CommVault moves deduplication to the source with Simpana 9

Simpana 9 is tightly integrated with VMware, HyperV and XenServer

CommVault today released the latest version of its flashship backup software product, Simpana 9, which adds the ability to perform deduplication at the server and full integration with VMware and HyperV virtualization hypervisors.

The company also rolled out a "Fast Track" migration capability that can replicate preexisting policies and backup job schedules from IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and Symantec NetBackup environments, to allow migrating of clients over to Simpana 9 more easily.

"We're going to go after Symantec and IBM really hard," said Mike Marchi, vice president of product marketing at CommVault.

Simpana 9 offers deduplication at the client level, meaning any duplicate blocks of data are removed at the application server before it travels over a storage network, reducing network traffic and capacity requirements on both the server and storage array.

With the new software release, servers can be geographically dispersed but as long they have the backup agent on them, all can share the same deduplication capability, regardless of location, Marchi said.

For example, a group of servers spread across 50 branch bank offices with different backup policies can all share the same deduplication policy database.

"Unlike other vendor's products, it's not limited to an appliance and you can share the same storage on the backend," Marchi said. "We can even deduplicate into the cloud."

Other competing products, such as EMC's Avamar and Data Domain products deduplicate data at the storage array, and EMC's Legato networker product deduplicates data in the network as it's being backed up.

CommVault also revamped it licensing terms, changing its pricing model from a CPU or agent-based system to the amount of capacity being backed up.

Simpana 9 is more tightly integrated with the leading virtualization platform APIs, including Citrix's XenServer, which enables an auto-discovery feature that finds any virtual machines in a network and automatically includes them in a backup scheme.

The new software version also is able to perform snapshots of multiple VMs for faster backups. Backups can be stored in a tiered fashion, as well. 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 an offsite disaster recovery facility or into a cloud storage provider.

"From a performance perspective, we were able to backup 500 virtual machines in under 17 minutes," Marchi said. "So for customers worried about meeting backup windows, we can help them to better manage their data."

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

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