Home Strategy Where is Veeam heading?

Where is Veeam heading?

Backup and availability vendor Veeam has been making changes to address a broader market.

"We're moving at a very good pace" from being number one in on-premises and virtualised backup to being number one in cross-cloud management, said Veeam co-founder Ratmir Timashev.

Cloud is naturally a subscription model, so all new products are being offered only on subscription, while the company's traditional products will be available on the familiar perpetual licences (with maintenance) or on subscription. Avoiding a sudden switch from perpetual to subscription helps existing customers avoid the budgeting and procurement issues that would otherwise occur, he observed.

Cloud products already account for about 30% of Veeam's ANZ business, ANZ vice-president Don Williams told iTWire, and it is the fastest growing segment in ANZ, just as it is for Veeam globally.

Timashev has said an important part of his new role, following Peter McKay's (pictured) appointment as co-CEO and president, will be looking after acquisitions. Areas for possible acquisitions include cloud management, cloud data management, and analytics.

Products for migrating from one SaaS product to another are "a long way down the road," according to global cloud group vice-president Paul Mattes, but he said that might be achieved by acquisition. Veeam will take "the smartest, fastest way we can get to market when we see an opportunity," he told iTWire.

Mattes also hinted that the company is looking at ways that AI could be applied to backup and replication, for example to provide guidance about what should be backed up and how it should be done.

One of Veeam's goals is to provide always-on availability for any service on any platform, vice-president of cloud and alliance strategy Danny Allan told iTWire. To do that, it needs to provide specific support for certain types of software such as the Cassandra distributed NoSQL database, but the company will follow the demand from its customers and partners when it comes to determining which particular products will be supported.

While its traditional products have been largely generic in the sense of being broadly applicable (Windows backup is Windows backup), Veeam is also going down the path of market segmentation in multiple dimensions, explained McKay.

That segmentation starts with small, medium and large organisations, plus cloud providers. Then geography comes into play, as different jurisdictions have different regulatory requirements that must be reflected in storage products. A relatively new step is to extend segmentation to vertical markets such as healthcare and banking which have particular requirements, and then address those requirements, possibly with in conjunction with partners.

"That is going to be a large opportunity for us," said McKay. "That's what the customers in those markets need."

However, addressing those markets — and even the enterprise sector more generally — will require specific skills, he noted, so Veeam has been hiring people who know how to sell to and service them. "That's new for us, and a major investment," he said, adding that at least "it's easier going up(market) than down."

McKay has also restructured the company to reflect these multiple dimensions. The sales organisation is structured geographically (the Americas, EMEA and APJ), and has leaders for the small, medium and large segments.

There are also global teams addressing the needs of alliance members, partners, and markets, each building global programs that are then tailored for different regions and even countries. In addition there are sales, marketing, and events teams for each geography.

This structure has been implemented in the last six months or so, and the "centralised but decentralised" model "works really well," McKay said, pointing to the way double-digit growth was achieved in each segment in the first quarter.

Veeam's growth means that instead of people having multiple responsibilities, the company can now let them focus on what they do best, and hire the best people available to take on the other duties. This has also allowed an influx of staff with experience in billion-dollar-plus companies, he noted.

McKay summarised his current focus as growing the enterprise business without dropping the ball as far as smaller customers are concerned.

He believes Veeam can continue to grow at the expected rate for another two or three years before it has to "go hard" against its competitors. So part of his strategy is to grab as many of the customers that are already in Veeam's reach, and then upsell them to the new products the company has planned.

Disclosure: The writer attended VeeamOn 2017 as a guest of the company.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.