Commvault continues to evolve licensing

Getting the most from your investment in CommVault is key as you data store grows and changes over time. Like all good vendors, CommVault is adding new functionality but also providing new ways in which you can purchase their product.

This article walks you through the various license models and provides an outline of some of the newer features which might be very appropriate for your next expansion requirement.

Traditional Feature Based Licensing (also known as a la carte)

Back in the year 2000 when CommVault entered the Australian marketplace, it had a licensing scheme similar to many other backup products, where features purchased matched each environment’s components.

  • Agents for specific operating systems, databases, applications. This included Windows, Unix, SQL, DB2, Lotus Notes, Novell, Exchange, Active Directory, and so on. For each one of these environments you needed an agent so that the data could be protected to allow for the best recovery
  • In addition, you had to license the Media Agent (backup) server, or multiples in a multi-site environment
  • You licensed the tape library and each drive
  • You licensed the capacity (in TBs) that you wrote to in a backup-to-disk environment
  • You also had to license other options and features from a very rich and comprehensive list
  • Many times customers purchased these in special bundles to reduce the price
  • The feature set grew with the addition of new functions. One key addition was that of deduplication (aka Advanced Disk Option). This meant that clients licensed the disk space that CommVault’s deduplication system wrote to, measured in TB. This was more expensive that the “Standard Disk” backup method, yet you could retain many more backups in significantly less space; thus improving data protection and importantly, speed of recovery.
  • There were also a range of features of email and file server archiving, content indexing and more.

Traditional licensing, since it was the only option, was how all clients purchased CommVault.  This licensing scheme is very much still in use by clients around Australia.

Capacity Based Licensing (CLA)

CLA Meter Example

Capacity Based Licensing was introduced around 2010 with version 8, and this dramatically simplified the way in which licenses were consumed. Instead of being tied to a specific feature set, sites were licensed by the number of TBs that they protected at the “front end”.  This is equivalent to measuring the size of a single full backup of all important data and basing the licensing on that volume. The CLA scheme became very popular because it meant any change to the environment, eg moving from Novell to Microsoft, didn’t mean that you had to purchase new features.

Importantly the CLA scheme allowed as many “back end TBs” of data to be retained, without regard for retention period or multi-site copies. Organisations were then able to create DR copies of their backups for no extra licensing and significantly if not completely reduce the need for tape in their data protection scheme.


Backup data replication to DR site

The CLA “front end” TBs were measured in a few ways:

  1. Data Protection Enterprise DPE – all you can eat in the way of backup, included all features
  2. Data Protection Advanced DPA (used to be called ADM) – suited most virtualised environments except very high, end
  3. Data Protection Foundation DPF (for server-level backups only, without application agents), and very suitable for physical server data protection

From a price perspective, DPE was the most expensive, then DPA, and DPF at the low end.
We have gradually seen an injection of many features that were previously in DPE now into DPA and this has become the new standard.

Most new clients purchase all or some DPA today.

The CLA has additional TB counters for archival workloads. 40-60% of many organisations’ total data is aged and less important and certainly less accessed. Archive provides for a way of easily implementing sound data management policies, and thereby reducing backup windows.

“Solution Bundle” Licensing

A new feature set launched in late 2014 meant that certain CommVault features are now very affordable. One popular example is Hypervisor based backups, which are becoming an industry standard, and in acknowledgement CommVault have released simplified licensing at the price point of its much less mature competitors.

Available as standalone or in addition to a CLA, the Cloud Simpana “cSim” licensing  can be purchased in packs of 10 VMs or by hypervisor processor socket (similar to VMware licensing). When purchased by processor socket it allows for unlimited VMs to be protected on the licensed ESX or Hyper-V hosts. This is ideal for many organisations as it makes it easy to accommodate for growth: add another ESX or Hyper-V host? Don’t forget to get backup licensing for it!

VMs protected under cSIM licensing do not consume the CLA TB-based licensing, and cSIM licensing also provides dedupe functionality, tape support, media agents, DR copies, and so on. This is great value for new and existing customers alike. New customers receive all basic licensing required to run a Simpana environment with dedupe, tape and VM backup functionality, while existing CLA customers free up significant amounts of backup license utilisation allowing for growth in application level backups.

CommVault have a range of offerings in this new solution bundle category that work as an adjunct to CLA licensing (it is important to note these do not intermix with traditional feature licensing and they do require version 10 of CommVault).  The areas covered by the solution bundles include:

Virtual Machines

  • By socket or by 10-pack of VMs (as described above)
  • Intellisnap (hardware snapshot integration) and end user self-restore add-on
  • VM cloud management: provision VMs locally or in the cloud, for example for spin-up of VM for site recovery/testing, add-on
  • VM lifecycle management, whole of VM archiving for dormant VMs, for example, add-on

Endpoints (desktop/laptop)

  • Basic backup and recovery, per device up to 2TB ea
  • File Sharing eg corporate drop-box replacement with “Edge Drive”
  • Endpoint compliance search add-on
  • Bundle of the above

Intellisnap only protection

  • Entry (7TB), mid-range (14TB) and enterprise (21TB) bundles

Email Management

  • Email archive and content indexing, per mailbox
  • Compliance archive add-on
  • Bundle of the above


So the next time you need license capacity upgrades there are some questions to ask:

  • Stay with feature licensing or convert to CLA?
  • Straight CLA or supplement with the new solution bundles?

Not easy, but Perfekt can help with these conversations and navigate through the options.

Start by sending us a License Summary Report with the Capacity Usage option checked. Email the HTML report to us.

Craig Tamlin
Perfekt’s WA Branch Manager, Craig Tamlin, is an IT industry veteran with over 30 years of international experience helping clients of all scales address their Information Management and Technology challenges. He has a passion for storage, backup/recovery and DR. Previously as Australia/NZ Country Manager of backup storage company Quantum, he has vast experience with a broad range of data protection solutions and is a Commvault platform champion, offering Commvault solutions to Perfekt’s WA clients for 9 years.


Need to make an informed decision? Contact a Perfekt specialist to get a free consultation.