Curtains Rise on Simpana

After 18 months of development work, CommVault unveils Simpana software

July 10, 2007

3 Min Read
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Backup vendor CommVault has overhauled its core software solution, adding single instancing, Web search, and content-indexing features in an attempt to streamline users' back-end storage. (See CommVault Intros Simpana.)

CommVault, which filed for IPO last year, unveiled a souped-up version of its QiNetix software today, dubbed Simpana. (See CommVault Swims in Public Pool and CommVault's One Step Closer.)

"We have been working on this release for 18 months," says Dave West, the vendor's vice president of marketing and business development, highlighting the addition of Single Instance Store (SIS), as a way for IT managers and CIOs to reduce the bulk of their backed-up data.

Simpana uses agents to backup data between storage servers and disk arrays. "We can, in essence, reduce the number of duplicate copies across multiple clients," says West, although he would not quote a typical data reduction ratio for the SIS feature. "It's very dependent on the file size and the amount of time that you run the product."

A number of vendors, including FalconStor, Data Domain, and Diligent are touting de-duplication technologies, which aim to ensure that the same information is not stored in two places. (See Timecruiser, FalconStor Launches SIR, Data Domain Goes Public, Diligent Unveils SME Solutions.)Unlike traditional de-duplication vendors, CommVault's approach is file-based, as opposed to block-based, something which offers both pluses and minuses for users. "It's faster, but you're not going to get the level of de-duplication that the block-based solution vendors have because they are able to do it on a much more granular level," says Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) analyst Lauren Whitehouse.

Other Simpana enhancements include the addition of content indexing, which is the ability to search across backup and archived copies of data. (See Classification & Search Converge.) By integrating FAST's Instream search technology into its software, CommVault claims to be able to scan over 370 different types of content, from emails and Microsoft Word documents to data held on Sharepoint servers and Unix file systems. (See FAST, Arkivio Team, FAST, Lexis-Nexis in Partnership , and Avamar, Fast Team Up.)

CommVault has also set up a Web-based interface which gives users access to the content indexed data. "We give users access to information on online, backup, and archive [storage] -- it's all under CommVault management," says West, explaining that this will ease the strain on IT staff. "Before, you would have had to go and get the IT manager or network administrator to do [the search]."

This feature struck a chord with at least one CommVault customer. Marty Hurd, network administrator of Concord, N.C.-based Cardinal Logistics, is eager to open up his backup and archive storage via a Web interface. "One thing that were looking forward to is the Web interface where users can go out and search, index, and find the files [themselves]," he says. "This way, they will be able to see what they need and go out and get it."

Other features added to Simpana include AES-256 bit data encryption and the ability to create an LTO-4 encrypted tape from backup data. (See Users Linger Over LTO-4, Overland Storage Announces LTO4, and Quantum Debuts LTO-4.)Overall, CommVault is now touting a much more integrated software offering than rivals such as Symantec, according to ESG's Whitehouse, highlighting the presence of backup, content indexing, search, and security features in one solution. "With CommVault you have a single management platform," she says. "Symantec are taking a number of acquired technologies and retro-fitting them to the NetBackup platform."

Last month, at its Vision conference in Las Vegas, Symantec announced its latest NetBackup product and a long-term plan to tie together data protection, archiving, and storage management. (See Symantec Bolsters Backup, Symantec Unveils NetBackup 6.5, and Symantec Launches Storage United.)

Typical entry-level pricing for a single server configuration of Simpana, which is available today, starts at around $12,000.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • CommVault Systems Inc.

  • Data Domain Inc. (Nasdaq: DDUP)

  • Diligent Technologies Corp.

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Fast Search & Transfer ASA

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Symantec Corp.

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