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Backup provider offers cloud storage integration

Data can be moved to Amazon, EMC, Azure clouds

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Storage vendor CommVault is extending its backup, archive and de-duplication software to the cloud with a new connector that lets customers move data from inside the firewall to cloud services such as Amazon's Simple Storage Service, EMC's Atmos, Microsoft Azure and Nirvanix.

Although few businesses have adopted cloud storage so far, the market is getting a lot of attention and it is likely that many traditional storage companies will integrate their products with public cloud services.

CommVault announced that its Simpana software now treats cloud services just like any other tier of storage, whether disk or tape, allowing de-duplication and encryption of data before it goes to a cloud, and enforcement of policies on retention requirements in cloud platforms.

"The cloud just becomes another target" for the Simpana software, says Jeff Echols, director of CommVault's cloud products. Echols says that some businesses resist the cloud because it's difficult to move data into the services and hard to manage once there, but the CommVault cloud integrations let customers manage their internal and externally hosted data from the same interface.

CommVault used the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from Amazon, EMC, Microsoft Azure and Nirvanix to connect its storage management software to those cloud services.

Symantec has released similar capabilities which let customers move data to the cloud provider of their choice, says IDC analyst Rick Villars. Storage companies in the e-discovery and email archiving areas are building integrations with the cloud too, he says. CommVault's announcement is helpful to customers because "they're giving people choices of which cloud partner they want to work with, and they've built in the links for that," Villars says.

Going forward, storage customers can expect to see more such integrations with cloud services.

"We do think if you're in the business of doing data management and backup for others, it's going to be critical that you have a cloud option," Villars says.

CommVault charges the same price for its software regardless of whether the data is stored internally or externally. Backup starts at $900 per terabyte and the cost goes up as features like encryption and de-duplication are added. Echols notes that customers can save money on cloud storage fees by de-duplicating data before it is moved into a cloud platform.

CommVault's first publicly named customer for its cloud integration is Boise State University, which is testing out the use of CommVault with the Nirvanix cloud storage platform, but hasn't implemented it yet.

Boise State selected Nirvanix over other cloud providers, in part because of its security system which strips identifiers out of files stored in Nirvanix data centres, says Jack Vant, a Unix systems engineer at the university. Boise State is probably a year or so away from moving data onto the cloud, mainly because of internal organisational changes and budgetary concerns.

But Vant is hoping to lower costs over the long term by storing research data in the cloud, with a dose of de-duplication to contain data growth.

"I think [the cloud] is the best option for us long term, and the CommVault-Nirvanix integration is pretty slick," Vant says.

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