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The Veeam hybrid cloud platform is in midflight.
A lot has changed for the data protection and management vendor since VeeamON 2019, when co-founder Ratmir Timashev detailed the beginning of Veeam's "Act 2," with a focus on hybrid cloud.
The product strategy is similar, but the company itself and the business world are different: Private equity firm Insight Partners acquired Veeam in January 2020; Timashev and his co-founder Andrei Baronov are transitioning out of the company; Veeam is moving its headquarters from Switzerland to the United States; and the VeeamON user conference transitioned from a physical show to a virtual event last month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Close to 30,000 people registered for VeeamON 2020. The show detailed recent and future product updates, and featured dozens of breakout, demo and keynote sessions with a heavy cloud focus.
Veeam CEO William Largent, who took over the top job from Baronov, described the hybrid cloud as a combination of virtual, physical and multi-cloud workloads.
"You've got to be ready to support all of that," Largent said.
Veeam goes continuous with data protection, product releases
Future Veeam hybrid cloud support will include its long-pledged continuous data protection. Version 11 of the flagship Veeam Availability Suite will feature VeeamCDP, providing VM replication for VMware vSphere workloads.
The CDP makes Veeam more competitive and helps its product become more all-encompassing, said Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Zerto is among the vendors that already have continuous data protection.
"The bar is being raised now," Bertrand said.
VeeamCDP is in tech preview, said Danny Allan, Veeam's CTO and senior vice president of product strategy.
The vendor has given no expected launch date for Veeam Availability Suite 11, but it is set to enter beta over the next few months. Allan said he would like to see general availability by the end of 2020.
Veeam is quickening the pace of its product releases. While the company previously might have one major release every year, there have already been a half-dozen releases in 2020 with about a dozen planned, Allan said. For example, at VeeamON 2020, the company detailed updates to several products, including Veeam Backup for AWS and Backup for Microsoft Office 365.
"That's a modern way of developing products," Bertrand said. "It's the right thing to do. It's more value for the customer."
As a result of the pandemic, early indications show organizations using more cloud storage and backup -- a trend that fits well with a remote workforce. Allan noted that cloud platform software changes continuously and thus, the cadence of cloud data protection software should likewise increase.
Comprehensive container support is one other aspect of the Veeam hybrid cloud platform still to come. Veeam launched a partnership with Kubernetes backup provider Kasten but has not released a technology co-offering yet.
Allan said he thinks containers are the future of the industry, but it could be a few years off.
"There's still a lot of complexity that needs to be figured out before they go mainstream," Allan said.
Virtual backup pioneer makes mark in virtual user conference world
While Veeam started out specializing in virtual data backup, it later added physical support as well as cloud protection. This year's VeeamON went in the opposite direction -- scheduled as a physical show in Las Vegas and ultimately transitioning like dozens of tech conferences to a virtual event.
The reach, both in numbers and countries represented, was better than what Veeam could have achieved at a physical event, Allan said.
Krista MacomberSenior analyst, Evaluator Group
It's hard to replace actual face-to-face meetings that detail product offerings, especially for salespeople. Allan, though, noted a different kind of energy in the interaction because it was ongoing. Attendees could ask questions in the chat box in the middle of sessions as executives and product representatives were talking, which is not possible at physical events.
Bertrand said Veeam successfully made the transition to a digital format.
"The message was clearly articulated by the right people," he said.
Sessions are still available for viewing, which can be helpful for users who want to go back and check detailed technology information and for attendees who couldn't catch all they wanted over the course of the two-day show.
"You have such a plethora to push out to audiences for them to consume on-demand," Bertrand said. The ball is now in the court of partners and the sales team for follow-ups.
Bertrand suggested Veeam consider a recurring virtual event, even if it's not at the scale of this VeeamON.
VeeamON 2021 is already scheduled as a physical show, set for May 4-5 in Hollywood, Fla.
Krista Macomber, senior analyst at Evaluator Group, said she was impressed with Veeam's prompt responses in the chat features, the level of interest and questions about its new offerings and the product demos.
"Not only is it important to put on an engaging and informative virtual event, but vendors like Veeam now face the question of how to translate this virtual attendance into actionable next steps, relationship-wise," Macomber wrote in an email.
"I do think that customers should be thinking along a similar line -- going beyond the sessions to have one-off engagements and really dig in to how their IT challenges and requirements are changing."