The storage market, like most segments of IT, is one bursting at the seams with venture-capital funding, new vendors, acquisitions and consolidation.
In just the last few years we've seen the emergence of market-leading vendors such as Nutanix, the splitting of HP, and the acquisition of EMC.
But in among all these changes and more, Commvault has remained relatively steady.
Over the last 10 years since going public, its revenue growth has run like clockwork from $151m (£117m) to $650m, with the exception of a blip in fiscal year 2016.
CEO Bob Hammer has been ever-present throughout this growth. Installed in 1998, Hammer has overseen all but two of Commvault's years as an independent company, since breaking away from AT&T in 1996. He is the vendor's largest shareholder, boasting of not selling a single share during his tenure.
Particularly around 2011 and 2012, Commvault was one of a handful of hot properties in the storage space. Competitors 3PAR, Isilion Systems and Compellent Technologies were acquired by HP, IBM and Dell respectively, creating M&A buzz around Commvault itself.
Since then, Commvault has gone from being a sought-after storage player to the legacy vendor that everybody likes to kick.
In recent months new kids on the block SimpliVity, Rubrik and Cohesity have all taken cheap shots at Commvault for what they branded bloated, convoluted and old technology.
But with a new set of hyperconverged products having been launched and more coming later this year, CEO Hammer has swiped at the newcomers, accusing them of doing nothing more than what Commvault already does.
"The Rubrik idea is a nice idea but it's just a part of what we do and at the end of the day it's a relatively small part," he said. "I can't think of anything we can't do - we can do a lot more than they can do - and we are lower cost and higher performance.
"They have a good story and they've done a really effective job in telling that story, but from a Commvault standpoint, that day is just about over.
A bumpy road
Revenue at the firm was most recently up 9.3 per cent year on year, recovering from its first year of negative growth since going public.
But the seemingly comfortable and modest growth over the last few years has masked a difficult period that has seen Commvault survive a tricky break-up with Dell and overhaul its product portfolio to make it mid-market friendly.
Hammer explained that Commvault is now out of the woods after killing an OEM agreement with Dell that at one stage accounted for 25 per cent of its revenue.
The partnership broke down around 2012 when Dell acquired Quest, leaving Commvault unable to provide the mid-market solution on which Dell had taken the lead, and sending Commvault's share price on a spiral that took it from a high of $88.86 to a low of $31.45.
"We were an enterprise-focused company but we made a decision, rightly or wrongly, to get a big mid-market partner and I knew a lot of the Dell management so I chose Dell," he said.
"Dell ended up being 25 per cent of our business. We were focused on the enterprise and they had mid-market. A couple of things happened about four or five years ago and I said ‘this is a waste of time', so we pulled the Band-Aid off. Twenty-five per cent of our revenue disappeared.
"Now we're in the mid-market and they were saying ‘we don't want your big platform, give us something simple'. We hadn't broken up the platform into standalone solutions so that's when the company did one of those (draws peak in the air to indicate shares climbing and falling).
Commvault then embarked on the process of breaking up these products, drawing miffed looks from Wall Street as Hammer continued to put in money for R&D when revenue was flat.
"When the model was working you could get 20 per cent top lines and 30 per cent bottom lines, but that model just disappeared, so I took our operating expenses and increased them by 50 per cent.
"We just kept investing and Wall Street was saying ‘what are you doing?' Revenue was flat, licence revenue growth was negative, and we were spending money like crazy, but we just stayed on course."
Commvault has now broken up the different elements of its platform and this year installed new user interfaces for each piece.
Most recently, year-on-year software revenue growth shot up from minus nine per cent growth to 15 per cent growth.
Commvault has launched a set of hyperconverged and secondary storage products over recent months, with its full hyperconverged product portfolio set to be available with the hardware in an appliance by the end of the year.
Asked whether he has ever considered making an acquisition to bolster the firm's intellectual property and speed along this process, Hammer said there has not been a target capable of adding anything that could not be developed in-house.
"Why would we spend hundreds of millions of dollars when we have all this technology that we've developed on our own?" he said.
"In technology if you're not way out in front then you're in trouble.
"We were doing all these things when these start-ups came in. It wasn't that we tried to copy them, it was just in our road map. When Rubrik talks about changing the world, to us it is just an operation.
"The difference with Commvault is that we have scale and we have money. We have no debt. We keep about half a billion dollars of cash on hand; that's how we operate the company. We have zero debts. All this is technology that we have built."
Hammer added that Commvault's R&D track record has led to a number of offers for the firm over the years but that, again, the vendor feels that it has a stronger future going it alone.
"Over the years yes [there have been takeover bids], but there is no motivation [to sell]," he said.
"We're a public company so if someone came in with an offer we'd have to listen, but if we can add shareholder value on our own - substantially more than an acquirer could offer - why would we do that?"
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