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CommVault cozies up to Dell EqualLogic, continues rivalry with Data Domain

Dell is trying to stay vendor neutral in its data deduplication strategy, which isn’t always easy to do when partnering with data deduplication backup rivals EMC, CommVault and Symantec.

CommVault and Data Domain are among the partners included in Dell’s product news today, which could stoke the competitive flames between those two.

The acrimony between CommVault and Data Domain began when CommVault added its data deduplication to its Simpana 8 data backup software, and the former partners quickly became competitors. Those fires were stoked by statements from former Data Domain CEO and current EMC Corp. data backup and recovery division president Frank Slootman following EMC’s acquisition of Data Domain last year. CommVault responded with some strong statements of its own.

Now, both are vying to put their partnerships with Dell front and center. CommVault has added snapshot integration with Dell’s EqualLogic iSCSI arrays similar to that it first announced for NetApp FAS filers and EMC Clariion, Celerra and Symmetrix disk arrays last year. The feature, called SnapBackup, allows array-based snapshots to be managed according to Simpana policies and through Simpana’s catalog. SnapBackup licenses are $4,000 per protected application server; users with the software already in place will be able to add EqualLogic support at no additional cost.

Dell also disclosed today that it will sell Data Domain data deduplication systems as the Dell/EMC DD140, DD610 and DD630 models. The DD140 is for remote offices, while the DD600 models are for midrange and small enterprises. Dell also sells a DL2100 Powered by CommVault Simpana 8 and another powered by Symantec’s Backup Exec 2010 with deduplication.

For its part, Dell is attempting to position the 2100 and Data Domain boxes as targeting different audiences, but not everyone sees it that way — Forrester Research analyst Andrew Reichman described what he saw as “an emerging battle because the two impinge on each other’s value proposition.”

CommVault officials, meanwhile, point out that their product already competes with others in the Dell portfolio, as well as with Dell itself in some cases. “Dell sells a lot of products and we compete with a lot of those products inside Dell distribution, and we continue to win,” said CommVault vice president of marketing Dave West. “Our business has grown through changes and will continue to grow — we’re not concerned about it.”

Added CommVault director of corporate communications Dani Kenison, “We announced an expansion of our relationship with Dell [through the DL2100] way in advance of Data Domain. Being ahead of the game speaks volumes about the strength of our relationship.”

CommVault bills its DL2000 series joint products with Dell as “a centralized data protection engine,” as CommVault senior product manager Don Foster put it. “Customers truly have a platform instead of just another appliance put into the environment,” he said.

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