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VeeamON 2019: The Top Takeaways From Veeam Execs And Partners

Opportunities abound in hybrid cloud, Office 365 backup and disaster recovery, while Veeam's focus on the SMB market is a key enabler for MSPs, partners told CRN.

Data protection and management company Veeam is ready for its next chapter, and looking to work even harder to provide channel partners with enhanced opportunities for growth and profitability, company executives told CRN.

That next chapter will retain what has been successful at Veeam while adding in a greater emphasis on cloud--especially around hybrid cloud models, executives said during the VeeamON 2019 conference in Miami this week.

[Related: Veeam’s Ratmir Timashev On The 'Huge Opportunities' In Hybrid Cloud, Disaster Recovery And Office 365 Backup]

Veeam has passed $1 billion in bookings over the past 12 months, and recurring revenue has been a particular strong point, with the company seeing 30-percent growth in recurring revenue, said Paul Strelzick, general manager and senior vice president for the Americas business at Veeam. "That's a huge growth number for a company of our size," Strelzick said.

Partners who spoke with CRN applauded the latest moves by Veeam around hybrid cloud, Office 365 backup, disaster recovery, storage partnerships and serving SMB customers.

What follows are CRN's biggest takeaways from interviews with Veeam executives and partners at VeeamON 2019.

Hybrid Cloud

The timing is ideal to seize opportunities in hybrid cloud, with 73 percent of Veeam customers now pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, said co-founder Ratmir Timashev. Veeam is shifting into a new phase, which Timashev refers to as "Act 2," in order to capitalize on hybrid--which creates opportunities in everything from backup to data mobility across clouds.

"Act 2 means more opportunities, and a change in business model from just pure resale to resale plus services," Timashev said in an interview with CRN. "We believe that in the next two to three years, there will be new winners for this new hybrid cloud market."

Many customers are unaware that Office 365 and public cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure and AWS do not include backup, he said. Veeam is working aggressively to become the leading backup solution for those platforms in part through close partnerships with the cloud platform providers, according to Timashev.

"Those are the new platforms that represent the same, large opportunity as on-prem VMware," Timashev said. "That's [an opportunity] for us and for our partners as well."

Veeam has spent years building its efforts to go after cloud in a "channel-centric" fashion, said Dante Orsini, senior vice president of business development at cloud service provider iland.

"I think they were just brilliant in thinking this through strategically and working with people like us," Orsini said. "They started working with the cloud community about five years ago, and they've built really strong, long-term sustainable businesses for people like us. And now they're continuing to push the innovation."

Product Launches

Veeam has been on a tear this year in terms of new product releases, with eight product releases just since Jan. 1, said Danny Allan, vice president of product strategy at Veeam, in an interview with CRN.

"If you look at the release cycle of the last 10 years, it looks like an exponential curve," Allan said. "Veeam Availability Suite includes Backup & Replication, Veeam ONE, Agent for Windows and Agent for Linux. Those four are wrapped into one. Then in addition to that, [we've updated] Veeam Availability Orchestrator, Veeam Backup for Office 365, Veeam Availability Console and Veeam Powered Network."

At VeeamOn 2019 this week, the company launched Version 2 of its disaster recovery solution, the Veeam Availability Orchestrator.

"We announced last year an $150 million investment in engineering, and that just continues to ramp up--it's non-stop hiring," Allan said.

Travis Adair, principal partner and vice president at Columbia, Mo.-based InfiniTech Consulting, said updates to the Office 365 solution and Availability Console have been among the most important innovations he's seen from Veeam.

In particular, Adair said he's been impressed with the latest update to Availability Console, a platform that offers centralized management, setup and reporting for service providers.

"We can manage multiple Cloud Connect deployments--in Azure, in AWS--and manage all of those backups for all customers from one centralized location," he said. "It's a pretty slick setup now."

Office 365 Backup

Veeam and its partners have been busy educating customers about the necessity of Office 365 backup, executives said. "Microsoft provides the resilient infrastructure, but it's your responsibility to protect the data that sits on top," Timashev said. "The opportunities are tremendous. The last number I saw is that Microsoft had 140 million mailboxes on Office 365. We protect around 1 million."

Veeam generated $18 million in subscription revenue from Office 365 backup last year, which Timashev expects to grow to $50 million this year and, potentially, to $100 million next year. "That's the fastest-growing product in the history of the company," he said.

Kevin Rooney, vice president of channel for the Americas business at Veeam, told CRN that the company's Office 365 backup solution is a natural fit into the practices of many partners.

"We've now inserted ourselves into people's Microsoft practices, to say, ‘When you're selling a seat license for Office 365, offer it also backed up.’ And that's our piece," Rooney said. "We're trying work within the businesses that they've already established. We're not trying to upset anything, we're just trying to help to influence and educate."

A key driver for the growth in Office 365 was the addition last July of backup for SharePoint and OneDrive, he said. "A lot of customers had been waiting for that piece to be there, and so once that came out, we've seen a huge acceleration," Rooney said.

Cloud distributor Pax8, which works closely with Microsoft, this week announced the addition to Veeam to its list of vendors--and the distributor sees Office 365 backup as one of the pivotal offerings from Veeam, said chief channel officer Ryan Walsh.

"The thing that's been so surprising is, when we had thought that [the Office 365] market had already been saturated, it absolutely has not," Walsh said, noting that Microsoft has shared data showing an Office 365 transition lasting for years to come.

"For Veeam to provide a way to attach to that is smart," he said.

Disaster Recovery

With Version 2 of Veeam's Availability Orchestrator disaster recovery solution, the company is looking to democratize disaster recovery across the business world, executives said.

Version 1 provided disaster recovery orchestration from “replicas,” which require replicating the data into a secondary data center and are a "very expensive" proposition, Timashev said. "Basically, we have to have the data in two places."

Version 2 allows disaster recovery orchestration from data backups, which leverages less-expensive storage, he said.

"Normally disaster recovery can be afforded only by the largest enterprises, and only for the [data that is] mission-critical," Timashev said. "Now, because we can orchestrate recovery from backups, all organizations can afford it for all applications."

Using Availability Orchestrator Version 2, "our partners become the expert in disaster recovery," he said. "We believe it's an awesome product for all our midsize companies and large customers. SMBs might not need it, unless they're in a regulated industry. It's another opportunity for our resale partners to become disaster recovery consultants to customers."

Ian McClarty, president of Phoenix-based IT services provider phoenixNAP, said Veeam's enhanced disaster-recovery capabilities are very welcome, and may allow the firm to reduce its reliance on other disaster-recovery vendors.

"We're looking at displacing some of our vendors. Because from a vendor management perspective and because of where we're seeing more value, Veeam is really well-positioned for us," McClarty said.

‘With Veeam’ Program

VeeamON 2019 also included the announcement of the "with Veeam" program, which involves Veeam's software getting embedded as part of secondary storage solutions from leading vendors.

Joint solutions announced so far include Nutanix Mine with Veeam and ExaGrid Backup with Veeam.

"I will always believe that software is a better approach, for many reasons," Allan said. "We're very strong on [saying that] we're not going to deliver an appliance. But we want to enable that."

Allan said that “with Veeam” allows storage vendors to focus on their specialty while still letting Veeam cater to the segment of customers that want appliances. He compared the program to the "Intel Inside” program from chipmaker Intel and device makers.

“With Veeam” is “our answer to the appliance market, without us becoming an appliance vendor," Allan said.

SMB

An important aspect for partners to know about Veeam is that the company's solutions are relevant not just to large customers, but to small and medium-sized businesses as well, Strelzick said.

"We're not limited by size of customer or industry. We're a very strong horizontal solution that scales well. So we deal with SMB, we deal with enterprise," he said.

Product enhancements by Veeam have made the company even more relevant to SMBs than in the past, Adair said. Veeam's introduction of agents for physical Windows and Linux servers has removed a barrier for managed services providers that serve SMBs, he said.

"They now have a packaged service for SMB customers," Adair said, which enables partners to sell "enterprise-grade technology" to SMBs.

In deciding to begin working with Veeam, the team at Pax8 saw that "the SMB focus was very clear" at the vendor, Walsh said. "I think their strategy right now is a good reflection of that. The fact that they're embracing somebody like Pax8 would not happen if they were disingenuous about the pursuit of the SMB market. That's where a volume of our partners live. And it's an under-served market--it's a lot harder to attack that market."

Cloud Business Model

While there are no major changes to partner program incentives planned for this year, James Mundle, vice president of global channels at Veeam, said he is looking into future changes that would recognize the way that more partners are offering both resale and cloud services offerings.

"We need to continue to iterate and evolve, and provide a greater benefit stack for how partners are doing things," Mundle said.

That could comprise everything from financial incentives, to the go-to-market strategy, to the messaging that’s involved, he said.

Mundle said he is investigating the idea of a "combined benefits stack" for partners that are involved in both resale and cloud services.

"Because the businesses are joined, but yet disparate, I need to figure out a way to be able to bring it together," he said.

Part of the investigation so far includes gathering more data around partner revenue result to help inform any potential incentive changes, Mundle said.

Partner Assessment

Partners who spoke with CRN at VeeamON 2019 said they have high hopes for working with Veeam going forward, thanks in large part to the company’s technology innovation and continued partner-friendly approach.

"Veeam is the darling of the channel because you've got one technology that can do it all," Orsini said. "I can back up locally, I can restore locally. I can back up off-site, I can restore off-site. I can archive with cloud, I can recover for [disaster recovery] as-a-service. And it doesn't matter where the data is, I've got a way of leveraging Veeam to protect it. It's the holy grail. It's what everybody wants."

The cloud push is a smart move, and Veeam is wisely extending its emphasis on simplicity to its cloud efforts, said Danny Lamontagne-Cyr, system administrator for Sherbrooke, Quebec-based SherWeb.

"The part I really like the most is the ease--how easy it is" to use Veeam products, he said. "You can basically do anything for data protection and data management, in and out of the public cloud, from a single interface."

Overall, Veeam is investing in "very good areas," he said. "They have the right timing, good product. They've positioned themselves well."

McClarty agreed, saying Veeam appears to be making the right bets.

"You can't ignore data moving into the cloud, and they're trying to address that," he said. "They're doing a good job not alienating anybody right now. Which is a tough balance--because you have the more traditional providers like ourselves who've been there since the beginning, and have really helped to get that Veeam messaging going. I think they're doing a good job trying to appease everybody at this point."

Christopher Black, chief technology and security officer at Eden Prairie, Minn.-based High Availability Inc., said it's clear that Veeam is "moving in a good direction."

"Their product was originally built for enterprise-based environments. They've done some good things for extending that feature functionality that MSPs require into their platform," Black said. "We've been working with them for years, and it's been a solid platform for us--solid architecture and a great partnership. We've grown our business substantially due to our partnership with Veeam over the years."

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