Commvault Review

The single pane of glass allows my engineers to quickly find and resolve an issue, and reporting is very customizable


What is our primary use case?

Commvault is our primary solution for all backup and recovery; for index, for analytics, for everything.

How has it helped my organization?

When it comes to the storage that we use for backup and data aging, we were limited, at first, by the amount of storage that we could provide for onsite storage and archiving. Commvault's compression and deduplication within the application is allowing us to almost triple the amount of storage. For example, at one of our primary sites we're only able to store about 60 terabytes of capacity, but we actually back up 1.5 petabytes. We're able to squeeze that into the 66-terabyte license capacity. That is huge and saves us quite a bit of money in storage, and even more money on license capacity.

The solution also helps our admins to minimize the time they spend on backup tasks and to spend time on other projects. Throughout the corporation, we only have a handful of people who deal with the backup and recovery portion of our operations. With the number of requests that come in from time to time, it's nice to know that the single pane of glass, and the application as a whole, allow my engineers to quickly find an issue or resolve an issue that our users are having.

What is most valuable?

All its features are useful and beneficial, but if I had to pick two it would be the reporting and the support that they offer.

I'm a big fan of the reporting. You can build your own reports; it's very customizable. You can have individual reports going to groups of people or individuals. You can have them go out multiple times a day. It's basically a free-for-all as far as reporting goes. If anybody wants a specific job report every day, you can build it, schedule it, and have it go out and never touched it again. It's pretty nice.

Commvault also provides us with a single platform to move, manage, and recover our data across on-premise locations. I've done it multiple times. I've restored files, virtual machines, databases; everything from one location to another location within the United States. I've moved virtual machines, databases, and files between the two. An easier solution than the normal way of moving a server or application is to run a restore to another location. It runs faster and it's encrypted. It provides us with ease of use, instead of using a third-party tool. And I know that everything, all the permissions, all the user access, remains the same no matter where I restore to.

What needs improvement?

Their single pane of glass solution is daunting at first. It's not the easiest interface but, as with anything that you use, eventually you'll get better and better at it. I've worked closely with their user experience team to improve their web-based command tool. 

We try not to use the CommCell tool that is provided, because it's a little old and a little too powerful to give everyone access to it. So we've started using their Command Center tool. At first, it was hard to find things with that, but you end up finding them. Command Center definitely gives us a complete view of our data. But finding some of the granular, very small items that we sometimes have to find, such as auxiliary copies for tapes, I still find that it's easier to navigate and, sometimes, only possible to find them using the CommCell tool. Maybe that's just an area that hasn't been added to the Command Center yet.

Since I only use the backup and recovery, I'm not using Activate or Orchestrate. And I am strictly on-prem so I'm not using any of the Metallic or Hedvig solutions. I can only speak for backup and recovery. I would like to see a little bit more access into the CommCell areas via the Command Center. That would be my only small request.

In 2019 there was a flaw with their Active Directory plan which didn't actually allow you to recover the full Active Directory properly. I brought that to their attention and they made the change and fixed it. That was the only area that needed to be fixed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Commvault for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. To be completely frank, I beat the heck out of it, 24/7 and 365. We're a healthcare laboratory company that never closes. We're an around-the-clock operation in all of our locations. The backup jobs are running, and the reports are running, around the clock. Everything runs constantly but we have had zero downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales out pretty easily. There's not much on the Commvault side that scales out; it's more the storage repository that's required. There's not much it can't do. 

One thing that I have been requesting is a Linux-based virtual server agent. You have to stick with Windows for the actual CommServe. We'd like to move to a Linux-based OS to release some licensing. I'm sure, eventually, that will come. We have a few Macs in our environment with Commvault on them. We don't often use the Edge client that they provide because the laptops and desktops we have use what is called DFS or file redirection. The files that they have saved are saved on the server instead of their laptop. Since we deal with PI and PHI, we can't have any of that stuff on a laptop. We have 10 Edge backup licenses and we have it on four or five of them, and one of them is a Mac.

Everybody in our company is affected by Commvault. We have about 7,500 employees and everybody uses a product or an application or a database or a server that is involved with Commvault.

For deployment and maintenance of Commvault we have just five people. That includes me as a data center manager and the other four are server engineers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Commvault's support is a 10 out of 10. I've learned so much from the support. They're very fast and they're very flexible. If they can't figure out a solution right away, they offer a work-around pretty quickly and they always want you involved with the solution. They even offer custom solutions for things that their applications don't do. If you run into a service pack limitation or a limitation with the product itself, they'll actually add the solution they come up with as a feature in their application.

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

We needed to pick a global solution. I had been reading about Simpana, which is Commvault now, for a while and I had the opportunity to jump right into it and learn about it while deploying it. I had never used it. Everything, on paper, was exactly what we needed as far as it enabling a very granular setup goes, without it being a one-size-fits-all-application. That's what I liked about it: being able to customize and mold each location to use Commvault.

I had other requirements but they were requirements that I didn't know that I had until after I had found that I could do them in Commvault.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is extremely easy. The first time I did it I was a little worried that I didn't do it properly because it was so easy. The overall configuration is a little bit more difficult, but that's roadmap-based configuration, so you have to think very far down the road when putting this together. You can't be thinking, "Oh, I only need this for a couple of months." It's a 10-year plan.

The setup itself took a couple of hours.

What about the implementation team?

Since I had never used Commvault before, we had implementation support from Commvault. They walked me through it. They asked questions and I gave them answers and then they showed me what they were doing. What they showed me made sense. From there, the configuration started, which was mostly on my part. A lot of it was pretty straightforward. There are things that are difficult in a domain environment, things that take a little bit of configuration, such as setting up additional users and passwords for service accounts. But overall, it's a very streamlined process.

What was our ROI?

I think Commvault's model is now cost-efficient. When we first started with Commvault, I thought it was overpriced. I thought, "That's a lot of money for a piece of software." But as I used it, and developed a trust in and knowledge of the application, I definitely was made aware, very quickly, of how it was worth every penny. Over the years, it has actually become cheaper, due to the fact that I've become smarter about how to use it better. With that knowledge, you learn how to save money with the application.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've used other solutions in the past, such as vRanger, Symantec Endpoint Protection, Metalogix for Exchange, as well as Data Domain. For data recovery, the others are definitely not as streamlined. I've had quite a few situations where I've had to recover large amounts of data but I don't have a comparison of the recovery times of Commvault versus the others because, in the last five years, all I've used is Commvault. All my large or business-critical restorations have been with Commvault. But judging by what I've done in the past, Commvault is far easier and far more consistent than any other application I've used.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of advice, the biggest thing I would like to say is don't look at it as a dinosaur. A lot of people associate Commvault with being old and antiquated, and not having all the bells and whistles. If you look past that, you'll see that it's more far more capable than anything else that's on the market. You have to get through the complexity of the application and from there you have to trust that it will do what you want it to do.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using Commvault is don't be afraid to call support.

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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