The Data Game Just Got an Upgrade

The Data Game Just Got an Upgrade

Ian Moyse, Board Member, Cloud Industry Forum & Member TechUK Cloud Leadership Committee

Backup, storage, old hat right? A stayed and predictable sector of the industry, embracing delivery of the mundane (but very necessary) need for backup, disaster recovery and business continuity of technology systems.

Importantly the reliance on this data to each business and individual is greater than ever before. A system up and running, but without its data (be it customer records, financial transactions, client orders, project documents, designs or any of the plethora of data types critical to operating in 2020 and beyond) is an empty shell of limited use to anyone.  The ‘in the cloud’ approach intimated a promised path to backup eradication, but what it did for availability did not remove the need for data protection and restoration. Cloud has certainly changed the landscape of keeping the lights on, but this does not remove the criticalities and value now placed on data.

Data professionals need to be prepared for the unexpected, with data their core and critical asset. There has never been a more perilous time for the CIO and data professional, experiencing rapid change, greater threat and a continued dramatic increase in remote and mobile users, mixed client device access. The greater security threat landscape than ever before leaves us in the wild, wild west for data with barriers including complexity, risk and increased demand/expectation. It is not simply good enough to store data in the traditions of backup and restore; now it is critical to categorise data types, dependencies, legal retention allowances, where stored, single or multiple distributed copies, how it’s used, who needs and who has access and relative importance of recovery.

In 2020 it is key to be able to deliver this level of data assurance; storing, protecting and optimising effectively across public and private clouds, on premise and for data stored across the enterprise and to do so in a simplified manner. Business data is the asset of today; data becomes information, becomes insights and is critical to today’s organisations ability to move at speed in an agile fashion. Cloud empowers businesses with the capability to quickly spin up workloads and applications anywhere and with this comes the need to know where this data is and to protect and secure it.

Commvault, following their very recent step up with their expanded partnership with Microsoft to deliver joint Metallic SaaS Data Protection with Azure storage, has again changed the data game to deliver a  solution that enables business to deal with the 2 years of digital transformation—in only 2 months (as quoted by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella)

Bannered ‘Future Ready’, Commvault announced to market a breadth of value to the data rich customer of today. Commvault has introduced SMART MANTRAS to underpin their enhanced and truly intelligent offering for transforming data automation with a firm promise to bring a comprehensive data solution suite with flexibility, simplicity and affordability.

This was not a simple feature game up, but was a total end to end refresh delivering a portfolio of data resilience widely needed in todays landscape. This included both new technology and new commercial propositions that game change the data market for the decade ahead. Starting with  brand new standalone Disaster Recovery Package that can also be combined with the new re-packaged backup solution through an advantageous bundled option.  Extending this further is a scaled up backup appliance founded on Commvault’s Hedvig SDS (Software Defined Storage) solution with the SDS solution including a built-in advanced API integration with Kubernetes. Rounding this off is Commvault’s data governance and analytics suite (Commvault Activate) re-packaged to align to the new family of offerings and delivering a more attractive commercial and goto market package.

These include 4D Data awareness, 3D flexibility and a predictive and autonomous data protection model.  There is clear recognition and focus on consistent and coherent data protection across business workloads from containers, cloud native, databases, virtualised and on premise, built off of the back of Commvault’s 2019 Hedvig acquisition.

The ability to ensure business continuity and verify recoverability across cloud and on-prem environments, delivering simple, automated disaster recovery orchestration, flexible replication, and verified recovery readiness. Additional enhancements included new data insights and governance solutions, rich Kubernetes support in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform, and broader availability of Commvault’s subscription-based licensing model.  Accompanying these offerings was a rich bundling combination to encourage and support broader customer consumption of the Commvault family.

The enhanced offering includes data smart functions such as sensitivity scores on what data should be deleted or archived, allowing for an optimised data footprint enabling more cost effective storage, more relevant archiving (what data can be archived without impact on users) and auto scaling of storage if a data stream is seen to be in danger of filling through increased data coming in. Commvault is full of examples of auto data intelligence to avoid human manual intervention unless essential. Having a system that auto-learns typical file access patterns, typical backup patterns and automates wherever possible. Alerting admins to edge cases aligns to the new world where agility and transformation is the focus of IT and keeping the lights on should not be the major draw on resources and time within a business.

Commvault is paving the way with functions including self-healing, automated smart SLA compliance and elimination of exceptions before they occur and have business impact. Through Command Centre’s single pane of glass, all data storage is managed in one place, be that workloads and data spread across on-network, private and public cloud, legacy, and distributed systems.

The new enhanced model for data storage would be attractive and competitive in its singularity, but Commvault (as per their recent Microsoft announcement) has gone all in to disrupt and landgrab the market. An aggressive subscription based commercial model that takes the customer away from legacy licensing to predictable commercial licensing, allowing avoidance of cost spiking and ability to develop a long term 4-6-10 year predictive data model.

Combining this with software fund flexibility, allowing consumption how and when needed, is particularly advantageous for transformational projects where the today may not be the model and architect of tomorrow for the business. I have spoken before of many in the cloud game having turned the game on its head by increasing functionality and benefit, parallel to reshaping the commercial game; Commvault has joined this club here offering more value through cloud enablement, empowering customers to be more secure, more robust for less cost than traditional offerings allow.

Data storage just matured into an adult phase primed for the post-COVID and cloud mature customer for the decade ahead and well aligned to supporting a hybrid cloud journey and devops world. This is about being future and data ready, intelligently managed through data awareness, agility and automation.

Commvault has listened to the customer voice of  ‘Great tech, simplify it; Great company, make it easier to do business with’ and embracing this have simplified AND enhanced the tech and gone all in on making their offering a no brainer; A  compelling select it solution, making a CIO’s job to push the button easier, which in today’s disrupted and innovating world is key.

We live in a time of rapid disruptive change and risk, rife across all scales of business. This demands a change of process, approach and technology to remain relevant and safe in today’s economy.  The drivers; a changed threat landscape, an increasingly mixed platform environment for business workloads and a reliance on always available and reliable data to underpin customer experience, business continuity and smart business insight. We have long talked digital transformation and digital disruption; I profess we now are witnessing a digital data revolution which is long overdue.  It is no longer about storage or backup of data it is about data indivisibility; controlling the totality of everything needed to protect data through its entire lifecycle.


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