Veeaming On and On and On

I always knew this tech community lark would get me into trouble, blogging, podcasting, engaging with the community, and finally it did! As I got invited out to New Orleans to attend Veeam’s technical conference VeeamON, so admittedly, it’s hardly a punishment!

As nice as been invited to the beautiful city of New Orleans is, the actual attraction for attending is Veeam themselves.

Many of our customers run Veeam solutions in their datacentres and only have good words to say about their backup and recovery tools and that is reflected in the companies impressive growth over the last 9 years, from niche virtual machine backup and recovery tool, to one of the standard tools you expect to see in a data protection strategy.

However, there are challenges. The world, as we know, is evolving, we are becoming more data centric and increasingly focussed on treating our data like the organisational asset it is, making sure it is protected, available, secure and private.

That’s not the only challenge, as cloud solutions become ever more pervasive, organisations are consuming more of their technology via service offerings, Office365, AWS, Azure, Salesforce, etc. the list goes on.

That’s a problem

If you are a traditional backup and recovery company, famed for your ability to protect virtual machines, normally residing on-prem, what happens when your market begins to change and move away from doing the things that have brought you success, where your traditional customers see data as an asset, wanting to move it around between all sorts of data stores, wanting to extract valuable information from it, wanting to move more and more infrastructure away to service providers and store data in other locations, in that world, what place is there for the traditional backup and recovery company?

It’s that question that encouraged me to pop over the Atlantic to VeeamON 2017 to see if and how Veeam are going to answer it.

Over the next couple of days then I’ll provide some immediate thoughts on what I hear on their future direction.

Day one, as with any vendor conference, was littered with announcements, not for regurgitation here, you can see the full range of announcements on Veeam’s website, rather than focus on that, I wanted to share a more general view on what Veeam shared throughout the keynote as well as some of the other sessions on show.

All about availability

There’s been a shift certainly in the way Veeam position themselves, the focus on availability is foremost in the conversations I’ve had today, as well as of course in that press release, but as subtle as this change from focussing on “backup and recovery” is, I do believe it’s a fundamental shift, a couple of weeks back I did a podcast episode with Veeam’s Michael Cade as we discussed availability as part of digital transformation (you can find the podcast here for the details ) how, as we become ever more reliant on our digital life, either as a consumer or of course as businesses and organisations, then our tolerance of system failure is very low indeed.

In a world where we need to be able to respond quickly to challenges, customers and changing markets, an inability to have our key data available is crippling and this subtle shift does allow us to change the conversation to start focussing beyond protecting data, and look at protecting the entire system that sits around it.

There were two other phrases that came from the main stage today, that really stuck with me and provides, I think, a good indication that Veeam are strategically, at least, focussed in the right area.

During the panel discussion on stage, HPE’s Patrick Osborne said he saw Veeam as “an enabler for data movement” and what he meant by that, was in a world of many potential homes for our data, it’s vitally important that we design a strategy that allows us to seamlessly move it to the locations where we need it, when we need it.

Many of you know my feelings on the importance of building this kind of fabric strategy, where regardless of location, on-prem, whitebox, as a virtual storage appliance or sat near to or in the cloud we need to be able to move our data, while maintaining full control over it, interesting that this is something that Veeam are enabling for vendors like HPE.

My favourite quote for the day came from Mario Angers from The University of British Columbia, it came at the end of a discussion about one of the days other key themes, the focus on business outcomes, understanding the business problem you are up against and solving that problem, or as it was perfectly summed up by Mario “fix my problem and I’ll buy it!” maybe something for us all to remember whether we are selling technology to a customer, or we are a buyer of technology selling the solution into our organisation, understand the problem and solve it!

A final thought for this first day, comes from the final session of the keynote, a panel sesions with Veeam’s leadership.

What struck me, was the background of some of the more recent talent to be acquired by the company, Peter McKay from a senior role at VMware, Paul Mattes, from a senior role at Microsoft and Danny Allan from a senior security role. Acquiring staff can be a challenge, but acquiring staff from companies who many aspire to be a part of, well that raises a question, what is the opportunity they see at Veeam that would make them take that leap?

Maybe over the next couple of days that will become clear, but for now, it does make you think, there’s some exciting times ahead for Veeam and today, it sounds like the strategic view is right, of course, the proof as always with companies moving onto a new period in their history, will be in the execution.

More from VeeamOn tomorrow.

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