Commvault Review

Enabled us to consolidate multiple backup solutions into one, and it is a platform we can rely on for backups


What is our primary use case?

Commvault is used to back up all environments that we are hosting in our data centers. It goes from physical machines to virtual machines, and from legacy environments to our latest environments. It goes from Windows Servers, Linux servers, AIX for IBM servers, and we also back up a lot of databases, including Microsoft SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Db2, SAP Hana, and Oracle. It also handles specific workloads like Exchange and SharePoint. We also have a lot of physical agents that we use on Windows and Mac OS machines. We use a lot of agents in our environments.

The solution is hosted on-prem and we're currently backing up only on-prem workloads. We are planning to back up cloud workloads in the future. We are going to start a proof of concept for backing up Office 365 and other things, but at the moment we only back up on-prem workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

Something that really made a difference for us when we implemented Commvault, is that before we used Commvault we had at least three different backup solutions. With Commvault we were able to consolidate all the backup solutions in one. Currently, we have more than 26,000 jobs running every day in Commvault. We back up all our environments within the data center. And we have an SLA for backup success of more than 99.5 percent. For us, using Commvault is really a relief. We don't have to worry much about the backups. Every morning, when we look at the report coming from Commvault, we only have a few jobs to check. Most of the time, the jobs that have failed are because of an issue with the server that was being backed up, and not because of the Commvault software. This is really a platform that we can rely on for backups.

Commvault provides us with a single platform to move, manage, and recover our data across our on-premise environment. Every morning, on the operations side, we receive one report which shows just the backups that failed because we don't have to worry about the successful ones. Our operations people have to look at the failed jobs. It automatically opens a ticket for them. Our operations people spend about 30 minutes on all the backup jobs during the day, correcting whatever issues there are.

It saves our backup admins an hour a day, every day, on operational tasks because, instead of having to go to three different tools, they just look at everything in one tool. For us, an hour a day is a lot.

We have used Commvault to recover from accidental data loss or deletion or because people did the wrong things on a server. We use the restore functionality a lot on a day-to-day basis. We have never had to do full disaster recovery, and I do not expect we will reach that point. But I'm sure we could rely on the backup because we have never had a backup that we couldn't restore, so far. I fully rely on the data-reliability that we have with Commvault.

When it comes to recovery, we save time on the operational side. The operations are well-documented, the procedures are quite easy and the people here have been well-trained. So on the operational side, people can easily recover the data. But on the performance side, I don't think Commvault would be more performant than any other solution. It's more that with the good documentation and the good operational procedures that we have put in place, we are able to quickly recover. We have procedures for every recovery needed. If people need to recover data from any application, then we are ready.

What is most valuable?

There are two user interfaces, the old one and the new one. The old one is the one that we mainly use, the Java-based console. It's complex but it allows us to do many things in different ways. I usually describe it as something very complex, but where you can do everything you want. But the downside of it is that you need to have experienced people to be able to work with that console. You cannot have people who do backups from time-to-time, because they aren't able to work with the old console.

That's why they designed the new console which is more user-oriented and more user-friendly. But in our environment, which is quite complex, we still use the old console, which allows us to do everything we want and to back up all our environments with specific settings. We are using it in a multi-tenant environment. We have internal customers, so we can also give them permissions to only see the things they're authorized to see, and they can manage their own stuff if necessary.

We use Commvault IntelliSnap a lot. It's a very good product and has the functionality to enable a snapshot of a vendor's storage. We are also able to leverage a storage vendor's snapshot in a very good way with Commvault. It really helps to speed up the backup process for some of our environments.

What needs improvement?

The software is good, but I always have issues with the documentation and, especially, the communication regarding new functionality. Commvault has a new maintenance release every three months, and it's always hard to know exactly what has changed in the software. They have improved a bit on that topic by communicating what has changed, but there is still a lot of room for improvement on that side.

In addition, I always say the marketing could be stronger at Commvault. For example, when I talk to people regarding backup software, and I mention that we use Commvault, more than 50 percent of the people I talk to have never heard about Commvault. If you talk about Veeam or NetBackup, they will know the software, but most of the time people don't know what Commvault is. They definitely need to be more aggressive on the marketing side. 

This is true in Switzerland, where we are located, but we often talk with our Asian colleagues because they come to us for advice regarding software they should implement in our remote branches in Asia. Most of the time, if we mention that we use Commvault, some people have never heard of it. Sometimes they say that they wouldn't find enough resources or partners in their country to help them implement Commvault. Most of the time we say, "Yeah, if you can't find the right resources to implement Commvault, don't implement it. In that case, you've got to go to a well-known solution."

Also, Commvault has not really helped us to optimize infrastructure usage, such as by reducing storage space. In our latest project, we are not relying anymore on Commvault data reduction. We have invested in other backup hardware. We still use the Commvault software, but we have purchased new hardware for backup storage and that provides a lot better data reduction than what Commvault currently provides. I wouldn't say that we saved costs with Commvault on infrastructure. Rather, we are able to save more on costs with other vendors, on the storage side.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Commvault for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We can really rely on it. We have 26,000 jobs running every day with more than 99.5 percent of successful jobs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our current goal is to extend Commvault to the cloud instance that we want to back up. We want to start backing up Office 365, for example, and Microsoft Azure instances. We are going to have a look at the new backup as a service product, which is called Metallic. This is a new offering and we're waiting for Metallic to come to Europe to give it a test run.

Our operation team, including me, has five people who use Commvault on a day-to-day basis. But we have also provided access to the DBA team and to the Exchange people, etc. Around 20 to 25 people regularly use the software in our company.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have very good support from Commvault if there are issues. If something occurs, and we don't have the competency to troubleshoot it, we know we can rely on Commvault support to help us troubleshoot these issues.

It's the best support I have ever experienced.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The three solutions that we were using in the past were Backup Exec for some smaller workloads, NetBackup for most workloads, and some NetApp backup tools. We leveraged the snap functionality of NetApp to do backups. 

The primary reason we switched to Commvault was to consolidate everything in one solution. It gives us a single pane of glass to manage all the backup environments. Now, every morning, our operations people only have to look at one console and they can directly see which backups failed and which were successful. In addition, we don't have to deal with two or three vendors for support. We have only one vendor.

And Commvault can back up all environments that we have. It is really something to be able to focus and have a single solution to back up all our environments.

We can now even introduce cloud backup, if necessary, and new workloads. This is really good for us.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is complex. I would definitely recommend using Professional Services for implementing Commvault. This is not something you should be doing on your own, especially in large environments.

When I say "large environments," Commvault has to be really well-sized in terms of the resources that you assign to the servers or the components that you need to put in place for the backup. If you don't put the right components in place or you don't think about the global picture from the beginning, you may have trouble. You could recover from this, but it's better to have people with experience who will help you to do the right sizing from the beginning. They have experience with areas where you may need to pay more attention, and you're sure to have a successful deployment from the beginning.

In our large environment, it took more than one year to deploy it for the aspects that we wanted to back up. It is not only a large environment but it's complex, based on different software and different hardware vendors that we wanted to integrate. So it took some time to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish.

We back up more than 5,000 virtual machines and we have deployed more than 1,900 agents in our infrastructure.

What about the implementation team?

We used Professional Services from Commvault. We do not have really good partners or people in Switzerland to help us with the implementation, so Professional Services was the best way to go. Their people are trained and have experience.

Our experience with Commvault's Professional Services during our deployment process was very good. All the people who came here to help us with the different projects and the implementation are really well-trained and well-experienced. You can really rely on these people. Based on their experience, they will tell you what to do and what not to do. It really helps to speed up the process and the project.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen ROI. As I mentioned, on the operational side, we have really saved a lot of time, and therefore money. It makes our life easier, knowing that we can rely on the backup software.

The solution's model is cost-efficient. There's always room for improvement, for everyone, but in terms of costs and the value we get, we have no regrets with this solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Like with other vendors, you have to have a good discussion regarding the price and get the best discount you can get.

Something that we put in place with Commvault was the Enterprise support program. That means we have a support account manager assigned to our account as well as a technical account manager, and that really makes a difference. These two people really care about us and they really proactively support us, helping us to escalate a case if necessary. They are really doing a good job. I would recommend to people, if they can afford it, because it has a price, to definitely go with Enterprise support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I cannot say that we are saving on infrastructure, because Commvault is not the only one that has a solution that can back up everything in one place. I don't feel that we are saving on infrastructure costs with Commvault, because we need some components to make the infrastructure work. Compared to other vendors, I don't see that we are saving there. It's more that we rely on the software and the solution than on saving costs with the solution.

What other advice do I have?

Plan for your implementation with the help of Professional Services, if yours is a medium to large environment, because this is not something you can start implementing without having a design in mind and without planning. This is complex software, but it does the job in the end. However, you cannot deploy it like a Veeam in a small environment. It's something that's designed for medium and large environments. You have to think ahead about what you're going to achieve with the software.

I've never come across a situation where we have not been able to restore something. If we have a backup somewhere, I know that we can restore it. Definitely. When you know that, it means you can rely on your backup software and it makes you more confident. You can tell people, "Okay, I can restore it for you if I have the backup."

We are just starting to use and explore the Command Center. Our goal is to use it for customers in the future. Our backup admin will still use the old console but the end-users will be given the Command Center in the future.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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