What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case is for Office 365 Backup. We started out as an Exchange Online only company. Then we were looking for some sort of backup solution to augment the existing Microsoft Office 365 archiving features for a price that was more compatible with our company versus what Microsoft was offering for their archiving solution. We also needed the ability to do time and date stamp retrievals. We ended up settling on Commvault at that time. We've been with them, and we've seen it more from being in the Commvault virtualized infrastructure to being the Metallic.io SaaS solution.
We protect mostly Exchange Online, but really we do the whole breadth of Office 365 with them. We were looking at some other solutions, but with them, we're doing our entire Office 365 Microsoft Online platform.
How has it helped my organization?
It has helped my organization because we don't have to have tapes. We're not paying for tapes, storage tapes, or storage ourselves. It's definitely a bonus. We're more efficient in all of our backups for Office 365 because it is in a single pane of glass. If we were to integrate Commvault on-premise, we'd be able to use the same pane of glass to manage both on-prem and cloud solutions. It's taken our backup from being a full-time job to being when you need it, set it up. Our users could be empowered to access their own data backups. Which means we can alleviate a lot of the administration from the backup administrator.
It has significantly reduced the amount of manual work required to manage our backup operations. We're going from an on-prem to a non-on-prem, we're all doing nonsolutions. So we really can't compare it against anything else.
The way we look at it is that before, we used to manage a separate backup solution for our on-prem environment. We had to make sure that our logs are flushed after the backup was complete. If the logs weren't flushed then it caused our on-prem Exchange to offline. There's a lot more management involved from that point of view. The other thing is that we would have to purchase the tapes. We have a tape rotation, we would have to ship tapes to an offsite location. If we need to restore, we had to go back to the offsite location, and get the restore. In some cases, exchanging restore on-premise could be a lot harder because it doesn't give you some of the brick level functionality.
What is most valuable?
My impressions of the backup and granular recovery of features are that they're constantly evolving and we've had such great contact with the engineering and development teams at Commvault while they were building out this product. We've seen the evolution of the product, and it has gone from being a platform as a service to a complete service option. The number of upgrades, updates, and ease-of-use features that they continue to build into it, has dramatically reduced the amount of time we spend looking for objects in the backup repositories.
In terms of the speed of both backup and recovery of Office 365 data, for backup, we have a very large Office 365 footprint. We have over almost 15,000 unique mailboxes, according to their metrics. The backup is at least thrice daily. I find it to be very fast compared to other options in the market right now. Especially that it can back up 15,000 users with no problem.
In terms of the ease of use, the original learning curve was a bit steep, but now I would say the overall ease of use, now that they've started with the latest releases of it is fairly intuitive. If I need to go look at my Exchange, so I go click on Exchange. If I need to look at my One Drive backups, I click on One Drive. It's fairly intuitive and it does a great job of guiding me when I'm not sure of where to go.
I haven't gone down the security road too much. However, I've never had a security concern with the product. The scalability and availability of it are outstanding. It's scaled with us. But as far as security goes, I've never had an issue or a concern, or if I did have a concern they were able to address it immediately.
We also haven't really gone too much into the flexibility in terms of where the data is stored but it's a great feature. We're only using a head-end and we're a complete SaaS offering, but we did explore the local active copies, et cetera. We decided that there was no need for us to keep the data on-premise if they're going to maintain it in Azure or AWS. So for us, it was a very easy decision to keep it in the cloud and not on-premise.
What needs improvement?
The navigation of it needs improvement in terms of the UX. The product itself, it works as expected. It's all user experience and user interface improvements that could be made and it could be made a little more consumer-friendly. Instead of having one person or a few people that know the system intimately, it gives us the ability for other people that don't have to know the system intimately be able to navigate it.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for two years.
It's a SaaS offering. It's deployed in our infrastructure and we have a single VM in our infrastructure that we use for pulling any backups down to our infrastructure that we need.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's appropriate for an enterprise-level environment. It's scaled with us from 900 mailboxes to 12,000 mailboxes, plus our scale of the Office 365 platform.
Before the COVID pandemic, we had six users using this solution. They're system administrators, they manage infrastructure and systems.
It has a 100% adoption rate. The product is being used every day. The backups are automated four times a day and we restore them on a need basis. We use the product every day.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their support is awesome. On a scale from one to ten, I would rate them a fifteen. The entire Commvault team always goes above and beyond every time, for everything.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We were on-prem before with an old version of Exchange, and we used old backup software to back it up.
How was the initial setup?
For us, the initial setup was complex because we were one of the first customers on this solution. However, we've reset it up a couple of times just as a demo for some of our subsidiaries, and the way the set works now is very straightforward, and very clean compared to what it was when we first got to it to 18 months to two years ago.
The configuration interface was fairly straightforward. Aside from the initial, "This is a product that we are building. You are a beta customer. You're one of our first few customers on the platform.", it was fairly straightforward. Now it's very point and click. It's very straightforward, very intuitive, and well automated.
The deployment took one week.
Our implementation strategy was to get it absorbing our email while we're still migrating users to Office 365 from our on-prem solutions. For us, it was a shotgun approach. I was adding more users to our office tenants than anybody had expected. When we were rolling out Commvault we were rolling out Office 365 at the same time, and it was overwhelming Microsoft at the same time. The implementation strategy was to try to run a slow controlled burn and cut people over as needed, but we managed to get Commvault set up. Then every day, myself and the team at Commvault, were checking to make sure that all the users we had just imported into Office 365 were imported into Commvault.
It wouldn't have been possible without the support team and the development team. The implementation that works now is very clean compared to what I went through. They made themselves so available to us when we were doing our implementation that the reason it took so long to implement was because they were waiting for me for the next step.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Metallic provides us with more predictable costs for our backup requirements. They charge us on a model that we understand. We understand the pricing model a little bit differently.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We investigated Backup Exec and Backupify. Backupify and Commvault were the top two. They were the two that we had narrowed in on, based on our needs analysis. We chose Commvault simply because of the scalability and expertise in enterprise.
Backupify was a SaaS solution and they had many similar features. But at the time they wanted us to add more service than we were expecting. They were fantastic competitor and they did everything we wanted them to do, just like Commvault. But we went with Commvault specifically because of their enterprise heritage.
We started with a free trial of Commvault. It might've been a POC then we just went from there.
What other advice do I have?
They do a fantastic job with their documentation, so you can follow their documentation and implement it.
I would rate it an eight out of ten. We can't compare it against another staff solution that we're using. So for now it works for us, we're not seeing any issues, and it's better than what we used on-prem.