Perhaps sensing an opportunity to gain market share in a field where competition is less fierce, CommVault and Network Appliance have joined to offer a low-priced software and appliance bundle designed to appeal to small and midsize enterprises.
Under the terms of the deal, Network Appliance of Sunnyvale, Calif., will package its StoreVault S500 network storage appliance with Galaxy Express backup and recovery software from CommVault of Oceanport, N.J.
To meet the need of SMBs, CommVault has repackaged its Galaxy Express software to reduce complexity, creating wizards, workflows, user guides and help windows.
At $599, the combined package includes: the CommServe Storage Manager for command and control; one media agent for media management; support for four Windows; Linux or Netware servers; disk-to-disk backup up to 1.6TB; a single tape library with two tape drives; and NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol) support for a single StoreVault system.
The system can be expanded to 15 protected servers, six tape drives, 10ATB of disk-to-disk backup and three application servers.
With this combination, organizations can back up and restore as quickly as enterprises, said Dave West, CommVaults vice president of marketing and business development.
The fast backups and restores are largely due to the addition of NDMP, a NetApp-developed protocol that provides a standardized way to back up heterogeneous file servers on a network.
NDMP support has traditionally been enterprise-class functionality, mostly because of cost, he said.
"Without NDMP support, you cant directly attach a tape drive or tape library to the filer," he said.
"You dont want to be moving data back and forth on the backup screen back out the clients to a local tape drive. With NDMP, we can offer a direct plug-in to the filer of that tape library of tape drive."
The packaged offering addresses some of the biggest challenges customers have around backup times and restore windows, especially in NAS (network-attached storage) configurations, West said.
In addition to improved restore times, largely as a result of NDMP, the combined solution supports backups for Windows, Linux, Macintosh, NetWare and others, as well as supporting application agents.
There is an additional fee for application support, West noted, but users can plug those modules directly into the configuration.
Although the price is right, the combined NetApp/CommVault solution is really geared more to the midmarket than to very small organizations, said Mike Karp, a senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates of Boulder, Colo.
Karp said the combined solution is probably best for companies or groups with more than 100 people. "Its probably overkill for those that are smaller," he said.
But with that caveat, Karp called the combination of technology an "industrial-strength NAS+ storage software solution" that would support typical SMB configurations.
He also noted that the solution is easily upgradable to CommVaults QiNetix data management suite, providing a software growth path for companies as they scale upwards.
The move is a natural one for CommVault, which has been working with NetApp for about six years on a variety of technology integration projects, West said.
"This is our first go-to-market relationship with NetApp, and its a great opportunity to leverage the work weve done together," he said.
Although the move is certainly a good one for CommVault, it is also a good move by NetApp, Karp said.
"This is the first attempt by NetApp to scale downwards to SMBs," he said. "Its a good sign that their partner at the enterprise level wants to work with them on this. It will enable SMBs to scale upwards smoothly when the time is appropriate."