Commvault Review

Provides a single solution to recover data

What is our primary use case?

We use it to backup and protect our virtual environments. We do Active Directory, SQL, file server, and some application levels backups. We do Office 365 and SharePoint backups too.

We back up everything locally first, then store it in the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides us a single solution to recover data. We haven't had a lot of restore requests. There have been a couple of them where we had to restore a full server and the work involved was very minimal. We were able to run a quick restore job. We did not really run into any challenges doing this. Every once in a while, we receive requests for files or emails that people have lost and those files are in SharePoint or OneDrive. We have the ability to restore it within 30 days directly from the portal. But if it's beyond the 30 days, we use Commvault to restore data and that has worked absolutely fine.

It has helped us drive innovation and accelerate growth. From a growth perspective, this storage solution has clearly helped us. The option for us to save the data in the cloud is very valuable for the organization.

The solution has helped our admins to minimize the time they spend on backup tasks and other projects. We have an administrator who manages the system. I'm more of an architect. Compared to the previous product where the administrator had to go around and look for a lot of information before he could find out whether the backup had competed successfully and the reporting structure was not that great, the reporting structure now with Commvault is where he can get daily emails from the jobs which have been completed. If there are any issues with jobs, he can directly drill-down to the details and find out why the job failed or why it did not run on time since there may be other dependencies that won't allow the job to run.

What is most valuable?

All the features used right now have been very valuable. The biggest advantage for us right now is the ability to back up our Office 365 mailboxes along with all our SharePoint and OneDrive data. Because all our users mostly store all their data in these locations, it is important for us that we back up all these services.

It provides us a good holistic view of everything that we have backed up so far. It also provides us all the recovery points. If we look at an an object that has been backed up, we can tell how many retention copies it has, how far we can go, and recover any data, if needed.

What needs improvement?

I have written a lot of different reviews about the product and every time I have mentioned the user interface is not user-friendly, e.g., the admin portal is not user-friendly. It definitely takes a lot of understanding to get familiar with the portal. However, once you are completely familiar with it, then it is pretty easy to manage. It's not something that you can jump in right away and start, knowing what exactly is going on. There are a lot of places that you need to look around to understand how the backups are configured.

The administration of the solution could be simplified. This would really make the administrator's life easier.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Commvault since early 2017. We are in our third year right now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been pretty stable. We have not run into a situation where our systems were compromised. However, we have run into system corruption issues and were back in business within about two hours.

Right now, we only have one primary administrator for this product. We have a couple of backups in case this person or another is on vacation. We have other people who have been provided good knowledge transfer on how this product works. This way, if either of them is unavailable, there is somebody who can do the job.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is definitely scalable. We are able to scale as we need, whether we need to add any compute, storage, or additional licenses for user accounts. All of that is very flexible when it comes to scalability. If we want to add more users to our Office 365 backup, we can quickly get new licenses from the vendor with a quick turnaround time. As soon as we get that, we are able to add those users' data to our backups. We generally have a buffer. However, sometimes if there are a lot of new hires, then we need to go in and secure new licenses.

We are using more space than what we were previous using, mainly because we did not have a lot of flexibility with the previous product that we were using. So, there was not much room for us to store the data for a long duration. At the same time, we did not have enough on premise storage capacity to leave the data around for a long time. Therefore, data growth has been significant over the past years because we have been able to store data. So, we are leaving the data on-premise for 30 days, then we moving it to the cloud. Most of the data is now in the cloud, but even on-premise we are now able to back up a lot of systems that we were not able to back up earlier. We have seen significant storage growth on long-term systems, because we are now backing those up and the data is there.

It is only my team managing the system. We back up all the data that the end user has. If they need help restoring their data, then one of my team members will go in and restore the data. The user has no direct interaction with the product.

It is pretty extensively used right now. It is backing up all the data that we have right now. We are looking into some additional features, so we might not start looking at those until later this year. Commvault has come out with some new features and we want to look into those. For the first two years, it was a stabilization period for us to get the product implemented, ensure everything was stabilized, all the important data was being protected, and data was being stored in necessary places. We also looked at all the trending over the last two years to ensure we had enough capacity in all the areas to maintain the server and storage space. Now, we are at the stage where we are pretty comfortable on how we can scale this product when needed. We are looking into additional features that Commvault has, and we will start looking into these towards the end of the year.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been good. I haven't had a lot of interactions.

Every once in a while when we have to make any architectural changes to the deployment, my administrators reach out and consult with me. We sometimes engage with the support team or Professional Services team. Their responses have been pretty good so far. We have never had a situation where we were kept waiting for days to get an answer or solution.

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

I used Commvault from 2011 to 2012 at one of my previous organization, but it was only for a short period of time that I worked with it. I then had to move onto other things. That experience helped me when we deployed the newer version of Commvault. At the time, it was Commvault Simpana, and now, it's only Commvault. That experience helped us to understand its requirements and how we could set it up.

We were using Dell EMC Data Protection Rapid Recovery. It wasn't flexible nor scalable. It did not meet all our requirements. It wasn't able to back up physical and cloud environments. It could not store data in the cloud, so we had to look at options to store and protect our data. We were unable to back up our Office 365 and SharePoint data. With Commvault, it has made it seamless for us to store data in the cloud, not only protect it. 

We can set up proper retention policies now. So, if we need to store any data, for example, over a year, seven years, or 10 years, we can accordingly store it. We can then apply policy to that storage, which after that retention period, we will not have to go in and do a manual cleanup.

How was the initial setup?

The deployment took about a month. The planning was another month or two.

We wanted to ensure that we were able to protect all our systems and data not protected up until then. At the same time, the strategy was that we did not want to incur a lot of significant costs on just deploying the solution itself. Plus, we did not want a lot of administrative overhead while maintaining the servers and application environment. We did not want that routine daily administration activity. We wanted to set up the environment and not worry about it until something went wrong.

What about the implementation team?

We had assistance from the vendor, so they did assist with the setup. The system was completely new for some of my team members who had never worked with it before, so it did take them a lot of time to get familiar with it. Those administrators are able to manage the system very well now compared to what they were able to do in their first year when they had to frequently go back to the vendor and ask them, "How do we do this? How can we do that?"

We worked directly with the vendor. The vendor's Professional Services team was able to assist us with the deployment.

What was our ROI?

After deploying the Commvault solution, we are saving four to five hours a week.

We have been able to save on infrastructure costs by not storing long-term data onto systems. Instead, we have been able to store them on cheaper cloud systems. There is a lot of savings there if you consider all the cost involved to store data on an on-premise server storage system, plus the maintenance, and the support which goes behind maintaining that system. 

I have seen return of investment.

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

There is a bit of cost involved with signing up the entire solution. It's not a cheap solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate Veeam and Cohesity. 

At the time, Cohesity was not mature, as they were fairly new to the business. We had a few meetings with them, and after our discussions, we found that the solution might not meet all our requirements. E.g., the physical server backup was one important feature that was not supported at the time. 

Veeam is a platform that I have extensively worked with in all my previous roles at other companies. So, we do have a Veeam implementation that is used by a different team in our organization. They manage all their backups through Veeam. Our plan was not to use the same solution in all environments. We wanted to use different solutions within the entire organization for exposure to multiple data protection solutions. Also, Veeam did not support physical machine backups and only supported virtual machine backups.

In my previous deployment, there were no cloud features. The cloud was not popular and everything was on-prem. Even when we moved to Commvault, Veeam lacked a lot of features, which is why Commvault seems to be the best choice for us.

We already had our cloud solution in place. After understanding that Commvault does work with that cloud provider and it would help us store our data, we did not have any further concerns about cloud vendor selection. The cloud environment and Commvault environment were set up around the same time. We moved to the cloud at the end of 2016, and then, in early 2017, we moved to Commvault. So, everything worked out well.

What other advice do I have?

Go through an assessment first before selecting the product. Every business is different and has different requirements. Do a complete assessment with the data protection partner, whether it's Commvault, Veeam, Cohesity, or someone else. Go through a proof of concept, if possible. Mind your business requirements, RPO, and RTO. Look at your budget too. This should help you to make the right decision.

The biggest lesson would be to have a proper data protection strategy for the organization. There were a lot of things that we had to implement after implementing the product. It's better if you completely understand your business requirements, then implement this product.

I would give it a rating of an eight (out of 10) because it does not have an easy deployment. The deployment is not something that just anybody can go in and deploy. It needs a good level of understanding for deployment. Once you deploy, you need to be familiar with how to administer the product, how to set up all the reporting, etc. Just navigating the admin interface is not really that easy.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**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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