CommVault Breaks Storage Array Snapshot Glass Ceiling with IntelliSnap Connect Program

Today there are more open system arrays with more features from more vendors from which organizations may choose. Yet what is emerging as an obstacle to organizations considering some of these arrays as viable options is their inability to leverage these snapshot capabilities. That obstacle may be short-lived thanks in part to the CommVault IntelliSnap Connect Program.

The recently published DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide took an exhaustive look at over 50 enterprise midrange arrays and the features available on them. But when DCIG specifically examines how many arrays offered some type of snapshot feature, it found that 93% of enterprise midrange arrays did so. Yet what is not so prevalent is the ability of third party software to effectively manage these snapshots.

Snapshot support in backup software becomes critical as organizations virtualize their server infrastructures using VMware and then host virtualized machines (VMs) on open systems arrays. As this occurs organizations tend to want to leverage the array’s snapshot feature to move the overhead associated with backup and recovery from the ESX server to the array.

Making this transition is only possible if an organization’s backup software integrates with and can manage the array’s snapshots. This requirement to integrate with the array snapshot shortens the potential list of arrays that organizations may use significantly. Most enterprise backup software products only support snapshot features from market leaders such as Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp.

The introduction of the IntelliSnap Connect Program from CommVault enables other open systems array providers to break through this glass ceiling and become viable alternatives to these market leaders. Here is how the program works:

  • Storage providers initially sign an agreement with CommVault to gain access to a software development kit (SDK) and an API. As part of the agreement, it either pays a qualification fee or provides a working array with relevant snapshot software to CommVault for qualification.
  • CommVault works with the storage provider to ensure the vendor is doing the proper testing and software development so that its snapshot software may be managed by CommVault® Simpana® and its Snap Protect technology.
  • When the snapshot qualification testing and validation are complete, a co-branded data sheet, configuration guide and press release is issued.

The viability of this program is evident out of the gate. As of today, CommVault users may now manage the snapshot features on 9 of the 10 top enterprise storage system arrays including the likes of Dell Compellent and Dell PowerVault MD lines of storage.

Further, XIO and emerging storage provider Nimble Storage are currently working through the IntelliSnap program and expect to announce in the near future that CommVault Simpana can manage the snapshot feature on their storage arrays, too.

There are also two other highly desirable aspects about this program.

  • Gives organizations more open system array options from which to choose. High performance storage systems are an emerging class of storage often deployed in conjunction with VDI and server virtualization implementations. While many of these provide snapshot functionality, because these storage systems are offered by emerging providers, their snapshot feature is not supported by any enterprise backup software. This delays or even precludes the adoption of these storage systems by the organization.

The IntelliSnap Connect program gives them a road map to get this qualification that both storage providers and end users covet. Normally providers have to wait until they have sufficient market share before the backup software provider makes it a priority to qualify their snapshot feature with their backup software.

Now using CommVault storage providers can avoid the uncertainty of waiting until they achieve market momentum while getting the backup software qualifications and certifications that their enterprise customer want and expect to offer.

  • Facilitates the transition to CommVault Simpana for protecting their virtualized environment. Taking advantage of the snapshot functionality on open system arrays clearly requires that organizations transition to using CommVault Simpana if they are not already doing so. But the uncertainty normally associated with transitioning to a new backup software solution is greatly minimized as now the principal concern is the integration that exists between CommVault and the array as opposed to installing backup agents on each server operating system.

The introduction of server virtualization is creating fundamental changes in how data centers operate and in which storage solutions they choose. Among these changes, hosting VMs on next generation storage arrays and then using their snapshot feature as the primary way to do backups and recoveries is chief among them. However to do this effectively requires a high level integration between the backup software and each array’s snapshot feature.

CommVault Simpana’s ability to integrate with and manage array snapshots contributed to achieving its #1 ranking in the DCIG 2011 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide. DCIG also found it to manage the largest number of open systems array snapshots in the DCIG 2011 Midrange Array Snapshot Software Buyer’s Guide. Now CommVault builds on that legacy with its IntelliSnap Connect Program that breaks through the glass ceiling that has been inadvertently created over the last few years.

By giving any storage provider the ability to certify its snapshot feature with CommVault Simpana, organizations have new freedom to choose from more open systems arrays. This gives them access to the open systems arrays with the performance they need and the next generation backup and recovery options they want.

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