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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.