CommVault Builds Bridge to the Cloud

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Feb 3, 2010

Storage and cloud seem almost as natural a fit as storage and virtualization, yet inroads there have not gone nearly as deep. A recent survey of 535 companies conducted by the storage management and backup software vendor CommVault (NASDAQ: CVLT) found security and privacy to be the overarching concern of organizations moving to a cloud storage model. Other concerns, CommVault Director of Cloud Solutions, Jeff Echols told ServerWatch, are the complexity inherent in moving the data and the dreaded vendor lock-in.

Virtually Speaking: CommVault's latest offering aims to bring storage into the cloud. Will it be a bridge to nowhere or the connection enterprises crave?

Still, according to the survey, 52 percent of respondents are considering the use of cloud storage services today or down the road for three key reasons: growing data volumes, storage capacity limits, large data center footprints, lengthy retention requirements and costly storage infrastructures.

Echols got even more descriptive, noting cloud storage is particularly appropriate for organizations that require more space for archiving, organizations undergoing infrastructure replacement, and organizations looking to simplify compliance management. Cloud can also come into play for something as straightforward as a seeking a replacement for tape storage.

And this is where CommVault's newest offering comes in.

On Monday, CommVault added new cloud storage capabilities to its Simpana software offering. An integrated cloud storage connector for Simpana is now available with the purchase of a $900 per-terabyte capacity license that allows enterprises to store data on-premises or in a public or private cloud.

The new software claims to eliminate many of the barriers -- Too much data to move over the network or pay for by the GB? Data deduplication capabilities reduce bandwidth and cloud storage costs up to 75 percent. Can't deal with the complexity of getting all that data seamlessly into and out of the cloud? Native http capabilities have been built into the Simpana platform to make data appear as though local. And, of course, the big worry about how secure and reliable the cloud and the cloud transfer process is? The software has built-in, FIPS certified encryption that kicks in before data is sent over the network.

The software is also designed to be easy to use. A single console integrates alerting, reporting and tracking of all data, as well as deduplication and encryption.

But as advantageous as these features are, what will most likely make the solution particularly palatable to CIOs is the partnerships CommVault took care to forge with cloud storage providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Nirvanix. Plans for integration with EMC and Iron Mountain are also under way.

The solution is being presented to current CommVault customers as part of CommVault disk storage offerings. The cloud connector software is included in per-TB disk license; however, customers must also establish an account with one of the cloud providers of choice.

Like cloud computing, storage needs and demands show no signs of slowing down. In many ways the two technologies are complementary, though not without complications. CommVault, wisely, is looking at hosting providers as well large enterprises. Thus, Simpana's bridge may be just what enterprises need to make the connection to the cloud.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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