Dan's Take

Veeam Unveils Availability Suite v8

The company also repositions itself as more than backup and recovery at its event. Will it be successful?

I just returned from the Veeam Software user conference, VeeamON 2014. It was interesting to watch the company do its best to reposition itself: To grow from being thought of as a supplier of backup and recovery software only, to being a supplier of "datacenter availability." Toward that end, it announced a new iteration, version 8, of its Veeam Availability Suite.

Veeam Availability Suite v8
Veeam wants to position itself as the supplier of, in the company's words, "datacenter availability for the modern datacenter." This means the company is concerning itself with addressing business requirements to quickly back up applications and data in a virtual or cloud environment.

Version 8 of the Veeam suite (which the company says will be available later this quarter) is designed to help organizations keep important applications and data backed up and to quickly recover from failures. Version 8 improves both the backup and recovery performance, while minimizing the impact of the backup process on running systems.

The key points Veeam wants us to remember about version 8:

  • High-speed recovery
  • Data loss avoidance -- data can be quickly backed up without putting undue strain on systems supporting production workloads
  • Verified protection of applications and data through automated backup and disaster recovery testing
  • Leveraging data by making it possible to safely test applications with data snapshots, rather than testing on live data
  • Integration with VMware and other cloud computing products

Veeam Customers Speak
I spoke with several attendees whose companies rely on Veeam and its products. To a person, they said positive things about the Veeam products, the company's technical support, the pricing of the products and the performance of the products. More than a few pointed out that having Veeam products installed saved them from embarrassment when a system, a virtual server or an application system failed unexpectedly. These attendees  mentioned that they were able to quickly bring things back up and keep production workloads running.

Dan's Take: Veeam's Re-positioning Efforts
Veeam has long been thought of as a supplier of backup and recovery software. This means  the company is seen as just another player in a complex, dynamic and highly competitive market, which includes players such as BMC Corp., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Microsoft, VMware Inc. and a host of others.

The Veeam Availability Suite has a good reputation as having the capabilities to quickly back up virtual servers executing in either a VMware vSphere or a Microsoft Hyper-V environment. The company offers its technology in a number of forms and supports storage servers offered by Cisco Systems Inc., EMC, HP and NetApp. It's likely that Veeam Availability Suite v8 will enjoy the same good reputation.

In the hope of clearing its path and being considered in a different light, the company has attempted to elevate its image from merely offering backup and recovery software to being the supplier of "datacenter availability." The problem with this approach is that its current product set centers on the ability to back up and recover data.

Because the company offers products that provide backup and recovery, it's a bit of a stretch to grant it the label of supplier of data center availability products today. Datacenter availability, in my view, would mean keeping applications running rather than being able to quickly pick up the pieces should something fail.

Veeam, at this point in time, doesn't offer failover clustering, workload management, continuous processing or other processing virtualization technology designed to keep many instances of an application running so that end users never see a failure.

Because the company only supports x86-based virtual server environments offered by VMware and Microsoft, and doesn't offer support for applications and data executing on mainframes, midrange systems running Unix, midrange systems running Linux, or systems running the hardware vendor's own OSes, at best Veeam offers only a partial solution for multi-vendor, multi-platform datacenters.

If an enterprise lives in the restricted world of an x86-only datacenter environment, then Veeam could be considered as having the foundation of software that would partially support a claim of being a provider of datacenter availability.

Because the company certainly could add support for other environments, this appears to be an example of marketing overreach.

Is this bad?  No, I don't think so. Many suppliers start with a basic capability and talk up their vision of the future to create a new reputation in the industry. I would suggest, however, that customers carefully compare their current needs to features and functions of current Veeam products, rather than being swayed by a glowing vision of the future.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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