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VeeamON 2018 – Industry Snapshot

Published May 21st, 2018. In this Industry Snapshot report, Steve Scully discusses the recent announcements and takeaways from VeeamON 2018. Includes overview and comments. Download the free report now!

Veeam Software Unveils the Hyper-Available Enterprise and Intelligent Data Management

The Evaluator Group recently attended VeeamON 2018, which was held May 14-17 in Chicago, Illinois.  Veeam Software was started a decade ago and since the release of their first product in 2008, the company has grown rapidly in the data protection and management market.  Initially focused on virtual machine backup for SMB and commercial customers, the company’s product portfolio has expanded, and their customer base has grown to over 300,000 customers of all sizes protecting over 17 million VMs.

VeeamON 2018 was an opportunity for Veeam to unveil its vision for the Hyper-Available Enterprise and their strategy to provide Intelligent Data Management to the 2,200 attendees at the fourth edition of its user and partner conference.  With an ongoing stream of product launches before and planned after VeeamON, this conference was less about new products and more about how they will help customers with their transformation from backup and recovery to intelligently managing data in multi-cloud, hybrid environments.  This Industry Snapshot includes a summary of our thoughts from the event.

Intelligent Data Management for the Hyper-Available Enterprise

The digital transformation is underway and Veeam’s vision is to provide intelligent data management to help drive the transformation.  They defined the hyper-available enterprise as being driven by hyper-growth of data (structured, unstructured, application, IoT) together with the hyper-sprawl of data (private clouds, public clouds, SaaS).  The updated Veeam vision as presented during the keynote is “To be the most trusted provider of intelligent data management solutions, meeting the expectations of a world that demands the hyper-availability of data.”

While emphasizing they are firmly committed to their backup and replication roots, Veeam rolled out a strategy to help customers achieve hyper-availability of their data.  They laid out five stages of the journey to achieving intelligent data management:

  • Backup – Ensure that all workloads are backed up and recoverable in the event of a loss. For some customers, this remains a challenge even today.
  • Aggregation – Extend data protection and recovery to data in multi-cloud environments and SaaS solutions. Achieve an aggregated view of service level compliance across all environments.
  • Visibility – Improve the management of data with clear visibility to location, usage and performance. They see this situational analysis of the data as the tipping point from reactive to proactive data management.
  • Orchestration – Move data to the best location across the complete hybrid cloud environment to maximize business continuity, compliance and security. Providing this orchestration engine is a focus for 2018.
  • Automation – Data becomes self-managing by backing itself up, migrating itself to the optimal location and recovering itself immediately. Automation also includes integration with complementary technologies such as security, anti-virus, and compliance.

Hyper-Availability Platform

Veeam also discussed the technologies that go into their strategy for the hyper-available platform.  This platform is built on a number of key components including:

  • Universal APIs as the foundational layer which connect the components and enable strategic relationships through integration. These relationships include current and future technical integrations with various applications, hypervisors, storage and networking offerings.
  • The Backup and Recovery engine and the Replication and Failover engine sit on top of the API layer and drive the platform. These engines are the cornerstone products they have today.
  • During the event, they announced Veeam Data Labs, which provides a self-service sandbox in which customer can work with copies of data for a variety of advanced workloads such as DevOps, patch and update testing, security and forensic activities, and compliance analysis before moving them into production. This delivers business value to customers without disrupting the production business.
  • A Visibility and Control layer overlays the components above to provide for access to any data, any application, on any environment – cloud, SaaS, physical and endpoint.
  • All managed by a single pane of glass to simplify operations and help drive better business decisions.

Multi-Cloud Solutions Gain Momentum

Veeam reported that customers have been taking advantage of Microsoft Azure since the launch of Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure with over 2,500 downloads.  They also reported 153% growth YOY with N2WS, Veeam’s IaaS data protection solution for AWS which they acquired at the beginning of this year.  Their partnership with IBM Cloud continues to grow with a 1,000% growth in the number of VMs protected on IBM Cloud with Veeam since joint partners can now sell Veeam on IBM cloud directly.  Finally, Veeam Cloud Service Providers (VCSPs) grew significantly since last year’s VeeamON and now total 18,900 partners, which are protecting 36% more VMs than this time last year.

Alliances Momentum

Veeam is very focused on alliances and sees them as critical to growing with enterprise customers.  Many of their early alliances were technical in nature and in the last couple of years that have become more strategic and business focused.  The expo hall at VeeamON provided good insight into Veeam’s partner ecosystem with a broad array of 50 partners showing their solutions with Veeam. Without including all 50 vendor names, the following categories of partners were supporting the event:

  • Storage system and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) vendors – established and emerging. These companies integrate with Veeam and several include Veeam solutions on their price lists.
  • Virtualization vendors. Long standing alliances with the major virtualization providers.
  • Data protection appliance vendors. These secondary storage companies, including scale-out data protection appliances where we see going interest, have many customers that use Veeam.
  • Major distributors and focused channel partners. The 100% channel model Veeam uses relies on these partnerships.
  • Security companies. The types of ecosystem partners we expect to see more of as Veeam integrates capabilities into intelligent data management.
  • Major public cloud providers. Critical for today’s hybrid environments and the Veeam partnerships with these providers are growing from technology to business relationships.
  • Veeam Cloud Service Providers. Several VCSPs attended and showed their offerings built with Veeam software.

Near Term Product Futures

One of the last presentations of the event was Anton Gostev, SVP of Product Management providing some insights into features that should be released during 2018.  Veeam typically rollouts new features using several waves of early look customers working with them before announcing general availability.

  • Archive Tier – While announced at last year’s VeeamON, Veeam decided not to release the first version and instead is working on Archive Tier version 2 for release midyear. This version will offer infinite storage by extending their scale-out backup repository (SOBR) technology into the cloud and leveraging the benefits of self-contained backup files.
  • Staged Restore – Initially targeted for GDPR compliance, this feature uses the Veeam Data Labs to stage a restore in a sandbox and clean up any personal information before moving the VM into production. There are further use cases planned for staged restores.
  • Quarantine – Provides an optional step for image-level restores to scan for viruses using integrated third-party solutions.
  • “Nanny” – Part of Veeam ONE, it will mine the Backup and Replication logs looking for common problems and known bugs, alert customers to detected issues and often provide a single click to resolve the issue.
  • Direct Restore to Amazon EC2 – Same as the Direct Restore for Azure which is currently available. It can also be used to migrate to AWS.

“The Other Side of Veeam” – Management Software

At the Evaluator Group, we have long evaluated storage management as an important aspect of enterprise data management.  Management software provides an important function in the operation of a datacenter though it can be taken for granted at times.  With that in mind, we attended a session titled “The Other Side of Veeam” about the monitoring and management solutions within Veeam.  Based on the title of this presentation, this side of Veeam must feel forgotten at times.

The presentation provided an overview and short demonstrations of Veeam ONE and Veeam Management Pack for Microsoft System Center, which are the two Veeam management products and provided some insight into coming features for application monitoring and automated remediations.  The reason for mentioning this presentation is not so much what we learned about the products but because their awareness is likely to change going forward as Veeam executes its intelligent data management strategy.  Visibility has to be at the heart of an availability strategy and hyper-available data will need more than just a heartbeat.  We expect to see their management capabilities evolve more rapidly in the near future.

Evaluator Group Comments

Veeam has clearly developed the products that appeal to the virtualized data center. Veeam continues to focus on adding capabilities to protect platforms beyond VMs, supporting physical assets and multi-cloud environments. All of these activities provide a strong foundation for moving from data protection to data management, which is a trend we see with several vendors in the data protection space.

It is hard to have a platform without an ecosystem of channel and technology partners.  All the components of a hyper-available platform won’t be able come from Veeam.  We believe that Veeam understands and embraces the need for partnerships and the use of APIs to integrate them.

Veeam remains a fast growing company as indicated by 39 consecutive quarters of double digit growth and a goal of $1B in revenue this year.  At times it still feels like a startup, partly because they are a private company and plan to remain so, but with $1B in revenue with 300,000 customers, they are an enterprise company.

Veeam is known by its customers as something that just works which they rightly feel they have proven to their traditional markets.  As they continue to expand beyond those markets, they believe they have to prove their capabilities to enterprise customers.  We spoke to one customer with offices all over the world who are in the middle of an evaluation of Veeam as a migration platform for a new worldwide data center they are creating.  While at VeeamON, one of the customer’s office lost some data and called for help in recovering it.  Realizing that the lost data was included in the POC they were running for migration, the customer was able to login from the conference and recovery the data back to the original office in less than 30 minutes with relatively few steps.  That is at least one enterprise customer who seemed reasonably impressed.

An interesting statistic that received a lot of attention from company executives was their Net Promoters Score (NPS).  Veeam announced an NPS of +73 for the second year in a row, which is defined as world class.  More importantly, they claim they are 3.5x other vendors in their market.  A company’s NPS is a strong indication of their ability to deliver value to customers and is a proxy for gauging customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

The term Hyper-Available combines two well used marketing words in the storage industry today and all that implies.  Veeam’s strategy seems sound for building a data management platform to deliver on the value of hyper-available data, but they will have to rise above the marketing hype caused by many vendors using some combination of these potentially overused words.

In general, large enterprises don’t replace their legacy backup systems easily, but many are re-evaluating the data protection strategies as they undergo their digital transformation.  As one of the Veeam executives put it – “If you modernize production, you must modernize protection.”  Veeam is in a good position to provide data protection and data management for the growing part of most companies’ IT environments, as they continue their digital transformations.

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