Commvault Review

A simple and unified backup solution that scales well and keeps our customers happy


What is our primary use case?

We provide our clients with this solution. Most of my customers use Commvault as a backup solution only.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution solves a lot of issues for the customers. Other solutions, such as EMC, offer an entire set of software products as part of the solution, whereas Commvault offers everything in one software application. This makes it very easy to replace competing backup solutions.

Secondly, the solution does not restrict our customers in terms of backup infrastructure. They can go and buy appliances from different partners, such as NetApp. Competing solutions are more strict with respect to the backup infrastructure, and customers don't like it. With an enterprise-level customer, you can imagine how the backup infrastructure costs grow.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the backup functionality. This solution is very good for server application backup, backing up laptops, desktops, file shares, etc. The architecture is well suited for it.

The highlight of the solution is the licensing. This is a one-window solution where you don't need to purchase different products. If you compare this to Veritas, they have different solutions such as Backup Exec, and NetBackup for servers. In Commvault, it is single product management.

The backup appliance makes it very easy for the customer to plan for future growth.

The database architecture of Commvault does not require you to have a particular database for different kinds of workloads. For example, the server, desktop, and laptop use a single, global application database. You don't have to create a different database and don't need to expand your backup infrastructure altogether.

What needs improvement?

From the perspective of the enterprise cloud archiving software, it does not resolve all of the data solutions that the customers are expecting. It works, but it is not up to the mark. They still need some time to improve the archiving and offer it within the single console management. We do not pitch the Commvault archiving solution to our customers. If they ask for it due to reasons of legality or compliance then we can supply it, but we prefer not to offer the Commvault archiving solution.

We did a POC with one of our customers who is archiving more than fifty thousand email accounts, all over the world, on a daily basis, and Commvault failed miserably. It was not able to provide that kind of performance. It can be good for up to three hundred user mailboxes, but not more than that.

The stability of this product, as a whole, needs to be improved to compete with archiving solutions such as Enterprise Vault.

Support for this product needs to be improved because I have seen a couple of cases where it is taking more than the required time to solve issues.

The documentation is not up to the mark. They need to improve their support documentation because it is a little bit weak.

They need to expand more into private, hybrid, and public cloud systems. They need to be even more open than they are now with respect to integrating with public cloud systems. Cloud is the platform that system integrators are now selling, so it is important to have that support.

For how long have I used the solution?

Between two and three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The backup performance and management are ok. However, when something is not working, it is probably fifty percent due to product immaturity.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution is fine. It is much more scalable and flexible than everything else in the market. It is the one thing that they are good at. There is no doubt that they have simplified the licensing and purchasing model.

One of our enterprise-level customers for this solution is a very large telecom. They have lots of users. There are different databases and applications including Oracle, their ERP solution, Financial Suite, Greenplum, their CRM, filesharing services, and others. They also have a heterogeneous environment that includes Linux, Unix, Solaris, and Windows. There is also virtualization using VMware and Oracle virtual machines. Commvault is the only software that they have for performing backups, so they are one hundred percent reliant on it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I do not have direct contact with technical support, so to be fair, my opinion is based on everything that I hear from the implementation team. In this context, I feel that the support for this solution, overall, needs improvement.

The documentation is weak, and they need to improve their support portal. They should be aware of the known issues in the market and address them. In general, their support needs improving.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

Our large telecom client switched to the Commvault solution because of both cost and complexity. This product provides them with a simplified, unified solution. What they used previously was a set of several solutions. There were different backup solutions for the different platforms, desktops were backed up separately, there was different hardware to store it, and there was another tool for regulatory compliance. Each task used a different software application, and by implementing Commvault it brought everything into one solution and solved all of their problems.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. However, issues do not start at the initial setup stage. Once the environment is set up and you are going to take the backup job, pushing the enterprise policies, then problems can arise. It may be because of the backend infrastructure or the network, or something else. Whatever the issue, it is at this point where our customers sometimes need better support.

When it comes to the implementation and deployment, from day one until the backup process begins, it should not take more than one week. This is for a new system.

The deployment time for our enterprise-level, telecom customer was longer than average, in part because they already had an existing backup solution and they had to migrate to Commvault. It needed to be planned and implemented gradually, which required some cutoff dates. From start to finish, including streamlining the documentation and handing over everything, it took approximately one month.

What about the implementation team?

We normally handle the implementation of this solution for our customers. If we are having a problem, or the transition is not smooth, then we involve Commvault to assist with the implementation.

I do not have direct experience working with the Commvault support, but I have heard that they are fair. 

What was our ROI?

Without stating numbers that are confidential, I can say my understanding is that our clients have seen ROI.

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

The licensing is very simple, and one of the advantages of this solution. They have a subscription-based license, as well as a perpetual option, but that is all they have. It is easy to understand. There are no additional costs beyond the standard licensing fees.

The licensing fees depend on the size of the solution and the kinds of workloads. There are hardware costs, software costs, licensing, subscription, and support costs. Support contracts can be for one, two, or five years. All of this needs to be considered.

Overall, this solution provides value for the money. In my experience, compared to solutions like Veritas and Veeam, while they do have their technical pluses and minuses, Commvault can save you on average forty percent initially, and then twenty to twenty-five percent annually.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are partners with several different vendors, and I evaluate solutions based upon the customer's needs. These include solutions from Veritas, Commvault, and others. Before I reach out to them, I know what their hardware costs will be, and how much it will cost to maintain each solution. I also know what the costs are to maintaining their existing solution, and can compare this for them. This is how I can show them, for example, that their ROI will be realized within a couple of years.

What other advice do I have?

I have been using backup technology for more than fifteen years.

Commvault claims that they are doing all kind of things with archiving and compliance, but I have discussed this with my implementation team and they have not been receiving good feedback. There are a lot of issues in managing it.

When it comes to a backup solution, however, I do not suggest anything other than Commvault. It gives me room so that I can meet the customer's requirements both in terms of budget and performance, and they are happy with it.

For anybody who is implementing this solution, I would suggest only doing a POC if absolutely necessary. It drags out the implementation, so it should be minimized if it is done at all. 

In summary, this is a unified product that is simple to use. It is a good backup solution.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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