REVIEWER: David Johnson, director of information technology for Grant Thornton.

BACKGROUND: Grant Thornton is the leading accounting, tax and management advisory firm dedicated to serving the needs of middle- market companies. Founded in 1924, Grant Thornton serves public and private middle-market clients through 44 offices in the United States, and from more than 650 offices in 109 countries through Grant Thornton International.

PLATFORMS: We are in the midst of a transition from Windows NT 4.0 single master domain with four regional resource domains to a single Windows 2000 Active Directory domain using Advanced Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Backups at each of our 44 branch offices was taking more than 30 hours to complete and required a significant investment in licensing and maintenance fees. In addition, we recently made the decision to consolidate our 44 Exchange v5.5 servers (one in each office) to four Exchange2000 servers utilizing SAN storage ­ the four regional data centers or "hubs" would then be provisioned to users at local offices via a WAN. With centralized operations, we needed a backup and recovery solution that had the flexibility and reliability to back up the SAN and server systems for each of the data centers. The implementation of CommVault Galaxy software in each of the four centers, in combination with an EMC Clariion system with an automated backup solution featuring a StorageTek 480 tape library, helped Grant Thornton save $850,000 per year.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: To date, we have had no issues whatsoever with CommVault Galaxy. The product has provided us with exceptionally quick backups of Exchange. In the case of our New York office, Galaxy reduced the backup process from 34 to three hours. In addition, the variety of specialized tools Galaxy provides, as well as the strong support of the SQL environment, has made our experience extremely positive. CommVault is adding out-of-band replication capabilities which in the future will enable us to back up the local offices over a high-speed WAN into the hubs.

STRENGTHS: In addition to drastically reducing backup time, CommVault Galaxy's rich feature set and snapshot capabilities are tremendous. The software's ability to work seamlessly in an EMC SAN environment and augment Exchange2000, including complete support for Active Directory, is also a key benefit of CommVault Galaxy.

WEAKNESSES: CommVault Galaxy is extremely well designed for the enterprise customer. However, from a cost- effective perspective, the solution does not scale well for a smaller user.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected CommVault Galaxy over competing products mainly for its proven speed with Exchange backups and restores, extensive feature set and demonstrated reliability that eliminated downtime in local offices. In addition, the solution provided excellent support for a vital aspect of our business ­ our time and billing platforms. Galaxy was also a sure fit for Grant Thornton based on the integrity and solid reputation of the company that stands behind the product.

DELIVERABLES: At Grant Thornton, our infrastructure for communication and collaboration is key e- mail is the backbone of our business. As a service-based organization, our people, our time, our information and our ability to share information is critical to our success. Galaxy provides backup for the more than 100,000 e- mails that are sent and received each day at our company, allowing us to recover an individual deleted e-mail in less than five minutes. This was not possible with our previous product. At Grant Thornton, Galaxy has helped us reduce the cost of our Exchange platform, reduce the cost of server licensing/maintenance and increase service levels for the corporation.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CommVault provides exceptional support, consistently demonstrating their dedication to having Grant Thornton as a customer. Even when we faced problems with a product from another vendor, CommVault worked on our behalf to solve the problem. Through our experiences with CommVault, we've come to realize that their mantra about "not just selling a product, but selling a solution" is true.

DOCUMENTATION: Although CommVault's documentation is clearly written and prepared, it lacks enough technical support and detail at times. However, a quick phone call to an excellent technical support center provides us with the help and information needed.

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