Last week as you may of spotted I attended Veeam’s technical conference VeeamON, I blogged a couple of pieces while I was there (Veeaming On and On and On and Veeam On It – Day Two at Veeam ON), but thought it was time to give a bit of an overall take on the event.
Day threes main focus was Veeam’s relationship with Microsoft, especially the Microsoft cloud platforms. That focus is important in two ways, firstly, as Veeam look to move the conversation to one of wider availability, rather than just protection, support for the big public cloud players is going to be key.
Secondly, it’s refreshing to see a vendor putting this kind of focus on Microsoft cloud, too many vendors focus only on AWS and although there is no problem with that, it does ignore the amount of organisations, especially those big Microsoft shops, who have Azure as a key part of their data fabric strategy, that’s before we even begin to look at those who have Office365 as part of their software stack.
What was announced?
Veeam Disaster recovery in Microsoft Azure, combines Direct Restore and the new Veeam PN (Veeam Powered Network) providing the ability to not just recover your VM’s but importantly automate one of the trickiest parts of building cloud environments, networking, and when building a DR solution, the amount of automation you build in to it can make a big difference to the success or otherwise of your recovery strategy.
We also heard of extensions to Veeam Backup for Office365, with support for multi-tenancy, allowing organisations that have multiple Office365 deployments to protect those workloads with a single Veeam Backup platform.
This is additionally useful for those who deliver backup as a service using Veeam, the ability to use a single installation to back up multiple 365 customers is going to make your service much more efficient.
We also heard about the addition of native support for object storage in Availability Suite V10, including Azure Blob storage. In my opinion the use of object storage for long term archive and retention is going to become the norm relatively quickly, so native support as part of your availability solution, removing the need for 3rd party gateways, is a real plus.
What did I think?
Events like this for me are about trying to get a handle on business direction, it’s important technology companies have a direction that recognises the changing needs of businesses, both now and in the future.
I made the investment attending with one question in mind, “how are Veeam going to continue to be relevant in a changing world?”.
As our relationship with and requirements from our data, applications and technology change, the idea that our data only lives on-prem in virtual machines is unrealistic, so as a company who’s traditional strength is protection of those types of workloads, how, as your customers move away from your traditional strength, do you react to that and meet these changing needs.
Our digital lives
Today, technology is of course a constant in both our work and personal lives, be that Facebook or our own internal business apps, we increasingly rely on them and our tolerance for their unavailability is pretty low and in a world where it’s easy for us and our customers to move on to the next supplier, If our systems are unavailable, it’s not just our lack of patience that’s a problem, it also presents a real risk of significant business impact.
In that context, Veeam have recognised that data protection alone is not the answer and availability has to be the focus. Of course they are absolutely right, our businesses are hugely reliant on data, however, it’s not just the existence of it, it’s our ability to access it, use it and to get value from it that’s important and we can only do that if our data and its supporting applications and services are available.
Veeam’s data fabric
I’ve written about data fabric before, normally in the context of NetApp and found it interesting to see Veeam using this same language, but again, they are right, we can no longer design a data infrastructure that includes silo’s, places where our data lives cannot be disjointed from our wider infrastructure and it needs to be flexible and mobile, it’s key our data and supporting services are where we need them, when we need them.
Veeam’s focus on easily moving data around from our physical servers, to virtual, to cloud was clear, and supported by announcements like native public object storage, Office365 backup, protection using both Azure and AWS and the ability to make both our data and services quickly available in all of those areas, as well as move between them is quite compelling.
Broadening the conversation
This strategic shift from Veeam, is not just technically useful, if you are Veeam, a Veeam partner, using Veeam or considering it, it encourages you to take a wider view of your data protection strategy, it stops us focussing on “backing up stuff” and doing the thing that we really need to do, focus on the availability of our systems.
I think we still see many people just focussing on data protection and although that is still important, it does sometimes mean we are blinkered and not considering the wider services needed to support our data and allow our businesses to be quickly operational again in the event of a service interruption.
Personally, I think Veeam’s messaging was exactly where I’d hoped it was, recognising the changing world, talking about problems I recognise and see our customers are experiencing and looking to deal with.
It’s also good to see them not only embracing trends such as cloud and object storage, but also recognising gaps, adding agents to allow more comprehensive physical server protection for example, is important as Veeam aim to deliver services to larger enterprises.
Of course, the trick with all of this is not the messaging, but will be in the execution.
For now Veeam are still delivering a product that their customers love and “just works” and if they can do the same in all of these wider areas, then Veeam will be relevant for a long time to come.
Keep on Veeaming ON!
If you want some more thoughts from Veeam, why not catch up on my Tech Interviews podcast, where I spoke with Veeam’s Director of Technical Product Marketing & Evangelism, Rick Vanover, as we discussed future strategy, some of the announcements from the event as well as what more we can expect from Veeam in the future give it a listen.