CommVault upgrades Simpana management software

By Kevin Komiega

-- CommVault today released a new version of its flagship data protection software, Simpana 8, with upgraded recovery management, data de-duplication, virtual server protection and content management capabilities.

The new version of Simpana has been termed by the company as its "largest software release to date" and includes more than 300 enhancements and 140 new features. The most notable improvements are in the areas of data de-duplication and recovery management.

Simpana 8 offers end users embedded global de-duplication that spans both disk and tape storage systems and media, extending block-level de-duplication across an organization's backup and archive data.

Michael Marchi, CommVault's vice president of product and segment marketing, claims that Simpana's software-based de-duplication is unique because it provides visibility at the file level and scales better than appliance-based implementations.

"Simpana 8 offers global de-dupe across more information than appliance-based approaches, and allows customers to use any hardware platform on the back end," says Marchi.

CommVault's data reduction begins at the client and extends through a secondary storage tier, including off-site tape copies. Marchi says the results include faster network data transfers for recovery operations, shorter backup windows and a more efficient utilization of the disk infrastructure.

Simpana 8 also offers a new feature called SnapBackup, which integrates with array-based snapshot technologies to create consistent recovery copies directly from snapshots, bypassing the production server.

According to Marchi, Simpana 8 simplifies snapshots by creating a unified policy management framework for multiple pre-certified storage vendors, including EMC and NetApp, and offers point-and-click recovery points from any storage tier.

SnapBackup catalogs the contents of the snapshot, validates the data and manages the logs to complete the protection and archive process. It also supports automated data retention policies and can recover individual messages and documents directly from database recovery copies.

CommVault plans to integrate its SnapBackup features with more arrays in the future, including systems from Dell and Hitachi Data Sstems.

The importance of virtual servers has been elevated in the Simpana 8 platform with added support for virtual clients in VMware Infrastructure and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual server environments. The software now supports a range of recovery options from single files to virtual disks to entire machines, as well as cross-platform restores from virtual systems to physical servers, or across virtual platforms.

Also new to Simpana 8 is a content classification engine that automatically classifies and categorizes content based on rules and search patterns. The data is linked to workflow policies that profile, organize and repurpose content to satisfy management tasks, including legal hold for eDiscovery.

Marchi says the content organization features are not meant to replace enterprise content management (ECM) applications, but to help customers manage data that falls outside of traditional ECM repositories.

CommVault has also improved the efficiency of data transfers across WANs. Simpana 8 has options that speed WAN transfers to pass compressed and encrypted data to and from branch office locations. It includes centrally managed policies that can be applied to data residing on workstations and laptops to streamline the eDiscovery process of both backup and archive data.

CommVault is offering Simpana 8 in a variety of entry-level "starter" configuration bundles that offer basic protection features for small sites, with the first 2TB of usable de-duplication capacity included. Starting prices range from $5,000 to $10,000.

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This article was originally published on January 26, 2009