Commvault GO is taking place this week in Denver and I am attending the event with a couple of ESG colleagues.
The company is vastly different from the one we saw last year, to say the least: New leadership, a significant acquisition under its belt (its first actually), a new backup service, and a roadmap full of goodies for end-users. Commvault is not changing, it has already changed. The company is actively morphing into its next phase of evolution which will come with some adjustments to its go to market.
Sanjay Mirchandani’s keynote (Commvault's CEO) was particularly interesting because of his CIO background, and his reflections on dealing with the complexity of infrastructure: “The real world is reasonably chaotic and data is at the heart of everything we do.”
He positioned the company strategy, which is based on abstracting data from the infrastructure, leveraging machine learning, delivering protection, across multi-cloud and at scale. To do this, the company uses a concept of “data brain,” the plane upon which data, applications, and storage run in a unified fashion. The left side of the brain is about storage management (Hello, Hedvig!), and the right side is about leveraging the data, which, at ESG, we call data intelligence.
The future for Commvault is therefore about data - not just backup or recovery. It's about broadening the scope of the portfolio to make it more manageable across any infrastructure in a way that is unified and eliminates point products and single points of failure. Commvault sits in a good spot in the market to do so, managing 11EB of data, 700PB of data in the cloud, and 2.8M vms across its customers.
Among the solutions discussed and recently announced were:
Commvault Metallic: a SaaS-delivered backup offering described as flexible, scalable, and easy, and the perfect combination of the best of SaaS with the best of backup, delivered through channel partners (US only today). Let's leave the usual marketing parlance aside for a second and reflect upon a few important points:
- The offering was developed in incubation mode (startup style) and is actually branded a "Commvault venture" to make this point more salient. Big cultural shift and fast execution. Competitors should take notes.
- It is actually cloud-native in large part and not just a Comm Cell thrown up in the cloud - that's key because the intent from the inception of the project was to develop a true SaaS plane that leverages best cloud-native development practices and APIs.
- It can be direct to cloud or leveraged as a local copy for scale or recovery. SaaS+ can allow users to bring their own cloud storage and run it in their private cloud with Azure technology. Looks easy to use and covers some solid use cases.
- The key here is that the engine underneath is the Commvault software engine and it can scale...so while we are seeing a focus on mid-market today, it is clear that this is only a start. After all, enterprises are the largest consumers of SaaS applications for mission-critical purposes...
- The product is targeted at the mid-market (500-2500 employees), which is a significant departure from the enterprise-only space Commvault has traditionally targeted. Let me be clear, this is the real deal, pricing, end-user experience, and channel strategy included. But.....execution on the marketing, sales, and channel sides will be very critical to succeed.
We also heard more about the Commvault 4D Index (Commvault Activate), which forms the foundation for Data Intelligence - content awareness and context. Commvault will make the index extensible to third-party products. This component is very key to enabling intelligent data re-use, compliance, etc. Commvault may be a step ahead of some competitors here.
Hedvig was also front and center - and again, an example of the cultural and strategy evolution at Commault since it's their first acquisition.
The complex interactions between the compute and storage layers, combined with the multiplicity of “destinations” (on-premises, in the cloud, in multiple clouds...) makes it extremely difficult to deliver data protection/management and operations efficiently at scale. This complexity potentially negates the benefits of an elastic and flexible cloud infrastructure. This is what Hedvig solves for.
In time, but our sense is that there is urgency to progress quickly, the Hedvig platform and the Commvault platforms will combine, with APIs playing a significant role in the process, and for the future of the ecosystem of this future unified storage and data management platform. Needless to say that here again execution will be critical.
The new currency is data and Commvault is pivoting its business to be squarely focused on delivering more intelligence to the data infrastructure with its vision of unifying data storage and data management.
What a difference a year makes.