Veeam and a strategic shift

I’m not normally one for writing posts about product updates, vendor press releases and a wide range of great technical bloggers will provide you with all you need. However, occasionally an update does more than just provide additional features and actually starts to address wider strategic challenges.

On 22nd January Veeam will make their Q1 announcements (you can follow them all here https://go.veeam.com/q1-live-announcement). These announcements will be significant for Veeam and I believe will start to position them differently in the minds of many, less about just data protection and much more data management and orchestration, a company that provides solutions to strategic challenges that IT leaders struggle with as they design and build their organisation’s future technology platforms.

Why would I say that?

When I talk with IT leaders about their key focus areas, while some of the detail may be different the overarching themes are similar, the use of public cloud, management of ever-growing amounts of data and of course data security and compliance.

That’s where this announcement is smart, the focus on cloud data management on integrating cloud, moving workloads between locations and enhancing capabilities around security and compliance, are all high priority items for IT leaders.

It is this focus that has been core to Veeam’s strategy of the last couple of years and these updates are major steps in making this vision a much more deliverable reality and start to address major challenges that many IT leaders are faced with.

Let me share by way of example why I believe this to be the case.

Veeam Cloud Tier

How we use public cloud is high on the CIO list of priorities, for many, we are not looking at wholesale moves of infrastructure into public cloud, but more how we tactically use it to address challenges. One such area is storage, the ever-growing amounts of data many of us have is stretching our on-prem resources and cloud with its potentially limitless scale and commercially attractive rates makes a strong tactical case, but how do we seamlessly integrate it?

Veeam’s Cloud Tier is a smart example of a way that delivers the benefits of public cloud into our existing infrastructure. It provides a backup archive tier that allows you to move copies of backup data seamlessly into a cloud based (or on-prem) integrated object store, plugging the benefits of flexible and scalable cloud storage directly into your infrastructure with zero disruption to current operations.

In this initial release it’s limited to a repository that can only be accessed by a Veeam backup server but what about longer term? Maybe the ability to present backup data to cloud-based tools (similar to Veeam’s Hytrust relationship for on-prem data)? Once we can simply and securely move datasets to the cloud, it presents many future possibilities.

Cloud Mobility

Another challenge for the modern IT strategist is multi-cloud, the reality for most of is that one cloud is not going to be enough, for all kinds of reasons. This presents a technical headache, how do we move our workloads easily between Clouds, which are technically very different? We need tools that can orchestrate that relationship.

Veeam’s cloud mobility strategy is aimed directly at this problem, by abstracting the complexities of transforming and moving workloads between disparate locations, it is making a multi-cloud infrastructure a potentially much more achievable proposition. This latest update brings some true portability capabilities, it’s not perfect, it’s not a seamless movement of any workload to any location and is currently a two-step process, a backup from one location with the ability to restore to another.

But by removing the complexity of and automating much of the transformation process, it is allowing Veeam to deliver real additional value, the use cases are numerous from flexible DR to a wide range of dev and test options or simplifying the ability to move and evaluate workloads in different public clouds and as with Cloud Tier, delivers a seamless integration of public cloud infrastructure into day to day operations.

Secure Restore

Another constant headache for the IT pro is the threat posed by malicious code. Obviously, a robust data protection strategy is an important weapon in the arsenal, however, Veeam has added a very smart feature to their Data Labs function that provides a powerful additional weapon to the armoury, not as exciting as the world of cloud integration admittedly, but in terms of priorities, hugely crucial.

Secure restore, allows you to scan a dataset before restoring it back into production. Take the scenario of a ransomware attack, you have a strategy in place that identifies an attack, stops it, identifies infected files and what needs restoring. You make sure your AV is up to date so that when you restore an infected file it is captured and cleaned, but that does present a risk. What if during that restore process those files could be scanned before returning to production? That is secure restore, an isolated copy of your data is mounted into a sandbox environment before recovery, secure restore scans all files ensuring they are clean, before finally returning them to production.

It may seem a small thing, but highlights why this set of announcements is interesting, it shows Veeam taking a holistic view of your data management and processes. Simplifying the work and reducing the risks.

More than an update

I started this by pointing out that I don’t normally do posts about product updates, however what I believe Veeam are doing with this raft of announcements is delivering much more than incremental updates, they are, in my opinion, starting to deliver against a wider strategy, one that looks at availability of data and services in a multi-cloud, hybrid world, which is the reality of where many of us live not only today but for some time to come.

I think this begins taking Veeam from the world of data protection to one where they can start to be truly considered as a data management engine for the modern infrastructure.

To find out more about other updates in these wide ranging announcements you can sign up and watch them live streamed here on January 22nd https://go.veeam.com/q1-live-announcement

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