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Enterprise Cloud-Native Applications With Commvault

By Scott Sinclair, Senior Analyst; Christophe Bertrand, Senior Analyst;
and Monya Keane, Senior Research Analyst



Both container adoption and cloud-native workloads are on the rise. Pursuing these trends can increase IT complexity. Fortunately, Commvault—by leveraging its container-native storage and protection innovations—is addressing the needs of production Kubernetes environments.


Today, many application-modernization initiatives are centered at least in part on Kubernetes adoption to create a container-based application environment. In a recent ESG survey, 41% of storage decision makers indicated that their organizations were using containers in production in 2019. An additional 33% reported that their organizations were using containers for dev/test and pre-production applications and planned to use them for production in the following 12 months1. Container adoption helps fuel DevOps activities, offering multiple benefits—including the fact that containers are built for hybrid cloud environments.

In a separate ESG research study of IT professionals whose organizations are currently using containers or planning to use them for production applications in the next 12 months:2

53% indicated that their interest in modern Dev/Ops practices was the catalyst for their container interest or adoption

The three benefits of leveraging container technology most commonly identified by respondents were better application performance (cited by 50%), improved software quality (45%), and better application portability (45%).

70% indicated that their container-based applications are or would be deployed in a combination of public clouds and private data centers.

Containers are built for hybrid cloud environments."

But the adoption of new technologies such as containers, combined with the disaggregated nature of hybrid cloud environments, can fuel IT complexity. Commvault, a long-time IT innovator, recognizes this fact. In an effort to help organizations that are struggling to overcome issues of rising complexity, it is providing solutions as part of a comprehensive portfolio of offerings for enterprise-level persistent storage and data protection optimized for the needs of production Kubernetes environments.

Embrace Kubernetes And Modernize Apps While Minimizing Complexity

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of IT professionals surveyed by ESG agree that IT is more complex compared with two years ago. Among those who identify IT as being more complex, almost a third of them (29%) cite increases in applications that leverage modern architectures, such as Kubernetes, as a top reason behind the complexity increase.3

An ESG research survey of IT leaders working in organizations leveraging container-based application environments (or planning to in the next 12 months) found that 36% of respondents believe managing container-based applications in a hybrid environment is one of their top container-specific management challenges, making it the most commonly identified response.4

A skillset gap may have much to do with that situation. It’s hard to find talented, experienced container IT specialists. The unfortunate result is that organizations find themselves dealing with problems of misconfiguration, crypto-jacking (insertion of malicious code to hijack the resources of corporate hardware), and worst of all—data loss.

The good news is that the complexities related to using containers across a hybrid cloud environment can be significantly reduced. The key is to select the right data management technologies, including persistent storage and data protection, for the needs of containerized applications. For example, using intelligent orchestration software (i.e., a Commvault solution) will simplify operations and remediate risk while providing self-service data recovery. Additionally, embracing software-defined storage (SDS), such as Hedvig Distributed Storage, provides hybrid and multi-cloud deployment options with built-in data governance, security and sovereignty, as well as a programmable infrastructure for the new wave of containerized application developers.

The Right Storage Architecture for Container-based Environments

ESG research also shows that many organizations share a common set of persistent storage-related challenges related to their container-based application environments (see Figure 1).5 The most often-cited challenge is associated with cost, a problem that stems from the need to introduce separate technologies for hybrid cloud environments and the resulting complexity of managing it all as a single IT ecosystem. These organizations urgently need a way to achieve better, enterprise-level data storage, protection, and availability. One technology that can address the storage-related challenges is SDS.

The benefits of SDS technology align almost directly to the needs of container-based environments. As software, SDS technology can be more easily deployed and leveraged across distributed infrastructure environments, such as hybrid or multi-cloud. In fact, 37% of SDS users identified the ability to simplify hybrid cloud environments as a top benefit of SDS technology, and 35% identified that SDS offered greater agility to better adjust infrastructure with evolving application requirements. Benefits, such as these, help improve the management and simplicity of the overall environment which helps reduce costs, as one-third (33%) of SDS users identify the reduction in operational expenses as a top benefit of SDS.

Figure 1. Top Five Challenges with Persistent Storage for Container-based Environments

In general, what would you say are your organization’s biggest persistent storage-related challenges in terms of its container-based environment? (Percent of respondents, N=274, multiple responses accepted)

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group

The Right Data Protection Architecture For Container-Based Environments

In terms of data protection specifically, the common challenges with managing backup/disaster recovery for container-based application environments (see Figure 2) include managing backup/recovery across both hybrid and multi-cloud environments, ensuring integrity of data/apps, and keeping costs under control.6

Figure 2. Top Five Challenges in Managing Backup for Container-based Environments

What are your biggest challenges related to managing backup/disaster recovery for container environments? (Percent of respondents, N=334, three responses accepted)

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group

Most IT professionals wrongly assume that container-based applications can be backed up the same way individual applications are protected. This assumption creates a potentially problematic situation that could affect the key performance indicators (e.g., RTO, RPO, and SLAs) that are tied to data protection. That’s why having a solution that is natively designed to protect containers at scale (i.e., the ability to protect potentially hundreds or thousands of micro-services, auto-discover new workloads, and seamlessly extend into cloud without a change in process) is going to be vital. Scale means many things, like the ability to protect potentially hundreds or thousands of micro-services, auto-discover new workloads, and seamlessly extend into the cloud without a change in process.

Many applications are hybrid today. With that in mind, to maximize the benefits of a container environment, the IT organization needs to build a production-level infrastructure environment that delivers enterprise storage and protection capabilities tailored to the specific needs of containers without requiring a completely separate, siloed environment. Adopting container-native orchestration with self-service data management capability ensures that businesses remain protected while overcoming the skillset gap.

Commvault—Modern Storage And Protection For Production Kubernetes Environments

Commvault’s strategy and portfolio for containers is centered on the following tenets:
  • Meeting key metrics for RPOs and RTOs.

  • Maintaining respect for where mission-critical applications live—including facing the reality that applications are essentially hybrid today.

  • Delivering an enterprise-caliber foundation in terms of capability, performance, scale, and resiliency.

  • Delivering SaaS based data protection for hybrid multi-cloud environments without ongoing management.

  • Delivering on-premises or cloud-based data protection where self-build and operate is required.

  • Leveraging distributed, software-defined storage technology that can automatically ensure data is allocated across multiple data center and cloud locations helps provide a consistent application experience across multiple environments supporting application portability.

  • Similarly, encouraging the use of software-defined storage, allowing the organization to take advantage of commodity x86 components and the cloud (to minimize day-one costs while allowing for scaling later).

  • Offering secure self-service, unified management with support for cloud-native automation. Container environments cannot be separate from other IT operations; consolidating them into the ecosystem is imperative.

  • Providing container-centric capabilities—such as container storage interface (CSI) volume snapshots—as a scalable, open approach for protecting the cloud-native storage.

  • Including advanced features and functions—e.g., synchronous and asynchronous replication, encryption, deduplication, and compression—that are programmable down to the application level. In other words, application-centric storage.

Hedvig Software-Defined Persistent Storage For Container Environments

Commvault’s 2019 acquisition, Hedvig, delivers all the enterprise-level storage and data protection functionality one would expect, including snapshots, cloning, ransomware protection, encryption, and cloud migration (one-to-one and one-to-many).

Especially important are the storage features specifically valuable to Kubernetes container-based environments—such as native support via the container storage interface and excellent control granularity for provisioning, resizing, and maintaining security. (Microservices environments demand finer control points.)

Hedvig also offers integrated volume creation and management with K8S awareness.

It is programmable, meaning it is able to align with the type of developer-driven, accelerated provisioning typical of cloud-native container-based environments. Its programmable APIs also support application and Kubernetes cluster failover.

Hedvig also offers an automated, app-aware migration policy for data movement. And for security, Hedvig provides declarative data placement to ensure data sovereignty without compromising on flexibility with a hybrid cloud deployment or introducing management complexity. Hedvig also allows for multi-tenant controls to better support DevOps environments.

Hedvig SDS For Containers
Key features:

  • Native Kubernetes storage support via CSI.

  • Snapshots, clones, and Commvault’s instant data availability feature.

  • Cloud migrations (both one-to-one and one-to-many).

  • Security with ransomware and malware protection, encryption, data sovereignty and governance, and secure access.

  • A programmable environment with granular controls and self-service designed for DevOps.

Metallic VM And Kubernetes Protection

It is worth highlighting Commvault’s strategy of addressing organizations’ data protection needs across both traditional and cloud-native environments with a single solution. This consolidation is designed to greatly reduce the challenges that are inherent in properly protecting data.

Its Metallic VM & Kubernetes Backup approach is SaaS-delivered, with the ability to span multiple environments including Azure-based Kubernetes (AKS), AWS-based Kubernetes (EKS), and on-premises environments.

It is also able to deliver application-consistent protection, which is essential for a container environment. The idea is to protect information, not just data—and to do that, you must protect, at an application level, all types of apps (traditional, VM, and cloud-native) regardless of where they reside.

Currently, Commvault is offering free Kubernetes support with its Metallic VM & Kubernetes Backup offering. If you are just in the early planning stages of implementing Kubernetes containers, this component of the Metallic offering could be very helpful, and it needs to be on your evaluation radar.

Metallic VM And Kubernetes Protection
Key features:

  • SaaS-delivered.

  • Native Kubernetes application-consistent protection.

  • Ability to protect, recover, and migrate containerized apps.

  • Validated with Red Hat OpenShift, EKS, AKS, NetApp Trident, and VMware Tanzu.


Cloud-native, Kubernetes-based applications are quickly becoming business-critical, and multiple organizations are already there. Regardless of where an organization resides with its Kubernetes adoption, they can architect the surrounding ecosystem and infrastructure to support the enterprise storage and data protection needs for business and even mission-critical environments.

Commvault, with its recent integration of Hedvig storage technology, provides storage and protection solutions that can address the needs of cloud-native environments, while scaling as your organization increases adoption. When searching for a solution that can address the needs of both the developer and IT groups in your organization, Commvault needs to be on the list of options to consider.

Software-defined storage solutions

Source: ESG Master Survey Results, 2019 Data Storage Trends, Nov 2019.
Source: ESG Master Survey Results, Trends in Modern Application Environments, Dec 2019.
Source: ESG Master Survey Results, 2020 Technology Spending Intentions Survey, Jan 2020.
Source: ESG Master Survey Results, Trends in Modern Application Environments, Dec 2019.
Source: ESG Master Survey Results, 2019 Data Storage Trends, Nov 2019.
Source: ESG Master Survey Results, Data Protection Considerations for Containers, to be published.

This ESG Solution Showcase was commissioned by Commvault and is distributed under license from ESG.

All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at 508.482.0188.

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