Air-Gapped Backups With Cloud Economics To Protect Against Ransomware? There You Go, Commvault Launches Metallic Cloud Storage Service

Commvault recently announced the availability of Metallic Cloud Storage Service (MCSS). What is Metallic about, and why should organisations consider it?

Introducing Metallic

Metallic was launched by Commvault at their Go event in 2019. Running on the Microsoft Azure public cloud, Metallic offers a cloud archive / backup copy target that understandably resides in the cloud.

It targets on-premises customers and allows organisations to make the cloud either a primary or secondary backup target for Commvault Backup & Restore or for Commvault HyperScale X appliances.

Commvault definitely sees MCSS as an ideal response to the increase in ransomware attacks (+400% this year) on top of a global pandemic crisis, and thus highlighting an era of increased risk which also deals with geopolitical instability.

“Metallic Cloud Storage protects against cyberattacks by combining the underlying security of Microsoft Azure and the encrypted authentication and monitoring within Commvault’s data management platform, that provides secure, air-gapped and immutable copies of customer data,” said Jürgen Willis, Partner Director of Program Management, Azure Storage, Microsoft. “As companies look to the cloud to accelerate their digital transformation, reduce CAPEX, minimize risk, and improve remote work, Metallic Cloud Storage Service can help deliver against the most demanding data protection needs of today’s hybrid world.”

Product Integration

Looking beyond ransomware, MCSS should also appeal to Commvault customers who are afraid of using the cloud for data protection due to concerns related to security, cost control and lack of expertise.

We watched an MCSS demo which was disconcertingly simple: the customer journey starts with obtaining a regular Commvault license key to use MCSS (license is applied within Commvault Command Center), handshakes happen in the background and are abstracted. The only interaction needed by the user is to select a name, a region and the media agent (and whether deduplication must be enabled or not). Once this is done, all that remains to be done is create a protection plan with the usual options, and select MCSS as the destination.

Consumption and Pricing

Metallic can be transacted through Commvault partners and is sold on a per-TB subscription basis starting at 1 year length. Commvault mentions that beyond expectable savings (egress traffic and administration costs included), volume discounts are also available.

Pricing is available here and seems to be degressive based on the amount of capacity required. We appreciate the clarity of the pricing page, especially the comprehensive FAQ which covers all pricing matters.

Screenshot from Metallic pricing page as of 8-Oct-20. Degressive pricing is shown for the 100-199 TB range (1-24 TB shows $180 per TB/month).

Commvault also mentioned a 1:1 capacity deal offered to HyperScale X customers. Customers will be offered the same capacity in MCSS free of charge for 3 months (we do not know if this refers to usable capacity or purchased capacity of a HyperScale X block).

Commvault is thus looking at increasing the synergies between their products, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

TECHunplugged’s Opinion

Are vendors such as Commvault surfing on a wave of FUD – at least on the Fear part of FUD – when it comes to ransomware and security concerns in general?

We do not think so at TECHunplugged. Ransomware attacks are so frequent that we are almost surprised they still make the news, wouldn’t it be for the massive outage these cause and the devastating effects they can have, whether from an economic perspective, or even more tragically by causing loss of life as we’ve recently seen, especially when hospital and healthcare providers are impacted.

Security and data protection should never be understated, and data protection should be integral to any application, project or organization. Furthermore, it is well known that data copies should never be stored at the same place and the cloud has massively democratized the ability to store backup copies at a reduced cost, without having to provision dedicated infrastructure and handle data center hosting for backup / DR purposes.

We believe Commvault’s solution is relevant for customers for three reasons: it provides a secure, air gapped data copy in the cloud, it seamlessly integrates with Commvault products suite, and it enables customers to benefit from cloud economics without the hassle that usually comes with cloud-based DYI solutions.

On a closing comment, what we like even more about Metallic is how it embodies the new direction of Commvault towards a much more dynamic organization, showing that the organization is really walking the talk, and walking it promisingly well at that.