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Commvault’s Don Foster Explains the Strategy Behind the Hedvig Acquisition

When Commvault announced the acquisition of Hedvig, we at DSA questioned the wisdom of the purchase. You can see our concerns here.
 
Commvault, acknowledged our concerns and put up Don Foster, a 17-year veteran of Commvault and their Vice president of Product to discuss our concerns and give us some more background on why they dived in and decided to buy Hedvig.

Don Foster, Vice President, Storage Solutions, Commvault

Don is clearly a very knowledgeable person and this was not just a case of Commvault putting up a PR voice- Don has deep knowledge of the data protection space, and his explanation of why the Hedvig acquisition makes sense was grounded in strong logic and deep customer experience. 

In terms of providing Hedvig as a standalone Software Defined Storage platform, Commvault's current plan is to keep that product alive. But the way Don sees it, that is not about going out trying to conquer the world and fight the primary storage players. It’s more about Hedvig being a modern platform that is ahead of the curve in leveraging multi-cloud and hybrid cloud enterprise storage capability, and for companies that want that option, Commvault wants to keep the technology alive.
 
Don also explained that many companies have a different storage strategy and may not want the "pure Hedvig product at all". Others may see a niche area where it fits into their total storage strategy and from a Commvault perspective, when it comes to primary storage any of the above is fine.
 
The more important aspect of the Hedvig technology is how it unlocks Commvault’s strategic vision. Essentially Hedvig helps the rubber hit the road as it pertains to the reality of their technology and the vision that the company espouses. 
 
In a market where flexible secondary storage is seen as the enabler for modern approaches to data protection and with new kids on the block like Rubrik building products from the ground up around this kind of technology, Commvault's Hyperscale products have been there to answer to this shift. However, many commentators have argued that whilst Hyperscale is a step in the right direction, it has limitations such as limited cloud integration. 
 
Don highlighted that Hedvig provides the technology that can really strengthen the Hyperscale technology. It’s an execution of the vision. In this respect we agree we see the logic.
 
Our major concern was that the Hedvig purchase was about continuing down the path of being a Data and Storage Management company, which we believed was a dead end for Commvault. But Don explained that it’s about data and storage management but in the context of how data protection has to leverage these technologies. 
 
Other commentators such as Storage Gaga, had already identified this as the "good" in the acquisition. At DSA we agree, if Hedvig is about taking the ideas behind Hyperscale and make them multi-cloud then this is a good move and gives Commvault a chance to re-engineer products and offerings that compete well with the new breed of data protection disrupters. 
 
As long as they don't get distracted by the lure of the big bucks in the primary storage play, then we have to agree with Don that this strategy is strong. The challenge now is to productise and execute. We look forward to seeing the fruits of the Hedvig integration!
 

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