Baking bread and talking tech: Commvault has what customers knead

My “expert” bread baking advice (after an entire six months) comes down to three things.
By Sanjay Mirchandani

I’ve become somewhat of a closet baker during this time spent at home – specifically bread. My “expert” bread baking advice (after an entire six months) comes down to three things: 

  • Understand what’s important and do it well – and as easily as possible – because there are many paths to the wrong outcome!
  • Experiment with new things – the world of bread baking is an endless journey of learning. Be ready for what you want to try next.
  • It takes a village – or in this case an online community – to get the best sources for ingredients, and helpful tips and tricks.

Perhaps this advice was on my mind, because our radical transformation to simplify innovation and execute over the past six quarters was based on three guiding principles: 

  • Understand what’s important to customers – and help solve hard problems.
  • Experiment with new things – customers trust Commvault to understand what’s coming next.
  • It takes an ecosystem – nobody does it alone, partner to bring the best solutions forward.

Of course, when we listed these guiding principles, we had no way of imagining that COVID would accelerate years of transformation into a few months, but interestingly they remain relevant.  

Understand what’s important to customers 

Security. We have long understood the importance of security. Even before the pandemic, ransomware was on the rise; today, it is at an all-time high, with the FBI estimating a 400% increase over pre-pandemic levels. In August, we introduced a security dashboard in the Commvault Command Center to help customers identify and resolve security risks.  We take a holistic approach to security, including AI/ML based early detection of attacks, air-gapped protection of backups and rapid automated recovery. Additionally, with ransomware top of mind for customers, we introduced Commvault Disaster Recovery, a standalone product that simplifies the customer experience. We are very proud of this new solution – and not too surprised that other vendors are now pre-announcing their own DR solutions to keep pace. 

Cloud. We are maniacally focused on our customers’ journey to the cloud.  We have over an Exabyte of reasons to show how straightforward, cost-effective and simple this can be achieved. This is more than just storing on-prem backup data in the cloud, Commvault operates as a cloud-native solution. Cloud native, PaaS, SaaS and even new K8s workloads can all be protected – with the simplicity of a single solution across all workloads. On top of that? We knew customers needed an easy button to access the cloud. This is why I am personally so excited about our recently introduced Metallic Cloud Storage Service (more on that below!!!). 

Software-as-a-Service. SaaS is transforming IT. Near instant access to desired outcomes, with the ability to test drive, prove out and then purchase represents us upending the financial model of traditional solutions.  We launched Metallic as our SaaS data management last year. Metallic’s success has been astounding. Here again is the unique innovation that the breadth of Commvault brings to the table – with Metallic SaaS within the Command Center as of our September Feature Release, we give our customers a single UI across SaaS and self-managed workloads. This is going to be tough for our friends to imitate! After all, we have the broadest ecosystem of workloads and growing every quarter! (Spoiler alert – soon we will make that gap even wider as we expect to double the number of markets and solutions).

Experiment with new things 

The rise of containers was a key driver behind the acquisition of Hedvig one year ago to complement our data management portfolio with differentiated hybrid cloud-native storage for virtualization and containers. Just this week, ESG’s Steve Duplessie, published a blog that stated “Containers, namely Kubernetes, is going to be the next big thing—the new way of doing things in our wacky world of IT.” I encourage you to check it out. Oh, and thanks for the shout-out Steve; that’s high praise!  

Taking a step back for a moment, trying new things can be a challenge. This topic was a difficult one, and the Theodore Roosevelt quote certainly held true: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”

It is fair to say we had our share of pain and difficulty along the way – let’s face it: there was no tried and tested recipe for this – but as often happens, the effort led to a far better product and one we know inside out.  

Today, we are incredibly proud (in a nerdy way) of this: with hybrid cloud-native software-defined storage and a data protection solution, fully integrated with Kubernetes, we believe Commvault offers the most comprehensive data management solution for containers – in the cloud, on-premises, or in both!  (Don’t worry if you need to read that twice – it is quite a mouthful).

We had predicted that storage and data protection need to combine to solve the challenges of mass data fragmentation. In July, we launched the next generation of Commvault HyperScale: HyperScale X. This solution is a game-changer with all the power of Commvault data management and Hedvig distributed storage, simply delivered as a pre-integrated scale-out appliance. 

We are working hard to make Kubernetes ready for the enterprise. (Shameless plug and big thanks to Nigel Poulton for his invaluable insights).

It takes an ecosystem 

When technology leaders partner, customers benefit. This was the key driving force behind the strategic partnership that we announced recently with Microsoft Azure – to bring simple solutions to our customers that benefit from our deeply integrated, joint innovation. Clearly, our partnership has created the environment for similar, hurriedly put together combinations, but the differentiation lies in solutions that benefit customers with game-changing integration. 

Backed by our Microsoft partnership, we jointly innovated to introduce Metallic Cloud Storage Service as a secure, air-gapped cloud storage extension to Commvault HyperScale X, making it easier for our customers to secure their data with the power of cloud. Just imagine the simplicity of this solution – HyperScale X as a sleek, pre-integrated on-prem appliance seamlessly extending to the cloud with the Metallic Cloud Storage Service – all through the comfort of a single, modern UI. That’s meaningful joint innovation! 

What’s next? 

There are so many bread puns that come to mind. Like: we will help customers rise to new heights. Or perhaps: work to understand their kneads? … OK, OK, I’ll stop.  

On a serious note, we will continue to expand the scope of Intelligent Data Management into new cloud native and hybrid environments, containers and cloud native workloads right in time when our customers need it. While some vendors are inwardly focused with pre-announcements and piecemeal acquisitions, our customers are already confidently using Commvault’s portfolio today.    

We are proud to work every day to be the leading force in our industry – bringing value to customers. 

Sanjay Mirchandani is Commvault’s CEO.

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