Critical thinking: NetApp builds Scale-out Data Protection with Commvault

NetApp has launched a backup / disaster recovery system based on Commvault software that runs NetApp HCI and stores backup data on its all-flash FAS arrays and StorageGRID object storage.

According to NetApp, Scale-out Data Protection (SDP) protects “all major operating systems, applications, and databases on virtual and physical servers, NAS shares, cloud-based infrastructures, and endpoint/mobile devices”.

Brett Roscoe, VP, product management, NetApp, said: “The launch of SDP provides our joint customers with a simple, turn-key solution that uses NetApp HCI to enhance the scalability and robustness of the Commvault software in protecting their most critical data across hybrid cloud environments.”

NetApp and Commvault said they have around 1,200 joint customers.


SDP has a NetApp validated architecture and incorporates Commvault Complete Backup and Recovery Software, which executes as a traditional, backup orchestrating media server in the HCI system.

Blocks & Files diagram.

Commvault runs on the source systems and its snapshot capability provides the first line of defence against data loss, with its support of more than 300 array snapshot engines. SDP has near-instant restoration capabilities, according to NetApp, because of this.

The primary backup tier is a NetApp AFF array, which is designed for fast access to primary data file and block storage.

NetApp Commvault SDP diagram

Protection data can be copied across to a StorageGRID object storage system for secondary longer term retention. The StorageGRID system can be in the same data centre or remote, thus providing disaster recovery capability. Restored virtual machines from the StorageGRID or AFF systems can be fired up in the NetApp HCI control appliance as a stopgap until the damaged source systems can be made functional again.

Protection data can also optionally be written to supported public clouds. Customers can get air-gapped ransomware protection from S3-accessed tape-based services in these clouds; meaning AWS Glacier/Glacier Deep Archive and Azure Archive. This functionality has not specifically been tested in the NetApp validated architecture.


NetApp and Commvault emphasise the scale-out capabilities of the NetApp HCI control system. Coupled with the AFF system as the primary tier, this confirms that SDP is a high-end data protection system for critical data.

An all-flash FlashBlade data protection array from Pure Storage also uses fast flash and is positioned as a primary data flash array and being used for backups. Pure’s FlashArray//C uses slower speed flash.

The NetApp SDP product bundle is available from NetApp and its channel partners.