Interview with Veeam co-founder Ratmir Timashev

Veeam’s growth is extraordinary. Founded in 2006, the privately-owned backup vendor said it surpassed $1bn annual revenues in 2018. The company dominates the data protection of virtualized servers and is extending coverage to AIX, Solaris and other operating systems. 

But backup is changing shape as it intertwines with data security, takes on SaaS models, and protects data in the public clouds.

Can Veeam continue growing outside its home territory, the vast on-premises VMware server market? Blocks & Files discussed this topic with Ratmir Timashev, co-founder and head of sales and marketing at Veeam.

Rather Timashev.

Blocks & Files: How does Veeam see the general data protection environment and market?

Ratmir Timashev: Business people realise data is very important and they’re making big efforts to digitise their operations. Everyone has to have the right procedures and processes. A big milestone is complying with GDPR. Most companies are not ready to satisfy their GDPR requirements, and most are under-estimating the risk. We can help companies in relation to backup and GDPR.

Blocks & Files: How does Veeam view the rise of SaaS backup?

Timashev: We see the need and we’re responding to it based on our partners. We’re a 100 per cent channel business and the market is being driven by service providers. We have our VCSP – Veeam Cloud and Service Provider – program with over 20,000 partners. They provide Veeam software as a service.

We have had a very good offering for two to three years, Office 365 backup. It’s our fastest-growing product. We’ll do about $50m in subscription this year; it was around $20m last year. Version 4 is coming later this year. It’s a major improvement and adds backup to object storage. People will be able to backup O365 to AWS S3 and Azure Blob storage directly. It opens up lots of opportunity for VCSP partners.

Blocks & Files: Is there a need for cloud-native SaaS backup (the Clumio/Druva pitch)?

Timashev: There’s some merit but the architecture has to be hybrid, covering on-prem and the cloud, like we do. Just being pure cloud-based is not enough. Veeam’s is the right approach

Blocks & Files: With the rise of niche backup approaches can specialists keep generalists at bay? e.g; HYCU and Nutanix (and Google), and Ownbackup and Salesforce.

Timashev: Veeam had the same strategy 13 years ago, focusing on VMware. Fortunately VMware became a standard. If a niche grows like VMware, and becomes huge, then okay. If not then customers will want a heterogeneous solution covering bare metal, virtualized servers and multi-cloud.

Customers want to move around; from their data centre to the clouds and back. If you can’t do it then you’re limiting customers; repatriation is hindered. By supporting AWS and Azure, Veeam makes customers more agile. They can move from on-prem to the cloud and back.

Blocks & Files: Will public cloud service providers build or buy their own data protection products?

Timashev: AWS already provides some capability. Generally platform providers, from mainframes on, provide some basic capability. But they rely on third parties for advanced services. Backup is not a high priority for the cloud service providers; it doesn’t make or break the business. They don’t wake up on Monday morning worrying about backup. So it doesn’t get enough priority or investment.

Also, customers want to backup from AWS to on-prem or to Google or Azure. AWS will never do this. So Veeam provides a holistic solution in a hybrid, multi-cloud environment.

Blocks & Files: Can you say anything about Veeam’s roadmap.

Timashev: As I said already, V4 of O365 backup will come later this year and open up new opportunities. V10 of our Veeam Availability Suite is due in December and will have advanced backup for files and NAS devices. That will complete all the capabilities.

We’re working on providing cloud-native support for AWS and Azure. And we want to develop a comprehensive data management and protection capability for physical, virtual and the cloud environments.

Comment

Veaam’s argument is logical – namely, customers operating in hybrid environments want single, all-encompassing data protection. The company is well-positioned to expand its total addressable market if that facility also provides data management.

But competition is gathering apace, with Rubrik, Cohesity, Commvault, Veritas and others heading in the same direction. We look forward to the clash of the backup titans.

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