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CommVault - VMWorld 2013

Created on 20 September 2013


W. Curtis Preston interviews Robbie Wright, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Virtualization and Cloud for CommVault at VMWorld 2013 here in San Francisco.

Preston: How is it going?

Wright: Going great.

Preston: You guys have had a few announcements this week. When you're talking specifically in the VMWorld what exactly are you talking about?

Wright: Well, we've got a lot of new functionality that we've launched this year, Curtis, around our Simpana 10 platform, but this week we're specifically looking at VM archiving. This is kind of a new functionality that we don't see anybody else in the market delivering. It gives us the ability to do full VM resource managements that will go out and look for VM sprawl in your environment. Whenever you have a VMDK that's been sitting there for a while unused, we can set some watermarks in our platform, find those VMs, power them down, and even use storage vMotion to move them off and then even stub them and move them out to an archival platform. So they're still available in VSphere, but they're no longer sitting on that expensive primary storage.

Preston: I think you're right. I don't think anybody else is archiving VMs. I guess the question would be -- I could ask it in a number of different ways, but it's obvious that you talked to your customers and they were saying that they had this feeling that there were VMs that were just not being used and maybe they weren't being used and maybe they'd like to power them off. You're saying you're actually looking specifically for parameters of VMs that are not being used and then archiving them based on rules the customer defines.

Wright: Sure. Yeah. We have the ability for customers to define rules. We have some default settings in there that they can adopt until they figure out exactly what equals VM sprawl in their environment. We have capabilities for them to set those things so they can find them whenever they need to.

Preston: Just curious. Where is this in the release cycle?

Wright: We actually just released it last week, so it's generally available to our customers as a virtual server agent.

Preston: I'm assuming there was beta testing and all that kind of stuff. What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers who have said we put this in and we found -- do you have any numbers that you can share at all?

Wright: We don't have any specific numbers, but we've talked with several customers who have said that this really solves a big problem in their environment, that they have been able to not only reclaim storage resources but they've been able to reclaim production compute memory, networking resources and add a lot of capability back to their environment. A lot of the folks that we've seen deploy it right up front say they're finding 30 to 40% of the virtual machines in their environment are truly what we would term as VM sprawl, so idle or stale or orphan virtual machines that have been sitting there doing nothing and just consuming resources.

Preston: Yeah. It is really easy to create a VM and then once it's there it's kind of there. It's the virtual world of -- I remember back in the days of managing data centers and you had all of these boxes and you wondered out of all of these boxes is anybody actually using them. What we had back in the day was if we had a server that we thought wasn't being used, well we'd just unplug it and see if anybody called, right. This is a little bit fancier version of that, I think.

Wright: Absolutely. It's the same basic concept. The first thing you would do, or at least according to our best practices, would be power down a virtual machine which is like pulling the plug on it. It's really low risk. Because if somebody actually needs it, what do you have do, you just have to power it back on, really quick recovery time.

Preston: I guess it's a percentage of CPU -- like how do determine well this box, this VM is not doing anything?

Wright: We have a bunch of different settings that you can use in our platform; one is percentage of CPU, one is how much storage I/O is it using. Another one is how much network traffic is going through the virtual mix. Really any measure, we can use that to determine if this is truly an idle or a stale VM.

Preston: So you kind of know what a Windows box that isn't doing anything kind of looks like from an I/O perspective, a CPU perspective, a network perspective. Can you say this looks like it's stale, you power it off just like we did in the old days, see if anybody calls, right, and then there's another time period and then we start talking about moving it off?

Wright: Yeah, sure. It all depends on the policies that you set in your organization, but we can customize that however it makes sense. Typically you don't even have to wait for a phone call. Somebody calls for that VM, somebody wants to use it, we can just automatically power it back on. They don't have to wait for a call to the help desk.

Preston: So that's interesting. So how would you -- so it's a VM. It has been powered off. How would you, meaning the CommVault software, the Simpana suite, know that someone wants a VM that's off?

Wright: We have a pretty deep integration with vCenter and with vCloud Director that allows us to do that.

Preston: Interesting. I don't' understand how you would do that, but I'll just take your word for it.

Well, Robbie, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me. I know it was a long walk from the show floor there. Excited to hear, but I think this is a very interesting new piece of functionality and that's always nice to hear.

Wright: Great. I appreciate the time, Curtis, and we look forward to talking more.

Preston: I appreciate your time. Thank you for watching here on Truebit.tv. Make sure to check out our other videos, webinars, and even music videos on Truebit.tv.

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