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By | Chris Mellor 15th June 2015 09:27

Veeam-ing all the way to the bank: No IPO for these VM replicants

Firm also claims 4,000 new customers a month

Comment At a UK temple to old tech, the London Science Museum, storage firm Veeam introduced its new tech, promising replication of VM images to the cloud – and El Reg quizzed two top Veeamers about the company.

V9.0 of Veeam’s Availability Suite will add Cloud Connect Replication for Service Providers, using SSL, and be generally available (GA) in the second half of this year. It means, we’re told, service providers can offer cloud-based disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). Cloud Connect was introduced in v8 of the Availability Suite and provided backup to the cloud.

CEO Ratmir Timashev said: “Service providers face zero competition from Veeam, because Veeam does not operate its own cloud or offer its own DRaaS to Veeam customers – instead, Veeam enables its partners to do so.”

Veeam will let us know more details of v9 additions before GA so as to keep up the interest in its new release.

How is Veeam’s business doing? Timashev said it had 145,000 customers and was adding 4,000 a month. As servers get virtualised, existing backup users find the products are not great and look for better virtual server backup. Veeam’s products are ready and waiting for them, and the company says they're ten times better than traditional backup products.

Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev

Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev

Veeam VP for product strategy Doug Hazelman said Veeam was replacing other suppliers’ virtual server backup software as well. Backup Exec was a prime target for replacement by Veeam, according to Timashev.

We asked Hazelman if Veeam will offer in-cloud backup to in-cloud target repositories, as EMC”s Spanning does.

“Not yet … but the idea is in Veeam’s mind,” he said. “We’re not ignoring it.”

Doug_Hazelman

Veeam VP for product strategy and chief evangelist Doug Hazelman

Backing up physical servers

What about backing up physical servers? Hazelman said Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE supports physical servers as well as desktops and notebooks. It supports Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 – 2012 R2 and integrates with Veeam Backup and Replication.

Timashev said Veeam had not encountered Druva’s end-point backup.

A Veeam FAQ states: “Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE does not scale beyond a few servers, however, and does not implement server-specific backup features (e.g., Veeam advanced application-aware processing, support for server clusters, etc.).”

Asked if it was an initial dip in the physical server backup market Timashev said he was not saying that. Hazelman mentioned that Veeam was looking at remote server monitoring and management tools, identifying LabTech, and that would provide a way to discover physical servers and provide remote installations of Endpoint Backup for LabTech customers.

It sounds like it could be a dip in the physical server backup pool to me. Watch this space.

Backing up Azure

Veeam has a FastSCP file copy tool for Azure. In the future it could add functionality to backup data in Azure to an on-premises Veeam repository.

Timashev said Veeam started in 2006 with FastSCP for VMware. It got downloaded everywhere and then Veeam added backup for virtualised servers running Vmware because its users said they needed it. By extension, in the future, it could provide backup for Azure, but it would need Azure APIs.

And Amazon? “We don’t have FastSCP for Amazon … We don’t want to send VMware customers to Amazon. VMware is our partner.”

HCIA threat

Are hyper-converged integrated appliances (HCIAs) with replication a threat? Doesn’t converging data protection into the HCIA operating system make logical sense?

Hazelman said it’s very early days to have a view on that.

Ed Baker, director for ACI and UCS Invicta EMEA sales in Veeam partner Cisco, was present at the event. We asked him if Cisco is bringing out a hyper-converged appliance.

“We’re watching to see how it [HCIA product progress] evolves and learning and waiting to see if we want to do anything,” he said, adding that “ninety nine per cent of customers are looking at converged today.”

By this he meant FlexPod/Vblock type offerings and not HCIAs.

A Veeam backup appliance?

What does Veeam think of building a backup appliance? Timashev said it’s not thinking of doing that. He did, however, say he was an investor in virtual SAN software startup Starwind.

Hazelman’s view was that, were Veeam ever to build a backup appliance, it would do so through its partners and not do it on its own.

Veeam IPO?

Timashev was dismissive of the idea of a Veeam IPO, mentioning four general reasons for an IPO, the fourth being a joke:

  • Provide liquidity (cash) to investors – there is only one small outside investor with less than 3 per cent of the stock
  • Credibility and awareness – not worth the hassle and a trend is to go private, like Dell
  • Get currency to buy other companies – “We are very profitable and don’t need it”
  • Get on cover of Forbes and Sports Illustrated – “No way,” said Timashev

Asked about Symantec spinning off Veritas without yet having a CEO, he said: “I think they are still trying to find a buyer.”

Would he sell Veeam? He sold his first company, Aelita Software, to Quest Software for $115m in 2004, using $6m of the proceeds to start up Veeam in 2006 with Andrei Baranov. It has been an amazingly fast-growing business with the current run-rate probably being greater than $250bn. If the company were sold its valuation would likely be higher than $2bn, larger than CommVault’s $2bn market capitalisation.

Now Timashev is just 49 with Veeam probably the fastest growing business in the data protection area. It is becoming a backup and availability behemoth, run by people, in El Reg's view, who are having a load of disruptive fun – and don’t want to go off and play golf any time soon. ®

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