Technology partner alliances are critical to Commvault’s success: Matthew Johnston

Commvault went public a decade ago and have been a global presence for two decades. Celebrating this journey, Commvault’s Area Vice President, ASEAN and Korea, Matthew Johnston, in an exclusive interview with Techseen, speaks about the evolution of cloud management, data storage, recovery and archive in the Southeast Asian market. He also discusses the challenges enterprises are facing and how companies can lower operational costs, avoid business disruptions, and increase speed to innovation. Excerpts:
Techseen: Commvault has been operational since two decades and is celebrating its 10 years of going public. What are the major shifts that you have seen in terms of major technology advancements/evolution in the last decade?
Johnston: In the last 10 years, the advancements in technology have been incredible. Businesses are quick to adopt new technologies and even change IT’s traditional role in the organization. Two major shifts are the move to the cloud and the increasing prevalence of platforms. Move to the cloud Possibly the most significant disruptive force in the IT industry in the last 10 years has been the move to the cloud. Many analysts believe that 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as the bulk of IT budgets will be spent on cloud technologies – specifically on hybrid cloud models. It is estimated that nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. Building upon its track record of helping enterprises manage data in the cloud, Commvault recently announced expanded capabilities for Amazon Web Services (AWS) beyond virtual machines. The new capabilities include the protection of databases, further enabling enterprises to implement holistic data management strategies on-premises or in the cloud. Commvault also announced new backup, migration and data protection capabilities for applications and workloads in Oracle and Azure clouds. This added support further showcases Commvault as the only data protection and management provider that can drive a true enterprise cloud strategy for customers, with support for more than 25 public clouds and an increasing range of cloud-based or cloud-specific workloads. Shift to platforms Platforms, or networked ecosystems, that connect developers with tools to contribute, interact and participate are now a new norm in the industry. The Rise of the Platform Enterprise: A Global Survey led by Peter Evans and Annabelle Gawer and sponsored by the Center for Global Enterprise, identified 176 platform companies globally, each with a valuation exceeding $1 billion and with an aggregate market value of over $4.3 trillion. Platforms that connects an ecosystem of developers to build tools on the platform encourage innovation. In a data management context, Commvault’s platform-centric approach allows our customers to streamline processes and operations, therefore easily manage their data, while eliminating downtime and workload impact. Recently, our CEO, Bob Hammer shared the five fundamentals of data management:
  • Know your data
  • Federate your data
  • Mobilize your data
  • Govern your data
  • Secure your data
The Commvault Data Platform brings these fundamentals together. It empowers organizations to control this data universe to drive value and business insight, while addressing the five fundamentals of holistic data management. Our customers can leverage the company’s extensive, global partner and developer network to leverage and create value from their data, wherever it resides.
Techseen: Commvault Software and the Commvault Data Platform claim to be helping enterprises to address key challenges in cloud transition, security and compliance, as well as tackling mobile demand. Have these challenges accelerated over time?
Johnston: For our customers, these challenges have certainly intensified, especially since data is being created at a faster pace than ever before.
Today, a company’s data no longer sit securely within one location; it’s everywhere – off and on-premises. The complex array of disparate solutions also results in data management complexities, caused by the devices, applications, data and IT infrastructures. In addition, the prevalence of mobile technologies accelerates this challenge for IT as it now means they need to ensure seamless access for a mobile workforce, while having the data supported on multiple storage tiers with relevant compliance requirements.
Without the right data management strategies and tools, this could increase costs for organizations trying to manage all this data, while trying to turn data into a strategic informative asset for the business. This is where Commvault’s Data Platform can help. Commvault’s integrated platform simplifies the way customers incorporate the cloud — from simple backup to the cloud, to migrating workloads and automating data recovery in the cloud – the platform supports more than 25 public clouds and an increasing range of cloud-based or cloud-specific workloads. Launched at Commvault GO in October, new innovations to the platform also build on its open API architecture to provide levels of openness, offering customers flexibility of choice in infrastructure, platform, computing and storage providers.
Techseen: You tied up with Huawei for a joint development lab. Are you planning to partner or associate with other tech-companies in APAC in the future?
Johnston: Technology partner alliances are critical to Commvault’s success, as is our technology capability key differentiator to our Partners’ success. The Commvault-Huawei joint development lab is a global initiative, a testament of our core value embarking on innovation in technology evolution. Our customers benefit from such innovation in a fast developing market landscape. We recognize that great ideas in technology are increasingly coming from our enterprise customers as well as partners and third-party developers. To this end, we are focused on continually developing and nurturing an innovation ecosystem around the platform in order to provide our customers greater choice, flexibility and capabilities to derive value from the data they hold.
Techseen: Talking about security on the cloud, why did Commvault choose to set up the lab in China instead of Singapore in APAC, which seems to have a more organized cloud infrastructure?
Johnston: Both markets are important for Commvault in APAC, and both have their unique factors. The joint lab by Huawei and Commvault set up in China, Chengdu, aim to incubate, test and address specific challenges our customers face in critical data protection and management. Since Chengdu is where Huawei’s storage business is headquartered, the decision to set up the joint lab there made business sense. We believed it would also enhance collaboration between the two teams, since this would help both teams ensure full compatibility between the companies’ latest products.
We have been very impressed with Huawei’s advanced storage technology, strong customer relationships and global footprint that has also helped Commvault expand our presence in both China and around the world over the past five years.
Techseen: What assistance does Commvault provide to hypervisors, as you also deal with virtual infrastructure management?
Johnston: Commvault protects virtual machines at the hypervisors (all the common hypervisors our customers are accustomed to), providing complete data protection and recovery for virtual machine data. This includes full virtual machine backups, incremental backups, and synthetic full backups, with support for full virtual machines recovery as well as granular disk and file recovery. To simplify management of virtual machine data, we have been providing a single administration point for different virtualization platforms, policy-based protection, job management, scheduling, and reporting features. In addition, we also provide enhanced data protection and data transfer features such as proxy-based backups, advanced transport support, hardware-agnostic media management, de-duplication, compression, and encryption so that our customers can reduce the impact on production systems and secure their data.
Techseen: Commvault recently announced that it has achieved SAP-certified integration with the SAP HANA platform on IBM Power Systems. How will this help you reduce costs and increase speed to innovation, as per your claims?
Johnston: The Commvault Data Platform empowers customers to implement modern data management infrastructures that optimize existing IT investments and turn data into strategic business value and insight. Customers can utilize the underlying data management infrastructure to better protect, manage and process more data faster. This will help them lower operational costs, avoid business disruptions, and increase speed to innovation. Customers running SAP HANA can leverage Commvault Data Platform for rapid recovery, fast spin-ups, a refresh of development and test environments for SAP HANA, or to create clone databases from snapshots with no production impact. Because it is also tightly integrated with the SAP HANA studio and SAP HANA cockpit, it can support simple DBA self-service and monitoring of data protection tasks.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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