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Commvault CEO Bob Hammer said the type of scale-out storage HyperScale represents will soon become common. The key is to have all the software pieces in place.
Commvault CEO Bob Hammer said the type of scale-out storage HyperScale represents will soon become common. The key is to have all the software pieces in place.
"Everybody and their brother is going to do some scale-out stuff," Hammer said in an interview at Commvault GO. "But that doesn't mean, from a customer use case standpoint, it solves their data management problem, their data protection problem, their DR problems, and still highlights data movement, compliance and analytics."
Commvault long resisted the notion of selling its backup software on a branded Commvault-sold appliance. Hammer maintained Commvault should concentrate on software and let disk appliance vendors handle the backup target.
Bob Hammer, CommvaultBob Hammer "We don't want to be in the hardware business," Hammer said after its largest software rival, Symantec -- now Veritas -- put its flagship NetBackup application on an integrated appliance in 2010.
But if Veritas couldn't nudge Commvault into the hardware business, a pair of newcomers could. Startups Cohesity and Rubrik -- both with leadership roots from hyper-converged pioneer Nutanix -- emerged in 2015 with integrated appliances that went beyond backup. The upstarts called their products converged secondary storage, because they handled data for backup, archiving, test and development, and disaster recovery, and they pulled in the cloud as well as disk for targets. Both have gained traction rapidly with their converged strategy.
Commvault was already headed in a new direction with its software, changing the name from Simpana to the Commvault Data Platform in 2015. Commvault always mixed data management with protection, but critics and even customers found all that functionality difficult to learn and use.
"Commvault was not known as the least expensive solution, or the easiest to use," said Jon Walton, CIO of San Mateo County in California, and a longtime Commvault customer. "But it was definitely the most flexible. Its challenge was it was seen as a good tool, but not the cheapest. And in government, cheap wins bids. But we were trying to introduce a single tool to back up everything."
Walton said he took the plunge with Commvault and made sure his staff received the training it needed. "I don't lose any sleep using this platform for my data," he said.
Around early 2016, Hammer said it became clear that secondary storage, and some primary storage, was moving to a "cloud-like infrastructure." Customers were looking for a more unified way to protect and manage their data, both on premises and in public clouds.
"Going way back, I didn't want to go into the hardware business, but it was clear as day the market was going to be driven by an integrated device," Hammer said. "We said, 'OK, we can supply that device,' and just needed to put partnerships together."
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