In the domain of Data Management, Veeam Software is a global leader. The company develops backup, disaster recovery and data management software for virtual, physical and multi-cloud infrastructures. Veeam’s growth has been extraordinary. Founded in 2006, the company surpassed $1bn annual revenues in 2018 and dominates data management landscape. However, the landscape of data backup is also changing rapidly. In an exclusive interview, Muqbil Ahmar, Executive Editor, Dynamic CIO (DCIO) caught up with Sandeep Bhambure (SB), Vice President and Managing Director, Veeam Software India & SAARC to understand Data Management and its evolution as well as details about their new release the v10.
DCIO: Today, there is a data explosion. It is doubling every two years. Data is rightfully considered as one of the most important assets of a company. There must be tremendous pressure on you as far as data management is concerned. How are you handling this data deluge?
SB: All businesses believe data is the most important asset. It is growing rapidly. And today, it’s not generated only within the confines of the data center. Today, mobile devices, social media, and machines all are generating a lot of data. So it’s not that data is generated at one place, it is generated at multiple places, but all of this data has to be managed by the enterprise or by the business. The ownership of managing the data, the explosion of data and making all of this data available for the business, is the responsibility of the technology owners, decision makers or the infrastructure owners. So, the management of data is becoming extremely critical. Organizations also need to know what their data is all about. So classification of data is another big thing that organizations are serious about. Because when you have such a huge deluge of information, you need to understand what is important, what is relevant for you, and what is more current. As far as classification of data is concerned, you can only manage your data if you can protect it well. So, in that context, when it comes to Veeam, we are in the space of managing and protecting information.
DCIO: With cloud coming in a big way, it is getting more and more critical for enterprises that their data is safe and secure. I am talking about all variations of cloud, be it public, private or hybrid, data availability is of critical importance. How do you see the entire cloud landscape and what is your perspective? How does v10 sit in this picture?
SB: Managing and protecting information in a hybrid cloud environment is our mission. We want to be the most trusted provider of backup solutions that delivers Cloud Data Management. With the v10 release, which is the biggest release for Veeam, we live up to the expectation of our customers in fulfilling the vision of being a leader in the backup space.
The earlier versions were built for the quantum of data around that period. But now the data universe has grown 20 fold. So, if you got to protect bits and bytes of information, which are critical for businesses today, you need to be fast in terms of innovating and protecting this unstructured information. With V10, we have powerful NAS backup capabilities. It allows us to get into conversations with customers, large enterprises, which have millions and millions of files that are unprotected today but which are critical for their business. We can solve our customers’ problems of protecting this information and reducing the exposure of losing data.
Second, we can provide our customers portability and protection of workloads in a hybrid cloud environment. I am talking about multi-instant recovery of multiple VMs. So let me take the case of a large scale disaster or an outage for a customer that has adopted a hybrid cloud strategy in a big way. When you want to recover the customer’s applications and data, you follow the traditional ways of recoveries, which are not going to allow the customers to bring up their business fast. The instant recovery of multiple VMs actually allows the customers this capability. They can bring up the business in the fastest possible time, even if they are heavily virtualized or on a hybrid cloud. These are aspects most relevant to large enterprises because they are adopting hybrid cloud even for mission critical workloads.
And, last but not least, we are offering protection against ransomware. Customers are looking at storing long-term archive or long-term retention on the cloud. We are able to integrate with s3 object storage on cloud and deliver on immutable backups, which means that a ransomware, which typically encrypts customer information, cannot go and encrypt that customer’s information as it is protected using VM with immutable backup. Neither can anybody with malicious intent inside or outside the organization, tamper with the data or delete the data. In addition to these three, I can think of several different scenarios and use cases in the customer environment, which we can address with more than 150 major enhancements in the v10 platform besides solving challenges around availability in a hybrid cloud environment. Whether it’s a partner community or alliance, we are able to solve the real life challenges of the IT fraternity in a hybrid cloud world.
DCIO: How does the new release sit with your partners and channel ecosystem as you are a channel-driven organization?
SB: We partner with a broad ecosystem of alliances, for example, HPE is one of the biggest friends that we have in the industry along with Cisco, Lenovo, NetApp, Microsoft AWS, etc. We are uniquely placed to help deliver on availability for our customers who are tied up using any of these technologies from the marketplace. We understand data management and data protection probably better than any other player in the market, because we are hardware agnostic. If you look at the hardware vendors, they couldn’t probably understand the data that resides in their hardware platform, but when it comes to Veeam, they can because we have a hardware agnostic approach. We understand data whether it resides on a particular platform by a particular VM, on-prem, off-prem, hybrid cloud, or hyper scalars. Our forte is management and protection, and that’s the value we are bringing to the table. We understand data, its management and protection from a hardware agnostic approach.
DCIO: Veeam is already doing very well in the data management and backup space. What is your vision? Where do you see heading? What will be the areas of growth?
SB: If you look at the cloud data management market, it will be a $21 billion market across the globe by 2023. The way the organization has evolved, we want to continue to be the trusted provider of backup solutions for Cloud Data Management. We started with protecting only the virtual environment. If you look at the journey in the last decade, we have moved from protecting modern data centers to data on the cloud. We are seeing hybrid cloud adoption grow in a big way. We want to help our customers in their hybrid cloud journey and protect the data for them. Make it available. That will continue to be our vision. Complexities for the customers are not going to go down. With customers looking at containers, Kubernetes, and several other new technologies and platforms that could become part of their IT landscape, the challenges around data protection and availability are not going to go down, they’re going to go up. We want to make sure that Veeam continues to deliver on a simple, flexible and reliable platform for backup of whatever is next. We did a great job in the previous decade. We think that we are equipped extremely well for the next decade.
DCIO: What is Veeam’s strategy for India?
SB: India and SAARC strategy is dear to me. From the business standpoint, the market has responded very well to not only the investments that Veeam has been doing in the Indian SAARC market, but also to the product offerings and the previous release of v9.5 update4 and now v10. We are seeing tremendous traction across enterprises. We will continue with our strategy to land and expand and grow on our channel partner ecosystem across the country. If I look at the top three priorities for me one is geo-expansion. From the last year till now, we are growing at 39% CAGR and Q4 for us last year grew by 100% plus. With that kind of growth I think we will continue to see good uptake for Veeam solutions across the enterprise segment as well as in the SMB space. Geo-expansion will be one of the pillars for us to accelerate into the Indian market.
The second is growing the partner ecosystem. We have four distributors in the marketplace today, we have segmented the market to address or align with the buying cycle of different industries. We want to be completely aligned with that buying cycle. We are seeing healthcare industry trying to modernize their infrastructure and they are looking at cloud adoption. Public sector and Government would continue to grow in terms of their spending on cloud services. So, our focus is going to be more aligned with the buying cycle of the customers or the industries. Act 2 is essentially customers who are looking at cloud as a serious piece of their strategy, moving mission critical application to cloud. With Veeam’s offering to protect AWS or Azure workloads, we can help customers to migrate heavy workloads in a big way. We are uniquely placed to protect the customer environment. These are the three pillars or cornerstones on which we will grow our business for 2020 and beyond.