Commvault and Veeam are active competitors whose core business is backup and recovery management.
Commvault is a public company with 2,500 employees and 2018 revenue of $670 million, a 7% year-over-year increase. Veeam is a private company that reports 2,000 employees and a 2018 revenue of $963 million, up 16% from 2017. It is profitable but still accepts investment funds – $500,000 in 2018.
Commvault is focused on keeping enterprise market leadership by continuously developing new backup products and enhancements to meet changing data storage market needs. Another of its strategies is to under price its virtual backup offering in competition with Veeam, whose core competency is virtual data protection.
While Veeam’s sweet spot is mid-market virtualized environments, it is pushing hard into the enterprise by underscoring high availability and adding physical backup support. Its marketing and sales teams target enterprise competitors Commvault, Dell EMC, and Veritas.
Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery supports most operating systems, applications, file systems, and databases, as well as virtual, physical, and cloud storage workloads. Advanced AI and machine learning algorithms continually monitor operations for errors and automatically optimize performance.
The product portfolio uses agents for application-specific, file, and database transfers between physical production servers and secondary data repositories. It protects data on both tape and disk and integrates de-dupe and encryption. Its cloud connectors support backup, snapshots, and replication to AWS, Azure, Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud, and more.
IntelliSnap automates application-aware hardware snapshots in a multi-vendor storage environment. The catalog enables IT to recover individual files from a single console.
Commvault’s enterprise-class data protection suite can be challenging to deploy and optimize. Once properly configured, day-to-day management is reasonable for experienced admins. Commvault is highly scalable and flexible, and serves mid-level and SME businesses that need high availability.
- Complete Backup & Recovery. The suite includes file, application, and VM backup and recovery, file/VM archiving, encryption, endpoint data protection, mailbox protection, DR failover/billback, hardware snapshot management, replication and VM Live Sync. It also includes backup operational reporting and tape library management.
- Suite expansions. This include Commvault HyperScale for highly scalable data protection architecture; Commvault Orchestrate for improved provisioning, testing, and service delivery; and Commvault Activate for data governance.
Commvault Pros and Cons
- Commvault began with physical servers, and since added virtual server protection and cloud integration. Commvault protects Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Oracle servers.
- The system supports smooth upgrades by pre-upgrade checking. It automatically checks the environment and lists fixes that IT should make before launching the upgrade.
- A responsive support team with excellent follow through, and expertise with Commvault and specific hypervisors, applications, and databases.
- Solid cloud support backs up data to a variety of cloud providers, and offers encrypted cloud backups. It can recover VMs to different platforms, including physical to virtual, physical to cloud, and virtual to cloud.
- High value for large and complex environments with demanding retention and availability requirements, and a variety of workloads and data sets. Commvault heavily targets its operations to specific application and workloads. This enables IT to optimize RTO and RPO for mission-critical and business-critical applications.
- Deploying and optimizing is complicated. Commvault strongly suggests engineering services and admin training for new installations.
- Commvault physical backup is expensive with a high cost per TB. However, Commvault keeps virtual backup quite affordable thanks to its pitched competition with Veeam.
Veeam Backup and Replication generates image-level VM backups at the block level. The software allows admins to flexibly recover individual VMs, entire VM networks, filesystems, and individual files. It also offers Instant VM Recovery, so admins can quickly restore a backup by mounting the backup on the host, and migrating the VM to local or shared storage. Veeam provides long-term data retention on object storage.
Veeam also works on physical and cloud-based workloads. Physical data protection for Windows and Linux is a relatively new addition. It is not as advanced or comprehensive as Commvault’s physical server backup, but is a welcome addition for heavily virtualized environments that still need to backup physical hosts. Application-specific support includes SAP HANA and Oracle RMAN.
Cloud-based DR replication and backup supports migration and recovery to AWS and Azure. Veeam Cloud Mobility accelerates data movement between on-premises and the cloud. Veeam concentrates on rapid recovery using stored snapshots, and supports leading storage manufacturers including Dell EMC, HPE, IBM, and NetApp.
Scale-out Backup Repository (SOBR) build out the essential value proposition. SOBR is a virtual backup repository that logically collects individual backup repositories. The individual repositories are called “extents” in the parent SOBR. SOBRs support multiple extent types including its own Veeam Agents, VMware, Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV.
Veeam markets different variations of its backup and recovery software to three different market segments: SMB, medium enterprise, and large enterprise.
- Veeam Backup Essentials (SMB). Simplifies backup infrastructure complexity at a low price. Guarantees high availability for virtual, physical, and cloud workloads.
- Veeam Backup and Replication (Mid-level to SME and Enterprise). Flagship product that manages virtual, physical, and cloud workloads from a single management console. Granular restores enable admins to recover entire VM networks down to individual files.
- Veeam Availability Suite (Large Enterprise). Availability Suite controls entire backup, recovery, and replication environments with policy-driven operations and proactive reporting. Fast RTO and RPO improves DR for mission-critical applications, and Scale-out Backup Repository groups multiple backups into a single virtualized pool.
Veeam Pros and Cons
- Veeam is generally simple to install and manage. A larger deployment will be more challenging to configure and optimize, but simplicity is an important differentiator for Veeam.
- Veeam shines at virtual backup and replication for VMware and Hyper-V. Fast VM image-level replication enables rapid system recovery in virtual environments. A simplified management interface generates sophisticated monitoring and alerts, and provides a smooth upgrade process. Veeam virtual protection includes VM failover and failback.
- Veeam added support for physical server backup, and optimizes specific support functions for AIX, Oracle, and Office365.
- Although image-level recovery is very fast, file-level restores are considerably slower. This makes no practical difference when restoring a few files, but can affect recovery objectives when restoring large data sets.
- Pricing can be an issue. Veeam is generally less expensive than Commvault, but pricing is not an apples to apples comparison. Commvault’s physical pricing is considerably higher than Veeam’s but more mature and comprehensive, and Commvault under prices its virtual offering to remain competitive with Veeam.
Commvault vs. Veeam Comparison Chart
|Agents||Uses agents (software modules installed on servers) to optimize data protection for file systems, applications, databases, and archives.||Original virtual-only product was agentless, and Veeam presented this as a competitive differentiator. Has since added agents for physical server and application-specific protection.|
|Failover||Commvault Virtual Server Agent (VSA) runs failover and failback operations for VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, Acropolis, and many more.||Veeam Backup & Replication automates failover and failback for VMware and Hyper-V VMs|
|Pricing||Enterprise product with high cost-per-TB physical, lower virtual pricing.||Mid-market, lower cost-per-TB physical, higher virtual, licensing adds to costs.|
|Positioning||Mid-market to enterprise. Enterprise is their sweet spot: large data centers have budget and specialized admins to handle large Commvault deployments.||Mid-market, pushing into enterprise. Veeam lacks the scale of Commvault, but its hyper-availability and cost-effective messaging is fueling their enterprise drive.|