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CommVault plans deduplication across all tiers

CommVault CEO Bob Hammer says his customers can’t get enough of data deduplication, and the vendor will give them a lot more of it when its next version of Simpana launches later this year.

During CommVault’s earnings call Tuesday, Hammer said deduplication was the major driver in the company’s 31% revenue growth last quarter. With Simpana 9, he said, CommVault will increase the scale and functionality of its deduplication while integrating source and target dedupe capability. Hammer says CommVault’s dedupe will go beyond anything on the market, “and there will be no close second.”

I spoke with Hammer after the call, and he clarified a bit.

“This will be our third-generation of deduplication, and we will dramatically increase the scale with the addition of source-side dedupe and the ability to deduplicate secondary copies and dedue directly to the cloud,” Hammer said. “Those are the major areas we’ll expand.”

Hammer says the expanded dedupe in Simpana 9 will take it closer to primary data.

“With source-side deduplication, you’re getting close to that primary layer,” he said. “We’re combining that deduplication with the ability to more intelligently manage snap copies across hardware silos. It’s not primary dedupe, but it’s close to the primary layer. We’re working with a number of hardware vendors that will be part of our release in the fall as well.”

Hammer also says Simpana 9 will deduplicate “virtualization environments across the board – at the source and in some cases at the target, but we don’t want to dedupe just at the target. It becomes an integrated seamless part of all tiers of storage, including the cloud and tape.”

Hammer says deduplication was the most popular feature of its Advanced Data Information Management (ADIM) product group, which also includes replication, virtualization, and archiving. ADIM revenue increased 91% year-over-year and 21% from the previous quarter, and made up 43% of CommVault’s $73.4 million revenue last quarter.

“It’s becoming a requirement for data management because it saves a significant amount of money on storage and reduces network traffic,” he said of data dedupe.

When CommVault released Simpana 8 with dedupe in January 2009, the vendor maintained many customers would no longer need hardware deduplication products. Hammer says CommVault now competes with more hardware vendors than software vendors for dedupe, with the main competition coming from EMC’s Data Domain.

“Our win rate remains very high, although clearly EMC is doing well with that product in its installed base,” Hammer said. “It’s still the best deduplication appliance on the market.”

While Hammer was talking up CommVault’s plans for dedupe Tuesday, Data Domain launched its DD Boost software to speed the dedupe process, At EMC World. Data Domain execs also discussed plans to integrate Data Domain’s dedupe with EMC Avamar source-based dedupe to end the target versus source debate.

Hammer also said on the earnings call that CommVault is developing technology that will bring it into a third major market to go with its current place in the backup and ADIM markets.

He wouldn’t elaborate when I spoke to him. “We’ll talk about that later in the fall,” he said.

CommVault may also reconsider its current strategy of developing all of its own technology rather than picking up IP via acquisition. When asked if that was a possibility during the earnings call, Hammer said: “In the past, we’ve dismissed it. When we plan our strategy for the next 12 months we’ll take a broader look at what we’re going to do with the company, and it may come into play. Now it’s not in the plan, but that may change.”

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