CommCell Logical Architecture

A CommCell environment consists of one CommServe host, and any number of MediaAgents and clients. There is also a logical architecture to a CommCell, which can be defined in two main areas, production data being used by servers and computers in the enterprise, and protected data which has been backed up, archive, or replicated to storage media.

Logical Management of Production Data

A CommCell environment employs a logical management of production data, which is designed in a hierarchical tree structure. Production data is managed using agents, which interface natively with the file system or application and can be configured based on specific functionality of data being protected. Data within these agents is grouped into backup sets. Within the backup set, one or more subclients can be used to map to specific data.




A computer for which software agents are protecting data.


A software component that is installed to protect a specific type of data on a client, for example, Windows File System, Oracle databases, and so on.

backup set

One or more logical groupings of subclients, which are the containers of all of data managed by the agent. For some agents, this might be called an archive set or replication set. For a database agent, the equivalent of a backup set is generally a database instance.


A logical container that identifies and manages specific production data (drives, folders, databases, mailboxes) to be protected.

storage policy

A logical data management entity with rules that define the lifecycle management of the protected data in a subclient's content.

Logical Management of Protected Data

The software utilizes a data protection strategy based on logical policies. The flexibility gained from policy driven data protection and management is the ability to group data based on protection and retention needs, rather than by the physical location of the data, which greatly simplifies the organization and management of protected data.

In a CommCell environment, subclients define the actual data that will be protected. Subclients can contain an entire server, drive, folders, database, user mailboxes, virtual machines, or even document repositories. The data defined in these subclients is protected through backup, archive, or snapshot operations into protected storage. Once in protected storage, the data from these subclients can be independently managed regardless of what production server they came from.

A storage policy manages subclient data based on business requirements, even when the subclients' content resides on different servers in the CommCell. It defines a specific set of rules to manage the associated data; which data will be protected (which subclients); where it will reside (the data path and library); how long it will be kept (retention settings); and other media management options such as deduplication, compression, and encryption of the data in protected storage. The first storage policy defines the primary copy of the backed up data, which can be stored on local libraries for quick access. Additional copies of the backed data can be automatically created from existing copies already in the protected storage environment, to other libraries and locations for consolidation, auditing, business continuity, or ease of out-of-place recovery.


  • A project may have different types of data that resides on numerous servers and storage devices. Agents for each type of data are installed, and subclients are defined to access the data in all of its locations. All of these subclients can be associated with a single storage policy to manage the business related data as a single entity.

  • Financial and legal data from different servers or locations can be combined into a storage policy for compliance reasons. Databases can be managed in a storage policy and sent to a disaster recovery location. User files can be kept in an on-site copy for quick file recovery.

The logical management of data provides the flexibility to meet any specific needs in your enterprise.