This article is more than 1 year old

Commvault’s Bob Hammer has his head in the clouds. Actually, that's a good thing

But can he turn flounderer around? Chris Mellor weighs in

The rebuild

"While adjusting to a cloud-centric world is only one part of the company’s multifaceted turnaround plan (which includes rebuilding the sales force, expanding distribution channels, and product repricing and repackaging)," wrote William Blair analyst Jason Ader, "Commvault 11 appears to cement the company’s status as a technical leader in the field."

The Simpana product has been comprehensively updated and rebranded from v10 to v11.0 of the Commvault Data Platform, adding an API for developers to provide hooks to other applications, plus substantial IntelliSnap application coverage extension to SAP HANA, Sybase and Postgres.

IntelliSnap vendor support grew to include newer vendors Pure Storage and Nutanix. And IntelliSnap orchestration added replication and DR management options, plus management of EMC and HDS replication configurations.

Commvault has also certified HGST's Active Archive array as a storage target device. A Cloud DR set of features has been announced, with replication, disaster recovery, and test and dev's support.

Its cloud boss, Sabrinath Rao, said Commvault's moving-to-the-cloud strategy is "to capture the workload at the point of creation and attach data management service at that point. Then stay with the workload as it moves between deployment models – from on-premises to hosted private cloud to hybrid and public clouds".

It has added native support for Amazon's Simple Storage Service Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) to give customers a cloud storage option for infrequently accessed data. It's got web-scale and it's working with Open Stack.

Appliance-level products have been introduced, such as a Commvault Backup Appliance with NetApp.

There have been lots of exec-level hires. Peter Kobs was promoted from being sales veep for the Americas to veep of global accounts in April this year. In a recent earnings call Hammer said: "We have added substantial staff sales capacity in the Americas under a strength and management team and structure, which should be sufficient to meet our full-year 2016 objectives."

Is one virtual silo still possible? "Yes," said Hammer, "and it's needed. Customers have to tie together, federate, legacy data in all their silos; primary, secondary, and public cloud. The trick is to do it on an object basis. You can't do it on volumes. It only makes sense for analytics if you can get to the object."

It has built its own object storage to do this.

Did he think about going private? "Yes, but there was no need. We have no debt and a massive amount of cash plus a bank line we're not using. We're fortunate enough to be where we are and have started early enough the way the market is evolving."

There is more product development coming, with analytics being a major focus. Hammer agrees with Commvault being likened to an oil tanker, arguing that we've "replaced the engine, the hull, the wheel house while it's moving. It's really difficult to do this".

Bottoming out and turning up

The picture being presented to us is that Commvault is at the bottom of its revenue trough now, and positioned for an upturn. Existing senior management has re-fashioned the company, with its sales force re-invigorated, with the pipeline building. Its attitude to the cloud has become more positive, as has its attitudes to having appliance-level products and an ecosystem of developers.

Attention now turns then to its next quarterly results for the final 2015 quarter, its Q3, full-year 2016, and the subsequent Q4 to see if upturn predictions are correct.

"Our confidence has increased that we will see licence revenue momentum begin to build in the December quarter and continue through the end of the fiscal year," said Hammer. "We should see sequential licence revenue improvement in Q3 and in Q4 2016, based on an increase in enterprise deals. We believe Q3 total revenues will be up sequentially."

Although Q3 should show sequential growth, as should Q4, "we believe full-year 2016 total revenue will be slightly down in comparison with full-year 2015 levels, due to the slow start to the year".

Fiscal 2017 also looks good. "Our funnels indicate that good year-on-year comparisons on licence revenue growth are possible in the March 2016 quarter. We expect positive growth trends to continue through full-year 2017," Hammer added.


Bob Hammer has three Harley Davidsons. Two are in Commvault's Tinto Falls, New Jersey HQ.

If Hammer's predictions come true then he and his team are heroes; if not than, after a couple of quarters of grace, financial analyst grumblings will grow and they'll be zeroes.

We're sure Bob Hammer wants to bow out on a high note, with a sense of having returned Commvault to an even keel. His CEO succession is sorted. The last couple of years have not been an easy ride but, hopefully, the journey through next year and beyond should be easier and more satisfying. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like