Commvault Review
One of the biggest features is the global deduplication of our data sets.


Improvements to My Organization

We have changed out approach to our ROBO backup solution. Utilising Commvault we can now automate the decommissioning of our remote project sites and convert these on-premise backups into Azure hosted VMs. This not only brings the service online faster for our users but also reduces the operational impact of our remote IT staff, as they now no longer need to manually manage the data into the cloud or our eventual archive platform.

Valuable Features

One of the biggest features is the global deduplication of our data sets. AWE have deployed a disk-to-disk-to-cloud solution for our on-premise backups. The capacity savings of this approach lead to significant cost savings on the long term retention of data in the cloud for us.

We have also been very impressed with the integration with public cloud services. We have deployed our Commvault environment on-premise and into Azure and this has given us the ability to not only make use of cloud storage for long tern retention, but also achieve the same level of protection as our on-premise systems for our Azure hosted IaaS VMs. We have also deployed backups from Commvault in Azure to our Office 365 install base too.

The cloud integration is a massive win for us, giving us a single backup service for all of our on-premise and cloud systems.

I have also been very happy with the automated updating of the platform. Since we have been running the platform we have had around five service packs released. These are automatically updated after a period of time (we set the system to defer updates for one month). The updates run without service disruption and patches the central management system, the media agents and the client agents too. Compared to our previous vendor this is another huge operational saving for out IT staff and ensures we get to utilize the new features that are dropped with each new SP.

Room for Improvement

The new HTML5-based management portals are very nice, but do not yet have all of the features of the Java-based client. I’d like to see all of the features move over to HTML5 so that we do not have to use Java ideally.

Stability Issues

We have had no issues with stability. The service has been running for 18 months with no loss of service due to the platform.

Scalability Issues

We have grown our initial, on-premise VM-only backup solution to cover all three of our on-premise datacentres as well as our Azure IaaS and O365 environments. This was easy to do and the central management tool set easily coped with our rapid scaling up to our entire estate.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

We have had excellent engagement with our account team and they have been very helpful in ensuring that we get the most out of the platform. We get regular contact and they are keen to listen to data management issues that we have and see how they can address them with the Commvault platform. This has led us to be engaged in a couple of Beta test programmes and get early access to new features in some cases that resolved our challenges.

Technical Support:

Very good! We have had some very good dealings with support. In the main, this has been around us securing new systems and tweaking policies to get the best result for our infrastructure. In most cases the person answering the call resolved the ticket first time. When calls were escalated, the response was fast and the issue resolved to our satisfaction.

Previous Solutions

We often had scale issues with our previous vendor deployment or found other solutions were better for a particular system and so would introduce differing technologies to address these challenges. This led us to have a large and awkward-to-manage backup estate.

The biggest driver for us was to get all of the backup services into one tool set and to get better control and visibility of our data estate.

Initial Setup

The initial deployment was straightforward. The only complex part was seeding our initial backup into Azure as, at the time, we were not on Express Route. We set bandwidth limits for aux copies during the working day and allowed the copies to burst out-of-hours. This just meant it took a week or so for the initial seeding to complete but all subsequent incremental copies ran fine.

After implementing Express Route we changes our architecture to copy the data through Azure hosted media agents into Azure storage. This then allowed us to seed much faster, although we now use the Azure import service for migrating large archive sets when required, as this is the fastest/cheapest approach we have found.

Implementation Team

We used a vendor team to perform our initial deployment (a single resource). The consultant was very knowledgeable on the Commvault platform and made good recommendations regarding policy approaches to the various services we were targeting. The consultant performed a handover to our internal staff and we complimented this with certified training courses for the team who engage with our backup solution the most so that they could take on the task of scaling the deployment to the rest of our estate.

ROI

We have consolidated all of our backup technologies into the single platform and reduced maintenance costs and complexity in doing so. The OPEX costs equate to around the same but the biggest value returns have been in addressing our scale issues, ensuring compliance with backup policies and a significant reduction in operational staff’s time to manage the estate.

Pricing, License Cost and Setup

There is now a subscription based licence option that, depending on your environment, could offer a more efficient method to licence the solution if you are OPEX cost driven rather than CAPEX. This was not a concern for our deployment and we implemented on perpetual licences which had more commercial value to our business.

Other Solutions Considered

Initially we were looking at Veeam, as our first challenge was to address our on-premise VMware estate. Although they had a good vSphere integrated solution, we found limitations in cloud and beyond the virtual environment to be an issue for us. This was driven form our desire to have a tool set which could encompass all of our estate and allow us to simplify management and compliance etc.

Other Advice

Take the opportunity when engaging the Commvault sales team to walk them through other data management challenges that you have. You’ll likely find that the "backup" solution that you were looking for might be able to address these challenges and provide you with a greater ROI. This certainly worked for us and we have several new initiatives being developed to get more even value out of our deployment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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