Brainy Commvault

[Disclosure: I was invited by Commvault as a Media person and Social Ambassador to their Commvault GO 2019 Conference and also a Tech Field Day eXtra delegate from Oct 13-17, 2019 in the Denver CO, USA. My expenses, travel, accommodation and conference fees were covered by Commvault, the organizer and I was not obligated to blog or promote their technologies presented at this event. The content of this blog is of my own opinions and views]

The waltz across the Commvault-Hedvig mine field will not be easy. Commvault will have a lot of open discussions about their acquisition of Hedvig and how Hedvig “primary storage platform” will fit into a “secondary storage framework” of Commvault. The outcome of this consummation is yet to appear as a structured form. The storyline will eventually form as Commvault’s diligence to define their strategy moving forward.

Day 1

Day 1 was my open day at Commvault GO. I was absorbing the first impressions of Commvault again even though this was my third Commvault GO, after Washington DC and Nashville in 2017 and 2018 respectively. There was certainly a “startup” feeling again in Commvault since the appointment of Sanjay Mirchandani as CEO 9 months ago.

A lot of excitement and buzz were generated around the metallic, the Commvault venture into Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The SaaS solution is targeted at the mid-market for organizations with 500-2500 staff count. Its simplicity and pricing were the 2 things which gave me a good feeling all over. There is even a 45-day trial for metallic.

Getting Brainy

My Day 2 itinerary was more specific because my agenda for this trip was to seek answers to the realization of Commvault-Hedvig.

Commvault took the distinction of using the vision of a DataBrain (#databrain) to define their strategy. From the picture below, the left and right hemisphere of the DataBrain forms the Storage Management piece on the left and Data Management on the right.

In the analysts briefing, there was a lot of rapid fire questions aimed at both Don Foster, VP of Storage Solutions and Avinash Lakshman, now Chief Storage Strategist at Commvault. And the intent was obvious. It was to figure out what the Commvault-Hedvig would be. As the discussion progressed, I had a glimpse of where Commvault-Hedvig shaping to.

There is a narrow corridor between where Commvault-Hedvig fits. I have seen this discussion before. It is about enriching the data with different requirement policies and service profiles as the “enriched” data is presented as a control plane upstream to the applications and other services such as containers and Kubernetes. I can imagine a use case where data, coming from the Commvault-Hedvig layer, tagged with unique data protection and retention policies coupled with data governance/data sovereignty profiles, with risk and compliance requirements as well. At the same time, data presented by Commvault-Hedvig is geo-agnostic, without the worry of validating data for GDPR, HIPPA and other regulatory practices unique to its municipality, even to the Edge. This means data isn’t just the usual data.

It is data already imbued with data management foundation points, with the metadata for business – Ready Data for the Business. 

I could be entirely wrong as details of the development of technology innards of the DataBrain are scant now. I would be happy to be proven wrong. If this is where Commvault-Hedvig strategy is going, I think it is a great move.

Were my mind chatters fulfilled?

In a way my questions were answered. The Commvault-Hedvig venture will not be a complete story yet and I can understand that. The days are still extremely early to define the established structure of this marriage but I was drawn to the shaping of their process of assimilation.

On the local front, Data Storage ASEAN the technology news portal has started to warm up to the acquisition. The attention give to the news, though impartial, has started to pick up and giving Commvault a platform to build its credibility again.

I highlighted the rather sudden closures of a few Commvault offices in the Asia Pacific region and Commvault is really in need of a platform to communicate this new Hedvig venture.

In the exclusive analysts briefing on Day 2, I asked CEO Sanjay Mirchandani about their strategy in Asia Pacific. He brought up the “hub & spoke” model to address the needs of Commvault partners and customers alike, centered around the office in Singapore. For me, this is a tricky one. Asian customers tend to have unique expectations in a culturally diverse market. Will Commvault be able to win them over again after this vacuum?

The primary storage/secondary DataBrain duality/singularity will be an interesting Shakespearean play for Commvault in the coming months.


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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

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