Bob Hammer, CEO, CommVault

"There are a lot of innovations we think we can bring to the market."

February 15, 2008

5 Min Read
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CommVault will make its new Simpana software suite the platform for a range of enhancements that include de-duplication, automated records management, desktop management, database management, and support for virtualized environments.

"There are a lot of innovations we think we can bring to the market," says Bob Hammer, CEO of CommVault. And while he's careful to avoid specifics, it's clear that CommVault's intent on leveraging the success it's seeing with Simpana.

We caught up with Hammer this week -- three days after the company's latest earnings report and just before he jumped on a plane -- to ask him about these and other topics. Here's the gist of our talk:

Byte and Switch: So how many customers and employees does CommVault have today?

Hammer: We have 7,500 customers and about 840 employees. One third of those customers are enterprise customers, defined as those who have purchased more than $100,000 of any category of our products. That's up 47 percent since the same quarter last year... Thirty-three percent of our customers are enterprise and the rest are SMB [companies spending $15,000 to $50,000], with a strong emphasis on the "M."Byte and Switch: Simpana seems to be doing well.

Hammer: The Simpana suite sale is becoming pretty standard now for larger accounts. Enterprises are buying more and more of our software applications... Emerging products [Simpana] grew by north of 100 percent last year.

Byte and Switch: So you're still primarily an SMB company with growth in the enterprise.

Hammer: I didn't say that! We started out as an SMB company. We are transitioning ourselves. If you go back in time, the amount of revenue going to the enterprise is increasing. Simpana is an enterprise-focused suite that has the capability of playing very well in the SMB part of the market.

Figure 1: N. Robert Hammer, CEO, CommVault

To Page 2

Byte and Switch: Let's talk about your competition.

Hammer: [Sighs.] Our largest competitor is Symantec and we compete against IBM, EMC, HP, and CA in our core markets... We compete with Symantec in core backup and recovery and in archiving for remote offices. We don't compete with them in security, of course.

Byte and Switch: What's your biggest differentiator?

Hammer: From Symantec? Symantec's products don't work well together. Their notion of integration is different from ours.Byte and Switch: It seems OEM and reseller agreements are pretty important, too, like the reseller agreement you just made with Sun.

Hammer: Several years ago, we established an OEM and reseller agreement with Dell. Dell has been about 20 percent of our license revenue. We have a relationship with HDS and we announced a couple of quarters ago a deal with Bull worldwide. Recently, we announced the Sun agreement. In the SaaS space, we have Rackspace and Incentra. On the channel side, we have third-tier distribution with Arrow and Horizon and Avnet.

Byte and Switch: When you released Simpana last year, you emphasized its repository. Has that been a differentiator?

Hammer: It's really important to have a single repository... When you have to do an archive search, we're the only one that unifies that capability for backup and archiving. That's very significant, because otherwise you've got to go in independently and search each pool. I do my search once, I collect all the results so they can be consolidated. There aren't two different products that dump into separate pools.

Byte and Switch: Let's talk about where things are going. Will there be a spending slowdown, a recession?Hammer: We see it in the press but we haven't been seeing a drop in demand here. There's no reduced outlook from us for '09. There could be, but we haven't seen evidence of it yet. Remember, we are a balanced, global company, not just focused on the U.S. market.

Byte and Switch: So what's coming down the pike for CommVault?

Hammer: Well, without getting into specific detail... There are a lot of innovations we think we can bring to the market.

Byte and Switch: Like what?

Hammer: Well, single instancing and de-duplication. We're spending a lot of resources on that area.Byte and Switch: Will you do de-duplication yourselves or OEM with a partner?

Hammer: We haven't said. We are focused on that area. We do have strong partnerships already -- with Data Domain and we work closely with NetApp to reference-sell ASIS as well.

Also, tied to our information management products we're looking at developing next-generation automated records management tools. That would answer how you manage a project on a real-time basis going forward. There is no comprehensive records management tool out there now.

Companies also want to manage servers and workstations and laptops. We'll bring data and information management into those arenas. And databases are growing very large and we think there's a lot of management that can be done there.

The last one: We see a strong movement that will continue for virtualized environments.Byte and Switch: Anything else to add?

Hammer: The company has a consistent track record out there. We see the opportunity. We're in a stronger position today than we've ever been... We have a clear vision going forward. We feel good about where we are.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW)

  • Bull SA

  • CA Inc. (NYSE: CA)

  • CommVault Systems Inc.

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Incentra Solutions Inc. (OTCBB: INCS)

  • Rackspace Managed Hosting

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Symantec Corp.

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