Cloud Cost and Security Complexities – Infrastructure Matters Episode 19

Cloud Cost and Security Complexities - Infrastructure Matters Episode 19

In this episode of Infrastructure Matters, hosts Camberley Bates and Krista Macomber discuss recent developments in the tech industry, focusing on Commvault’s earnings and strategic business movements, especially regarding their SaaS division, Metallic. They highlight Metallic’s impressive 77% year-over-year growth, signaling strong market demand for cloud-based services. The conversation also touches on Nutanix’s evolution and their strategy to increase their market presence against VMware, including a new partnership with Cisco and developments in container infrastructure and data services. Lastly, they cover Catalogic’s new self-hosted option for CloudCasa, offering more flexibility for industries with stringent data privacy and sovereignty requirements.

Key highlights include:

  • Commvault’s SaaS division, Metallic, showed a 77% increase in revenue, indicating a robust demand for cloud services.
  • Nutanix is positioning itself to challenge VMware more directly, with a focus on hyperconverged and hybrid cloud infrastructure, as well as container infrastructure.
  • Catalogic announced a self-hosted option for CloudCasa, catering to industries that cannot fully utilize public cloud offerings due to data privacy and sovereignty laws.
  • AWS’s EC2 Capacity Blocks model provides a flexible and efficient means for businesses to access high-performance GPUs, especially beneficial for short-term, intensive AI and ML projects.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Camberley Bates: Hey, welcome to episode 19 of Infrastructure Matters. It is the Power Girls, or Power Ladies, I should say, Camberley Bates and Krista Macomber, welcome to us this morning. We’ve got a few things to run by. There’s been some announcements, a lot of earnings. We’re not going to cover the earnings today, but we’re going to cover some of the announcements that have happened and what we’re anticipating maybe for the next couple of weeks, which is getting crazy, crazy busy, I’m sorry. So, thanks Krista for joining. Oh, I have to say one more thing, I know this is really… I have a new cup. It’s with the bike.

Krista Macomber: I love it.

Camberley Bates: New cup. Okay. Now that we’re through the fun stuff, let’s talk about the real stuff. Commvault earnings this week. Nice.

Krista Macomber: Yes, definitely. So their revenue was up almost 7% year to year, and that actually was a beat on their earnings guidance, so that was definitely very exciting to see. I had the pleasure of covering it, it was flexing a little bit of a muscle that I haven’t used in a bit of time, but good to get back into it for the earnings coverage. And what was especially interesting to me was the fact that Metallic, which is Commvault’s, they’ve been operating it as a separate division, but they’re definitely taking steps to integrate this division with their longer standing solution complete. But the Metallic business, which is effectively their SaaS revenue, that was up actually 77% year to year, that was to $131 million for an annual recurring revenue. So definitely from my standpoint, a really great indication of all the work that not only Commvault has done to grow that business, but also just some of the general demand that we’re seeing for cloud boosting.

Camberley Bates: Yep, absolutely. They’ve done it. It was interesting when they came out with Metallic as a separate brand. I’m thinking that it was a couple of years ago, but it’s probably more like five or something like that, that timeframe just merged right in. It was purposefully they were trying to separate themselves from where they were, and now what we’re seeing is that, well, maybe the enterprises have all grown up and saying, “Okay, we are in the cloud, we are on-prem, we got to do both anyway.” So it’s really good to see where they’ve been and they’ve established a really strong footprint, which will do them very well over the period of time in the years to come as clients just start adopting more and more of this hybrid space and understanding that they need to protect that area.

Krista Macomber: Absolutely. And it’s been, to your point, a little bit of a double-edged sword almost for Commvault, because like you mentioned, that business has been just really doing fantastic in the marketplace, but at the same time, from the perspective of customers, I think there’s been a little bit of a disconnect between Metallic and the core division. So they’re actually hosting an event next week in New York City, I’m actually going to have the opportunity to be there, which is exciting, and so I think they’re going to be talking a little bit more during that event on their roadmap for the business, not only really protecting these hybrid cloud environments, but also their general push for data security and things like that. So there will definitely be more to update next week. And actually the earnings launch is a little bit of a preview to that so it’s, I think, all good and really interesting to be watching the evolution.

Camberley Bates: Yes, definitely. Absolutely, definitely. Then there was this week we had an AR conference with Nutanix, and for you guys who don’t quite know who Nutanix is, Nutanix came out many years ago as a hyperconverged infrastructure system, HCI system. Used to run completely on VM, or they actually had their own VM AHV, and now, so we did put a research note out, and it’s titled that… That Dave Raffo really authored, and I loved his title because Nutanix Preps for VMware Takeover, it’s like, okay.

Krista Macomber: No guesswork there.

Camberley Bates: Yes. at one time, they had a campaign that was called No VMware Tax. Even though they’re selling that portion of it, 50% of their business is still VMware platform, so it’s been interesting to seeing them going through this transition to where their own AHV VM is established. So there was some focus on the VMware takeover, what they’re thinking is, and it’s no different than what everybody else is talking about, is what is it going to do? What’s the investments going to be? What are the staffing going to be? All that kind of stuff. So maybe next week we’ll hear, maybe they’re going to actually close it today, which is the 3rd of November that we’re taping this. So here are some of the big things that were there, Project Beacon they focused on. This was announced I think at their conference in last spring, at .NEXT, and Project Beacon is looking at data services. And what we’re seeing with data services, and I think you’ve seen this as well with some of the NetApp things, et cetera, with all the work they’re doing, but the data services are looking at how do we create this platform that enables on-prem off-prem capabilities and also enabling something called the Kubernetes folks over there, those DevOps people, easy self-service to things like database?

And so part of that is like a database as a service. For those of you that don’t know about the new applications that are coming on, those new applications tend to have multiple databases. It used to be that we have monolithic systems, one type of database that was used for the entire app, that was Oracle or IMSDb or something like that. But today we have multiple databases that are part of that entire app as we have the smaller containers that are operating that entire environment. So this enables the customers or the DevOps people to easily access databases, attach them to it, and then also for them not to have to worry about maintaining all the updates and the security and everything else is there, so that was a pretty big deal.

Krista Macomber: So with Camberley, when we think about Nutanix trying to increase that foothold against VMware, would that be what you say is the key you see for them, or what’s your perspective on that?

Camberley Bates: Well, I think it’s multifold. Yeah, they’re focusing on that because so much of the business is there and that’s going to impact them. But the other piece of it is really where they’re at is they’re, instead of calling hyperconverged infrastructure, it’s now hybrid cloud infrastructure. So you can deploy them on-prem, you can deploy them up in the cloud, and they’re streamlining this thing so it’s an easy way to move back and forth if you need to in your environments. The second big area they’ve gone into, and save this space because we’re going to be doing a video with them next week at KubeCon, is moving into the containers environment. So hyper container infrastructure. So they’ve got partnerships with Red Hat and SUSE and all the others, works wanting to see them do a whole lot more integration with those systems to make it more ease of use. Their offering sits on top of their AHV, so it is not a bare metal, it’s sitting on their AHV VM, so stay tuned on that one. So that’s where they’re at.

Krista Macomber: Sounds good.

Camberley Bates: The other piece that they address there is, if you missed it, they announced a partnership with Cisco, which is really big because they’ve got all these salespeople out there that can move it. Now, Cisco had an offering, had a partnership called HyperFlex HCI. Didn’t do particularly well, and so this is end of life, or support’s going to end in about five years for that offering. But this is their new bringing something to the cloud and that will move their UCS servers, which is important. So they’re making sure that part of that ecosystem that customers are buying, which is hyperconverged systems in particular, if you look at the market, probably 50% of the hyperconverged systems out there are for BDI and the other ones are for traditional application database systems, et cetera, so now what we’re expecting them to do is move into that container space. And also they’ve launched, a while ago, a GPU in a box offering that we’ve seen with other people. So those are some of the highlights. We’ll put the research note, there’s a few other things in there that we can highlight, but hit on what was going on there.

Krista Macomber: Yeah, absolutely.

Camberley Bates: So the other thing, Catalogic, you want to talk about Catalogic?

Krista Macomber: Sure. So we had a great conversation with Catalogic and they have announced this past week a self-hosted option for CloudCasa, which is their data protection software, essentially back in recovery for Kubernetes environments, speaking of containers, and for cloud databases as well. So we’ve seen to date that CloudCasa has been exclusively sold through the software as a service, the SaaS model, so hosted, excuse me, in AWS and delivered by CloudCasa. But what we’ve seen and is a great reminder to me of where the industry is at, we’ve had all of this cloud washing for so many years now that sometimes it’s easy to forget that the public cloud is not feasible for a lot of customers in industries, for example like Telecom, where maybe there are requirements for data privacy or data sovereignty, especially since GDPR over in Europe over the last several years.

And also there just may be some concerns over performance and latency when we think about recovery performance. So what CloudCasa is doing is it’s offering customers the ability to host this data protection software within their own environment. So that includes the compute infrastructure, includes the storage infrastructure, and the customer also has the opportunity to deploy their own MongoDB database for the data catalog, so if there are concerns around privacy for that. So it’s, again, this interesting use case because I think for many great reasons, Catalogic has been very bullish around that SaaS model for this particular market, and it does make sense for a lot of reasons, but again, they’ve been getting this feedback in these particular industries and particular use cases and are taking a step to meet those, so it’ll be interesting to see the uptick in the customer reaction. And again, I think just a great reminder that while the public cloud is really great for a lot of things, especially for data security and privacy today, it’s not always feasible.

Camberley Bates: Part of that is whenever we get briefed with vendors and stuff, they talk about what they’re doing in cloud, or they have a data services in the cloud, so like a BlueXP or something like that might be a cloud-based offering. And one of the first things Randy Kerns always asks is, “What are you doing for the dark sites?” Standard question. He’s like, “Here’s our list of questions. Be prepared.” Because if you want to play with the DOD or any of the NSA entities, they’re not going to go and put that. Yeah, there’s FedRAMP that’s up there, so there’s that offering. But we still see many of them saying that, no, we’re not going to connect up there, there’s too much risk in it, and for all the things. The other piece that you didn’t mention is sovereignty. That was another one. So we’re having that sovereignty piece of it, which means that if you’re going to… The sovereignty piece is that you’re going to be in that country, you’re going to have to be in every one of those clouds. And if you’re not a first class citizen, if you’re not within an AWS or Azure, and that can be really tough for a smaller firm, so this gives them the opportunity to bring that offering to those countries, especially when you get over in Europe, there’s quite a few countries now that are saying, “No, you can’t let the data go. You’ve got to leave it here.” So it’s been interesting to see how companies have been starting to unwind their centralized IT in order to meet the sovereignty piece of it, that GDPR, or not GDPR, I don’t think it’s GDPR, but the different countries are putting on the system. So that’s very…

Krista Macomber: Absolutely.

Camberley Bates: New areas. So getting to that, we wanted to talk a little bit about hosting versus on-premise and some of the challenges, or the consideration, I should say, considerations, one would have on how they’re using it. So I’ll turn it over to you first and then I’ll chime in.

Krista Macomber: Sure. I think maybe I’ll piggyback on some of the things that we’ve been covering. So I did talk about that really tremendous growth from the SaaS division of Commvault, Metallic, and obviously we were just talking about CloudCasa, which has been experiencing this great success with the software as a service model, but has had to offer that on-prem deployment. So I think in particular, when we think about all of these cyber attacks that companies across the world and all industries are experiencing, control over that backup data catalog, that becomes really important. So for the sovereignty issues that you were just discussing, Camberley, but also for the sake of data privacy and data security, really. So, again, the ability to make sure that that is controlled on-prem when it needs to be, make sure that that backup data catalog is accessible, because that really is going to be the foundation of the ability to be able to search for data and recover data in the event that it needs to be recovered, which obviously is a significant concern when we think about data security and cyber attacks.

Camberley Bates: I also go to, and this is really a totally different thing that when you’re looking for on hosting versus on-premise, is the equivalency of the capabilities that you have of on-premise versus hosting. And some of them have more function in the cloud and less function on-prem, depends upon where they start developing their stuff. The other piece of it is that, and I think most companies know this, when you’re standing up environments, AWS is very different than Azure and is very different than GCP, and each one of those require different staffing, or I should say different skills. Maybe I could have an expert on one and an expert on another, probably not an expert on all three, but they do take different skills. And so that’s why there’s advantages of having and using the hosting capabilities, but there is also the level of the labor piece of it that’s going on top of it, especially as you’re trying to button down and making sure the nuances for high availability, replication, data security, all the things that are, I would call, the sticky wickets. Isn’t the sticky wickets with the- That you run into when you’re working to implement the entire infrastructure and maintain that infrastructure. So that’s another piece to be concerned with as they’re looking at where those things are. What’s my skill base that I have? What’s the equivalency of the technology? Et cetera.

Krista Macomber: Yep. Yeah, I’m really glad you brought that up, Camberley, because I think, so you mentioned that we sit on a lot of vendor briefings when it’s, oh, we have this new offering for the cloud, and one of the other conversations that we tend to ask in addition to what are you doing for your dark site, is how much refactoring needed to go on, whether it be for the software architecture, whether it be for the storage architecture? So really to understanding, is there true future equivalency there? Are there any potential gaps? You mentioned things like replication, for example. So certainly that’s a consideration, and I think it’s not always clear upfront to the customer, because I think when we think about how these cloud solutions are positioned, of course it’s going to be talking about their highlights and things like that, so it can be a lot to really unpack in terms of really making sure there is that feature equivalency there.

And the other thing I would add is when we think about using the cloud, leading into a discussion around cost economics, because different features are going to lead into cost economics, and I know we’ve done some T scale modeling for customers that have looked into things like deduplication and compression in the storage software to make sure that that data is being stored as efficiently as possible. And also capabilities like the ability to tier to a lower cost storage option, which again, is going to have very long-term implications on the overall cost of the solution. So it’s definitely not easy to really look and compare when we think about costs and features and, like you mentioned, really making sure that the skills are there to be able to oversee all of this and navigate it.

Camberley Bates: So another area that I’ll bring up is the issue of, and this is not as much on the backup, I believe, you may know that, you probably know better than I do, but it is true on many of the other data storage operating systems and some of the other application areas, is whether or not it’s on bare metal or if it’s on VM, and as you were saying, how it’s been refactored for it, and that’s part of the refactoring. So I know very, very early on, for instance, the Dell implement, starting to implement Isilon with Google, and that did not work well, the client’s experience was not… They didn’t get the full power of Isilon, now called PowerScale, but they didn’t get the full power of that. So what we saw then, this is very, very early on, four or five years ago, they were standing up the device right next to GCP to take advantage of the capabilities in order to make sure that the speed and capabilities are there. So now they’ve progressed farther to where they’re doing more work on implementing the offerings in the different clouds on bare metal, but that’s taken, as you said, the development effort for them to be working, coworking with those cloud environments, to bring that out. So as clients are going up to saying, “Okay, I’m in the marketplace, I’m looking at the marketplace, I’m thinking about using ABC technology,” whatever, those questions need to be asked about, what does that look like? Because just because it’s running up there, does not mean it’s going to be the same performance capabilities that they have tuned to the system for on-premise.

Krista Macomber: Yep.

Camberley Bates: That’s very important.

Krista Macomber: And the other thing that factors in there is the networking capabilities and load balancing, we certainly can get some latency there as well. So that’s just another factor in that equation.

Camberley Bates: Yeah, absolutely. And our lab has been doing some testing, in particular the one area that we’ve done testing with, and there’s some papers that are out there, on VDI and in the cloud, and looking at the variances of performance with VDI instances with processors, et cetera. So it does vary. Okay, here we are, infrastructure matters guys. Just because your sitting on doesn’t mean… That’s why they have so many instances of whatever hardware you’re going to be sitting on, is because you get to hopefully optimize the right processor types, the right IO types, the right protocol types, et cetera, that you’re putting your systems on, and it’s an entirely new and different skill for the folks. So I know I’m not saying anything terribly new to these people, but again, it’s a reminder about the things to be thinking about as you’re looking at your applications.

Krista Macomber: So it’s good to stay grounded, right?

Camberley Bates: Yeah, absolutely. So I think that’s a wrap for today, a little bit shorter than some of our other ones, but next week, stay tuned, we’re going to be in KubeCon, so you’ll be hearing a whole lot from us from that one. Okay. Hey, I need to remind you guys, you need to click the button, follow us, like us, everything, all that good stuff. That’s what we do is making sure we’re meeting the needs of the people that are listening to us. Thank you very much, guys.

Krista Macomber: Thank you so much.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Cyber-Detection and Recovery Drive Commvault’s Portfolio Strategy

Nutanix .NEXT 2023: A Focus on Multi-Cloud Puts the New in Nutanix

AWS re:Inforce: Bridging the Shared Responsibility Divide

Author Information

With a focus on data security, protection, and management, Krista has a particular focus on how these strategies play out in multi-cloud environments. She brings approximately a decade of experience providing research and advisory services and creating thought leadership content, with a focus on IT infrastructure and data management and protection. Her vantage point spans technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her work has appeared in major publications including eWeek, TechTarget and The Register.

Prior to joining The Futurum Group, Krista led the data center practice for Evaluator Group and the data center practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research. She also created articles, product analyses, and blogs on all things storage and data protection and management for analyst firm Storage Switzerland and led market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Journalism with a minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

Camberley brings over 25 years of executive experience leading sales and marketing teams at Fortune 500 firms. Before joining The Futurum Group, she led the Evaluator Group, an information technology analyst firm as Managing Director.

Her career has spanned all elements of sales and marketing including a 360-degree view of addressing challenges and delivering solutions was achieved from crossing the boundary of sales and channel engagement with large enterprise vendors and her own 100-person IT services firm.

Camberley has provided Global 250 startups with go-to-market strategies, creating a new market category “MAID” as Vice President of Marketing at COPAN and led a worldwide marketing team including channels as a VP at VERITAS. At GE Access, a $2B distribution company, she served as VP of a new division and succeeded in growing the company from $14 to $500 million and built a successful 100-person IT services firm. Camberley began her career at IBM in sales and management.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from California State University – Long Beach and executive certificates from Wellesley and Wharton School of Business.


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