiNetix platform, launched in 2002.
Designed to streamline the data management process by transparently sharing data between modules and providing a single control console, QiNetix includes CommVault Galaxy, the company's signature enterprise backup and recovery system; QuickRecovery, a snapshot management and recovery tool; ContinuousDataReplicator for remote replication; DataMigrator for moving data to secondary storage; DataArchiver for e-mail archiving; QNet ServiceManager for global policy management, performance monitoring and storage planning; and Storage Manager, a primary storage resource management and application monitoring tool. CommVault also offers a copying tool called AUXcopy.
The goal, says Chris Van Wagoner, CommVault's senior director of product marketing, "is to make the management, retention and protection of data a lot simpler and a lot more automated. Our software suite was designed to prevent loss and promote the quick recovery of data in case of loss on any scale, from the loss of a single e-mail message to the loss of an entire system or even an entire data center."
Starting Out Small
"Many people think, 'Do I have to buy all of your products in order to get the advantages?' The answer is no," says Van Wagoner. "We can cooperate or operate in an environment where customers use our competitors' products. So they can pick and choose from the different products in our module and then deploy them as needed and slowly grow into the rest of our products. There isn't an all-or-nothing hurdle that they have to jump to get the benefits."
In a sector dominated by EMC and Symantec, that's a smart approach.
However, CommVault's real strength lies in its common architecture, the way each of its pieces fit neatly together to solve an enterprise's storage puzzle.
In a 2005 brief on "Next Generation Storage Management," the Taneja Group praised CommVault's common architecture, as well as the operational flexibility, scalability and transparent data-sharing of its QiNetix offering. The analyst group also liked CommVault's one-touch restore capability.
"The QiNetix unified architecture is a major source of product differentiation," states the Taneja Group brief, while noting the frustration IT administrators have had with point solutions. "It enables CommVault to deliver unique product capabilities and ... the architecture delivers significant improvements to system scalability, fault tolerance and data sharing across platforms."
Getting the Job Done
For Meridian Health, a large integrated health delivery system located throughout New Jersey's Monmouth and Ocean counties, what really differentiated CommVault from the competition was that it worked.
That may sound funny, but to Meridian's IT team, having to constantly check to see if data was properly backed up each night was no laughing matter.
With its old backup system, "we often had incomplete backups," recalls Meridian IT Manager Bob Radvanski. "It was a full-time job for somebody to monitor and re-run jobs, hoping to have a successful backup the next day. It was a time-consuming waste of resources. We needed a solution that was reliable and stable and scalable."
After looking at several systems, Meridian chose CommVault Galaxy because of its "ease of use and installation, the reliability of the system and the support behind it," says Radvanski.
Since installing CommVault Galaxy as its backup system in 2002, Meridian Health has grown from 84 servers to more than 200, and CommVault has grown along with them. Today the system backs up between 6 to 10 terabytes of data each week, with very few re-runs, and as a result productivity has gone up.
In February 2005, Meridian Health added CommVault's QNet management software, which allows for extensive reporting and forecasting. Meridian Health also uses CommVault's AUXcopy tool.
"We use AUXcopy a lot at Meridian," says Network Specialist Brian Duff. "Our data goes offsite as the backups are running, so we don't have to move tapes around and make multiple copies of all of our backups." Duff also notes that CommVault has been extremely responsive to Meridian's needs.
Although Radvanski was unfamiliar with CommVault when the healthcare provider was initially looking for a powerful backup system, he now encourages colleagues to keep an open mind and to try CommVault.
Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, describes CommVault as "a respected participant" in the enterprise backup and recovery space and notes, "there are no big Gotchas!" In the world of storage software, no surprises can be a good thing.
As for the future, Van Wagoner refuses to divulge company plans, but offers: "We are going to continue to provide solutions to customers' data management problems. Wherever we can apply and improve how people retain, protect and manage their data, we're going to try to offer solutions that are differentiated and have a real impact on their ability to either manage more data for the same cost, or drive down the cost of managing the same data."
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