NetApp to resell CommVault's backup technology

CommVault customers also get tighter integration with NetApp's storage management software

Storage vendor NetApp said today it can now support all types of backup through a single interface as a result of a reseller agreement with CommVault and will offer its SnapProtect branded software, a package of CommVault's Simpana 9's snapshot copies, replication and tape management software.

Simpana is CommVault's flagship backup software. Through it, backups can be stored in a tiered fashion. For example, snapshots may be stored first on a primary disk array during the day and moved to a near-line array until it's time to archive them to a tape library at an offsite disaster recovery facility or into a cloud storage provider.

As part of the deal, CommVault's SnapProtect software will be closely integrated with NetApp SnapVault and SnapMirror products, the company's archiving and replication software.

According to Rachel Dines, an analyst with Forrester Research, what NetApp gets with the reseller agreement isn't really snapshot and replication technology, but a rebranded "full backup solution."

"The name is confusing from that perspective. It is going to use existing NetApp snap and replication technology as well as the Commvault backup platform to manage and orchestrate both backup and snaps and replication from a single management portal," she said. "This is something that CommVault customers using NetApp storage were already able to do on a basic level, although this announcement is including some additional features for snap management."

Dines said the the agreement between the two companies makes "a ton of sense" as more and more companies are using data snapshots and replication to replace traditional full backups for many environments. By using snapshots and replication, users can cut down their backup windows and replicate only changed data or "deltas" to near-line disk storage or remote archival systems.

NetApp currently has no specific offering for backup, according to Dines. The company's virtual tape library appliance, the NearStore line of appliances, were discontinued several years ago, Dines said, and NetApp is struggling to get a foothold in the market and sell their Fabric-Attached Storage (FAS) array line as a backup product.

"I believe NetApp is entering into this agreement to get their foot in the door of the backup and data protection market," Dines said. "Now, with the CommVault [agreement], they have an entry point to sell their hardware into this market, as well as be a more credible player to compete with the IBMs and EMCs of the world."

NetApp will charge for the SnapProtect branded software on a per controller basis.

CommVault said its Simpana customers will also get increased integration and management capabilities with NetApp's snapshot technologies within Simpana, which can help to accelerate and simplify the backup and recovery process.

CommVault's SnapProtect management software will be sold through NetApp's worldwide direct sales force and distribution partners.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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