Just how significant is today’s announced technology partnership between CommVault and Informatica? Pretty big. The most obvious benefit that it provides to CommVault® Simpana® users is a new option that they can leverage to archive structured data while still managing and searching it using their Simpana software. But from an enterprise software management perspective, it continues to demonstrate CommVault’s increased willingness to selectively partner with strategic software providers for technologies that are outside of its core competencies in order to display more data on enterprise dashboards.
The corporate adoption of software that archives unstructured and semi-structured data has accelerated in recent years while the archiving of structured data still remains on the fringes of corporate acceptance. It is not that the benefits of archiving structured data are not well known (improved application performance, optimized production storage space and reduced licensing costs), it is just that to date storing and managing the archives of structured data was as problematic as leaving them where they were.
Improvements in how database archiving software products manage archived data, growing structured data stores and new regulatory requirements are changing that and are, in the process, contributing to a heightened user interest in database archiving software.
On the database archiving side, one of its more significant improvements are software interfaces so that third party tools can access these database archives for search and retrieval. This is essentially what CommVault is leveraging in this partnership with Informatica. Informatica gives CommVault Simpana the ability to access data in its structured data archives through standard SQL/ODBC/JDBC interfaces as well as XAM and webDAV.
Leveraging these interfaces, CommVault can now directly access, search and report on archived data whether it comes from structured, unstructured or semi-structured archived data stores.
The timing for the announcement of this partnership between CommVault and Informatica is no accident. Analyst firms such as ESG and Gartner find that up to 50% of users that they have surveyed in 2009 are inquiring about archiving data in their structured data stores.
So why this surge in interest in 2009? While it is difficult to know exactly what is driving this sudden uptick in interest, a good bet is a directive issued by the European Union in 2006. At that time, it enacted the Directive on Mandatory Retention of Communications Traffic Data that requires ISPs and telecoms to retain of data such as emails and phone calls for up to two years.
While it was passed in March 2006, it only went into force this past March. Fast forward nine (9) months from March 2009 and large ISPs and telecoms that do business in Europe are probably now recognizing that complying with this directive is resulting in swelling structured data stores and are now actively looking at alternative means to store this data long term in a format that is accessible, economical, searchable and retrievable. While this is only one example, it certainly makes sense as to why now represents an opportune time for CommVault and Informatica to enter into a partnership to meet this burgeoning enterprise need.
However this partnership between CommVault and Informatica is also indicative of a maturing on CommVault’s part as it continues to develop into an enterprise software provider. While its software has arguably been enterprise ready for a number of years, its reluctance in the past to partner with other software providers that offered technologies complementary to its own could surface as a concern to enterprise organizations. Many enterprises often only want to deal with a limited number of software providers. So while enterprise may like CommVault Simpana, if CommVault could not bring a larger portfolio of software solutions to the table, they would look elsewhere.
CommVault’s recent partnerships with McAfee and now Informatica address these concerns head-on. More importantly, this partnership with Informatica displays a newfound willingness on CommVault’s part to bring in software that is not native to CommVault in order to more effectively compete in enterprise accounts. In so doing, CommVault can provide those enterprise organizations that want it the single point of contact that they desire for all of their software requirements while still delivering on their pledge to make data easier to access, search, manage and retrieve.
CommVault’s new partnership with Informatica and the addition of structured data archiving is what is grabbing the headlines today and rightfully so. It meets growing enterprise needs to archive their structured data stores while providing them a single interface to access, search and retrieve any form of archived data.
However it is equally important that enterprise organizations do not miss the subtle but important change in mindset that CommVault continues to put on full display with this new partnership with Informatica. It shows it is serious about playing in enterprise accounts and willing to do what it takes in order to accomplish these objectives with its increased willingness to strike strategic agreements with other software companies that both offer superior software and complement CommVault’s core competencies. This should serve as a winning combination for CommVault, its partners and the growing number of organizations that are selecting CommVault Simpana as their enterprise data management solution.