I spoke with Randy De Meno (chief technologist) and David Ngo (director of engineering alliances) of CommVault at TechEd about the latest version of his company’s Simpana data protection software, which introduces a host of evolutionary features revolving around de-duplication, snapshot functionality, and virtualization. Simpana was a Best of TechEd finalist last year with version 8, but it was version 9's bevy of enhancements that brought CommVault to the winner's circle this year.
Simpana 9 now lets you de-duplicate data at the source, so that you can significantly speed up your backup times, reduce the amount of data traveling over your networks, and lessen the amount of data that you're storing. CommVault actually gives you the ability to perform end-to-end de-duplication across all storage tiers (source, secondary, archive, cloud)—a capability that De Meno refers to as “Universal Dedupe.”
Another striking new feature is Simpana 9's SnapProtect snapshot technology, which permits quick protection and recovery of virtual machines (VMs), with support for both Hyper-V and VMware. You can make snapshot copies of both physical and virtual arrays, then store them so that you can (very) quickly recover a production server. You can even restore individual files from VMs without needing to restore the entire VM. Arguably the best part about SnapProtect? Simpana can now bring data protection to customers wherever they are—including the cloud. CommVault snapshots also work with Microsoft SQL Server databases, and IBM's DB2 database.
According to CommVault, it has also expanded its snapshot technology to work across more storage platforms, including the HP EVA and storage arrays from IBM, Dell, and Oracle-Sun based on the LSI OEM platform—in addition to NetApp, EMC Clariion and Symmetrix, Dell EqualLogic, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM XIV arrays.
Simpana 9 also now includes FastPass, a utility to help migrate customer data from other data-protection products. After it reads configuration information from other product, you can start backing up data into the CommVault environment while maintaining usability with the older formats. So, you can combine legacy and new storage capabilities into a single, comprehensive solution.
CommVault's Simpana has always been an enterprise backup solution to be reckoned with, but this year, our judging team was particularly struck by the leaps the product has taken in version 9, especially in the realm of "Universal Dedupe," a terrific bottleneck-breaking solution. For more about Simpana 9, see the company website.