Full disclosure – I attended VeeamOn as a guest of Veeam.
Writer William S. Burroughs is credited with the quote, “When you stop growing you start dying.” which has been altered to fit all kinds of walks of life including IT. It was this idea of “evolve or die” that took me to this year’s VeeamON. I have always found Veeam’s technology and strategy to be well thought out and executed, a company capable of maintaining its position as a leader as the world it operates in evolves.
But it alongside many of its peers has two critical challenges ahead. First, technically the world they operate in is changing dramatically and must be able to adapt. Secondly, the things that concern business have changed and it’s important that its strategy allows it to remain relevant in the enterprise conversation. How then, do they plan to do that? That was what I wanted to discover a VeeamON. While the event was back in May, I still wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts.
The security conversation
Security is high on the corporate agenda, therefore it’s important that Veeam can be relevant. CEO Anand Eswaran made it clear that they take this seriously stating security and specifically ransomware protection as the company’s number one strategic goal. But all vendors like to show their ransomware protection relevance, so does this create the risk of ransomware fatigue? It seems that this is far from the truth, as Anand shared 90% of companies remain concerned that they are not protecting their data properly and when you couple this with 94% of ransomware attacks in 2021 targeted backup repositories, it’s clear that Veeam both has a place in the discussion and as Dave Russell, Veeam’s VP of Enterprise strategy, told me, it’s a conversation customers are desperate to have
It’s no surprise that security was such a major talking point, but it is good to see Veeam having this high on the agenda because it is very much top of the list of priorities for the organizations they are talking to.
The power of data
This was another strong theme and it’s an area in which Veeam can potentially offer significant value. The ability to use Veeam tools to do more with data is not new, but there is plenty of scope to offer additional capabilities. Veeam CTO Danny Allen shared a fantastic personal story about the power of data and how it can solve problems that have been previously impossible (you can watch Danny’s technical Keynote here https://www.veeam.com/veeamon). While protecting data remains an important element of using it effectively. Veeam recognise to remain relevant they must continue to innovate here and they have made it a clear priority. How this is done longer-term still needs some clarification, but they are actively pursuing ways to take protected data and allow customers to mine and gain greater value from it. Whether this is done in partnership, through acquisition or internal development, is unclear, but it is an important conversation for the enterprise and Veeam, who already manage much of its customer’s data, can certainly be central to any enterprise data strategy.
Evolve but remember the past
Veeam has a smart management team, and it should be no surprise that they recognise they must evolve to remain relevant. Having Security and data as primary elements of its future strategy is also no surprise. However, it didn’t stop there as they shared several other innovations. Their cloud-native tools continue to develop, Kasten especially, is developing rapidly and bringing enterprise data protection to the world of containers, including integrating it with the dashboard of its flagship VBR console. It was also good to see developments with VeeamOne with a real drive to deliver more actionable insights into customer infrastructure as well as developments around PowerShell and APIs to enhance the ability to orchestrate and automate processes across an entire infrastructure.
While evolution and innovation were at the heart of much of the conversation, it was good to see Veeam learning from previous mistakes. In a conversation with Daniel Fried Veeam’s GM & SVP EMEA and Worldwide Channel, he shared how they were very conscious of how previous changes moved them too far from their core customers. It was and is key that any changes now are more measured and that they bring core customers with them. Sensible as this seems, Veeam has, as have others, been guilty of chasing “new and shiny” at the expense of what existing customers needed. It should be music to the ears of current customers that this has been recognised and learned from.
What does this all mean?
Veeam, as with many established technology companies, has a real challenge on its hands to evolve as quickly as the environment they operate in. If I was making a bet though, I would be happy to be placing it on Veeam getting it right, they have a very strong management team and strategies in areas that are core to their customers, security, data management and of course robust data protection across traditional and new types of workloads. The message from VeeamON was a good one and while they will have challenges to overcome to ensure they deliver on their vision, right now, they certainly have things of interest to say to the enterprise about how they can be part of their future.