Welcome to the Snapshot Selfie Party (Part 1 of 2)

Posted 04/30/2014 by Commvault

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So our colleague Peter Eicher recently shared some highly entertaining and informative thoughts on Commvault’s industry-leading IntelliSnap technology.

We can’t help thinking of Peter as we read through some of the recent product announcements around snapshot management that have been rolling out. It’s sort of like our industry is in the midst of a huge snapshot party. And that’s great!

Welcome to the Selfie Party! All the Cool Kids are Here.

For Customers, Choice is a Wonderful Thing

Giving customers choices is pretty much always a good thing. And in the context of Snapshot Management, the choices have been somewhat limited to date. The customer could stick with the snapshot management tool that shipped with the array – these are useful, though somewhat limited, and each array has a different tool, causing management headaches for customers with heterogeneous storage. More recent, customers have been looking to a small handful of data protection software solutions that could add advanced functionality, like application consistency, granular search and recovery, backup of the snapshot as well as a single SW solution that could span heterogeneous storage to help normalize operations.

So these announcements promise to expand the field in snapshot management and give customers more choice, pushing the entire industry to, as always, innovate or die. At Commvault, we welcome that with open arms.

Businesses want proven technology that works

First we have to agree whole heartedly that storage snapshots are a wonderful tool for delivering mission critical RTOs as well as enabling extremely fast, low impact RPOs. And that is critical for every enterprise customer. At Commvault, we have seen for many years that the only realistic way to deliver a mission critical 15-minute RPO, while at the same time managing the fast RTO that an Oracle production environment requires, hardware snapshots are the way to go.

Our IntelliSnap capability is now third-generation technology – we started doing storage snapshots when we launched Commvault Simpana 8 in 2009 (on NetApp storage by the way). So with more than six years of experience working with thousands of customers, and nearly all the major storage HW vendors on snapshot management with our IntelliSnap functionality, we feel confident in saying nobody understands snapshots better than Commvault. Many resources are available on the Best Practices for implementing snapshots – across mission critical applications, VMs, large file/NAS implementations and a host of other workloads. Leaving a specific Commvault solution aside, these are really great resources for anyone wanting to understand how to better implement a snapshot strategy on their storage. Here’s an online example of what we’ve put together for NetApp snapshots, but let us summarize the functionality this way – IntelliSnap will let you:ix

  1. Normalize snapshot management across a broad range of storage platforms, including HDS, NetApp, Nimble Storage, and HP 3PAR, with a single software approach.
  2. Deliver application consistent point-in-time copies for mission critical applications, including:  Oracle, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, VMware, Hyper V, DB2, SAP, and on and on.
  3. Back up snapshots with deduplication to any heterogeneous disk – even SATA JBOD (not just E-series or FAS).
  4. Back up snapshots to tape for very long-term retention – and skip that massive NDMP process.
  5. Automatically search file and object level contents of snapshots and recover at that granular level with a single, unified catalog.

Breadth and depth of snapshot management>


So we think it is really great that several vendors have listened to customers on this critically important topic and have started to add storage snapshot support. However, the real need is way beyond a couple of storage platforms and a few applications.

Modern Enterprises Require the Broadest Integration

In a truly modern data center, customers demand broad software integration for heterogeneous hardware and the wide range of applications they use. They can’t keep up with data growth and compliance complexity without streamlining management and automating workflows for backup and recovery. They want to achieve near-instant RPO and RTO. Having yet more point products to manage isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog…