Commvault has announced a new Software-as-a-Service offering called Metallic in its latest move in the hot market of enterprise data protection.
Aimed at customers with between 500 and 2500, Metallic provides a pure consumption model alternative to Commvault’s existing product line. It’s also not tied to any specific cloud, providing a more pure-play Software-as-a-Service offering along the lines of Salesforce.com.
“We’ll support AWS and Azure out of the box, with more [clouds] coming,” said Mirchandani. “And, more importantly, if customers want to use their own cloud because they have a cloud contract, go for it.”
“And if they don’t want to, we’ll give them a completely transparent capability,” he added. “We’re not tied to any one cloud service.”
Providing customers with additional choice is at the core of Commvault’s approach. This should broaden Commvault’s appeal to customers who would otherwise have questioned Commvault’s relevance to their situation.
“We offer choice where it matters in the SaaS product, like for the storage, but it’s completely guided in ten clicks,” said Robert Kaloustian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Metallic.
“I was a CIO for many years, and one of the things that irked me was when technology providers told me how to use technology, as opposed to telling me what the capabilities were and I would mold it into environment,” Mirchandani said.
With Metallic, Commvault is looking to appeal to customers who have been abandoning traditionally complex and difficult-to-use on-site backup products for newer appliance and SaaS products that promise a better user experience. It may also go some way to address the perception that its traditional product is too difficult to use when compared to some of the options available from new startups.
The competitive landscape has changed dramatically in the past few years. Rubrik and Cohesity have been winning plenty of new business with their simple Google-like interface and easy-to-install appliance form-factor, and Cohesity in particular has been aggressively expanding into active-secondary data. Carbonite, Arcserve, and Acronis are all doing well in the mid-tier, and Veeam just passed a billion dollars in revenue—not mere valuation—despite a not-as-successful-as-hoped expansion up-market into enterprise.
SaaS only startups Druva and new entrant Clumio are providing yet more options for those who want data protection to be easier to buy and use. In some ways Metallic could be seen as validating the market opportunity of SaaS-only backup, which will no doubt gratify Commvault’s competitors (and their investors) in this space, but it will also provide additional competition, making market share harder and more expensive to come by. With huge raises now the norm, it’s going to be that much harder for startup investors to get the return on their investment they may have been hoping for.
This seems to be the beginning of a major refresh for Commvault after some years of struggling to find its way in the world. Mirchandani has been with the company for less than a year as CEO, and already has two major moves under his belt.
Just over a month ago, Commvault announced its acquisition of unified storage vendor Hedvig, in what I saw as a clear counter to the ambitions of Cohesity, and to a lesser extent Rubrik.
By adding a SaaS offering, Commvault is partly trying to prevent customers leaving for a competitor because they want something that Commvault couldn’t provide them. It will also be hoping it can convince customers that this new offer will suit them today, and that the rich heritage and experience of Commvault means it will be suitable for whatever the customer’s future needs will be.
“We’re extremely disciplined around this product now and will continue to be, but this does offer us opportunities in the future because we plug into so many things,” said Kaloustian.
Much will depend on the actual customer experience with the new product as it rolls out into the market. Early stumbles could derail the refresh before it has a chance to really get going, but the early signs are of a revitalised Commvault eager to bring the fight to its various competitors. We’ve yet to see similar moves from the other large incumbent backup providers.
As always, it is customers that will ultimately benefit from these moves and counter-moves. Healthy competition spurs everyone in the market to improve their products and provide better value to customers. In that spirit, I welcome a resurgent Commvault and hope to see more like this in the near future.