CommVault Enhances Simpana Storage Suite with 800 New Features

Simpana 9 is a hardware-agnostic storage package that spiders out to find all data silos in an enterprise system and adds a small agent in each node.

CommVault isn't one of those storage companies that prefers to talk about what it's going to do in a road map discussion. It does things first, then talks about them.

The storage software maker quietly has been working for 24 months on its frontline Simpana 9 system and released it on Oct. 5. That part isn't unusual. What is unusual is that CommVault told eWEEK the new version has more than 800 new features in it.

Eight hundred? How can that be possible?

"This is all we do. We're a software development company, and this is our lifeblood," Dave West, CommVault vice president of marketing and business development, told a skeptical eWEEK reporter. "This is a landmark release for CommVault. It's all about bridging to a more modern data management platform."

Simpana 9 is a hardware-agnostic storage package that spiders out to find all data silos in an enterprise system and adds a small agent in each node. It features a wizard-and-drop-down-menu-driven, Web-based GUI for administrative control by a businessperson.

"You can set up storage literally in minutes with this, whereas it used to take hours," West said.

West said CommVault has organized Simpana 9's features into the following buckets:

  • advanced data protection, including new platform support, backup copies with staggered retention periods, data mining and new recovery capabilities;
  • automated, reactive policies to protect hundreds of virtual machines without sacrificing recovery, storage economics or performance;
  • third-generation deduplication that shrinks windows, lightens workloads and extends deduplication into the cloud if necessary;
  • simplified licensing, offering the entire data management package under an automated, audit-free, usage-based model.

"We believe that the old way of managing data-meaning disaster recovery, archiving, e-discovery-will no longer work inside of today's infrastructure," he said.

The "old way," according to West, is that an enterprise has "a whole bunch of information that is accessed through a server, and that needs to be backed up. In disaster recovery, you're taxing the server, network and storage-all of those components are utilized in moving and managing that data.

"In the old model, that was fine, because data was big, but certainly not as big as it is today. The two major factors in this are, No. 1, the sheer volume of data growth, which continues to run at unprecedented rates [40 to 60 percent, according to many analysts]; and backing it up, replicating, et cetera, is a compounding effect of seven to 10 times."

Virtualization having major effect on storage

The other major factor is virtualization, which has put a magnifying glass on the fact that the old way doesn't work, West said.

Why? "When you consolidate your servers up to 10X or more, that means your servers are running efficiently-they're running all the time," West said. "You have no bandwidth or cycles to move, manage and protect that data, because your CPU is running the application. You no longer have time to do backup and archiving."

Because servers are running so much more efficiently in a virtualized environment, he said, "things like data management aren't getting done."

That's where CommVault and Simpana come in, he said, because the administrative tasks are done in-line and automatically in the background at all times.

"Data management in virtualized environments is broken," West said. "If it doesn't get fixed, it will slow down and delay the rollout of virtualization across the enterprise to include pooling and mission-critical applications."

The most important new features in Simpana 9, West said, are:

  • expanded virtualization scalability and support [including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen and open-source hypervisors];
  • snapshots to provide rapid protection and recovery of VMs [West claimed that up to 500 VMs can be protected in 17 minutes using the new software];
  • new source-side deduplication reduces the amount of data being transferred across corporate networks for backup or replication by up to 90 percent, and can cut backup windows by more than 30 percent;
  • universal deduplication enables multiple protection policies, each with its own retention period, to access a common deduplication store and reduce redundant data across multiple locations and VMs;
  • a simplified, capacity-based licensing model with improved storage resource management featuring integrated reporting that automatically reassesses daily usage and provides threshold warnings along with trending analysis.

"With its new Simpana release, CommVault is breaking barriers with improved scalability, increased levels of protection, faster recovery, and greater efficiency for managing physical and virtual server environments," said Lauren Whitehouse, senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group.

"With new licensing options and migration enablement, CommVault is also making it more feasible for organizations to replace inefficient point solutions with Simpana 9 and realize the lower overhead and increased efficiency benefits CIOs care about most."

Simpana 9 is available now, West said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...