Veeam Gears Up For Enterprise Growth

Veeam has categorically declared that it is chasing enterprise customers at its VeeamON conference in Chicago, IL this week.

Veeam Co-CEO Peter McKay presents at VeeamON in Chicago, IL on May 15, 2018.
Veeam Co-CEO Peter McKay presents at VeeamON in Chicago, IL on May 15, 2018.

Co-CEO Peter McKay wasn’t shy about naming competitors it intends to take customers away from: Commvault, NetBackup, Avamar, and TSM. He was somewhat more coy about naming other competitors in enterprise data protection, referring to them as “smaller, venture backed companies”. Oddly enough, it’s the same message Veeam has been trying to sell since last year’s conference but this year Veeam seems to have changed its approach to better appeal to enterprises.

The keynote at the show eschewed the traditional product and feature announcements in favor of outlining Veeam’s vision of the future in a move that is deliberately designed to appeal to C-level executives at enterprise companies. While the intent makes sense, the actual execution on the day felt a little muddled. Talking to partners and customers, there was a general consensus that the high-level message presented was a little too high level, and a more concrete explanation of the vision is required.

Veeam coFounder and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development, Ratmir Timashev was able to clear things up for me. The five stages of the vision (Backup, Aggregation, Visibility, Orchestration, Automation) are stepping stones for enterprises to follow. Customers start with backup, because that’s where they are currently in pain.

“They have the project, and budget, for backup,” Timashev said. “They have the money to buy the next Data Domain, but they’re fed up because they’re spending millions and it’s not working.” Veeam’s plan is to come into the enterprise to address this specific problem as the first stage of a multi-step journey. “The actual project that we go to is backup. Just fix backup.”

“However, when you bring the C-level audience in, they would like to hear the data management story,” said Timashev. By having a broader vision to share, Timashev believes enterprise executives can see Veeam as more than just a “fix backup” option that can support their broader goals for data management. There is certainly a lot of interest in the possibilities of making better use of data: knowing what data you have, where it is, how secure it is, using it to gain greater insights, etc.

At enterprise scale, a new data protection system is a strategic investment, rather than just a tactical project that can be killed off if it’s not successful. When making this kind of substantial, multi-year investment, executives will want to feel that Veeam can expand into dealing with other issues the enterprise is facing. While it may not have all of these capabilities today, the aspirational message is that once backup is fixed, there is a way to get even more value out of an investment in Veeam, which further reduces the desire to stick with an existing product that makes similar claims.