ESG Guest Blog 6 of 6: ‘Hybrid Everything’ in Data Protection

Posted 11/24/2015 by Commvault

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We're happy to welcome Jason Buffington, senior analyst at ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group), onto our blog page. This is the final blog of a six-blog series that focuses on key issues related to data and information management, compliance, security and share his perspective on top customer considerations for establishing best practices in today’s changing IT landscape.

Buffington is focused primarily on data protection, Windows Server infrastructure, management, and virtualization. He has actively deployed or consulted on data protection and storage solutions since 1989, working at channel partners, Cheyenne (CA) ARCserve, NSI DoubleTake and Microsoft. Check out all of ESG’s data protection perspectives from Jason. In this final installment, he’ll explore Commvault’s initiatives toward an “Open Standards-based Infrastructure."

According to recent ESG research, in validation of what you likely have presumed, data protection infrastructures are becoming more diverse.

  • Only a fourth (27%) of IT organizations utilize a single backup tool for their data protection solution today.
  • Most organizations are supplementing backups with snapshots, replicas, archives and availability capabilities for more agility.
  • And organizations to use every possible permutation of disk, tape and cloud media in various combinations for their backup solution, as shown in FIG.

This should NOT be misinterpreted to read that organizations should acquire multiple disparate tools and storage technologies, thereby creating isolated islands within their IT infrastructure. What it does mean is that modern IT architectures should encompass a single data protection strategy that includes various data protection behaviors (snaps, replicas, backups, archives) and utilizes whichever mediums of storage make the most sense, based on operational requirements and economic initiatives.

In some cases, you can absolutely use a single data protection and management framework for everything (e.g. Commvault software as an example). In other cases, there might be reasons (business, organizational, technical or cultural) that justify secondary technologies as part of your broader data protection or data management strategy. The challenge for DP vendors (like Commvault and others) will be to either stubbornly believe in an ‘all or nothing’ approach to enabling their customers’ data protection goals, or be open to being a good citizen within a heterogeneous world.

With its forward-looking emphasis on ‘Open Standards,’ Commvault is showing itself to be the latter – by enabling third parties to leverage its management and storage platforms, Commvault is showing that it recognizes what is truly important: providing value-creating management and agility within a complex IT infrastructure, while ensuring its customers have the flexibility necessary to achieve unique recovery and agility requirements. This can be seen first through the modularity of new Commvault solution scenarios, growing to where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – and taking it a leap forward by adding even more parts from partners, within a unified framework from Commvault. To be more specific, Commvault now delivers a unified UI, a unified storage capability (including a very wide array of disk, tape, and cloud offerings), and a refined operational experience based on which functionality has been acquired. One analogy for this approach might be a hamburger:

  • The top bun = an all-encompassing management UI.
  • The bottom bun = a unified approach to hybrid storage for secondary, tertiary, or other copies.
  • The meat = a flexible and heterogeneous data protection engine.
  • The condiments = where the flavor is tailored to the Commvault customers’ scenarios and preferences.

Now consider what an open-platform approach might yield: swap Commvault’s data protection built-in burger for a chicken filet, a veggie patty, or a Portobello mushroom from one of its partners, and the customer experience (enablement) becomes radically enhanced, with the same management top bun, the same flexible and ubiquitous storage bottom bun, and the same diversity of condiment flavors for customization. Now consider serving the same burger/flavors in a different bun … e.g., a customized UI offered by a cloud provider or vertical partner!

Ironically, by growing beyond a monolithic approach of ‘must protect it all,’ Commvault may actually find more increased affinity, instead of reduced penetration, across diverse teams throughout a growing customer base.