The COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly affected the growth of the market, offline as well as online. We try to understand its impact on digital transformation, cybersecurity, data protection through our conversation with Veeam’s Senior Vice President – Asia Pacific and Japan, Shiva Pillay and their Senior Global Technologist, Anthony Spiteri.
What is the enterprise technology market trend – specially from India perspective?
The APJ market is a great place to drive business in the context of companies and their investment strategies. If we look at the APJ market, Veeam is growing 3.5 times the market pace in the APJ region, based on the most data from recent IDC Semi-Annual Software Tracker for Data Replication & Protection 2H’20. This is very significant for India as well. The other trend we can start to see is subscription consumption. A lot of our business in the India region itself is driven by a shift from perpetual traditional models to more subscription-based technologies. With our new innovations in the data protection space, we are heading with a strategy that is aligned to the Indian market. A market that is rich in innovation and the usage of technology.
The market has weathered the storm and has come out well. We talked about digital acceleration, which was very prevalent off the back of the pandemic last year. What has been observed is that the technology that is being used has increased business for the company to a great extent. There has been more awareness for certain technologies, but also threats as well. We understand by this that people who are working from home are aware of the ransomware and now more than ever they know that they need to protect their data as it grows.
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“If you think about disaster recovery, the complexity of some of our competitive solutions is what causes a lot of the challenges.”
Asia Pacific and Japan,
Digital transformation has become a trend and is a necessity for all organizations, and this time because of this pandemic it is accelerating very quickly. What is your observation from Veeam perspective?
When we talk about COVID-19’s impact in technology, we have seen an acceleration in adoption of Veeam solutions as compared to how it was before. Companies earlier believed that their employees should have access to data and that technology should be company’s primary focus, however as the pandemic continues to impact businesses globally, companies have accelerated their digital transformation on the premise that the pandemic is here to stay and that now they need to grow their business grow. Veeam along with Vanson Bourne recently released Veeam Data Protection Report 2021, as per the report COVID-19 has had an extraordinary effect on Digital Transformation (DX) efforts of organizations with almost two thirds 64% of Indian organizations accelerating their DX initiatives. Now as businesses grow and mature, the ability to have or be able to have confidence in backing up or protecting the data you have is extremely relevant with remote working. The workplace in itself has been decentralized as a result of the pandemic, which puts high pressure on: a) digital transformation journey of a customer, and b) protection of the customer’s data. In early stages of the pandemic, people were making sure that they were driving their business, however now businesses are in a highly competitive space, they are trying to attack, attract and retain their customer base and for that they need to transform the way in which they engage with their customers. With digital transformation, the need to introduce new products is on the rise. Our main strategy is to protect the overload of data and give our customers the confidence to release new products into the marketplace and become more competitive, whether it be B2B or B2C.
Due to the pandemic, people have been working from home so the challenges like ransomware, cybersecurity and availability are on a rise. How do you ensure data protection and what are your plans to ensure data availability and security for the organizations?
If you look at our releases over the past couple of years, the focus on ransomware has always been strong but what we decided to do is leverage objects towards supportability and through object storage. We have tried to leverage the immutability features within the object storage platforms, which ensures that when a backup is taken, it is placed in a location that is going to be immutable, and therefore protecting that landing zone or the place at risk from that malicious attack. The technology solutions that we have released recently are focused on ransomware. In fact in Feb 2021 we released v11 with an additional 200 new and powerful backup, cloud, DR, security and automation enhancements. It is by far the most advanced data protection solution for Cloud, virtual, SaaS, Kubernetes and physical workloads.
Therefore, from the technology point of view it is very important to understand what the market wants and how they react to these new threats and trends in the market. The best way to protect against these threats is to follow the 3-2-1 rule of backup in terms of getting two copies of your data, one off-site. However now we are adding a few zeros to the end of that rule to make sure that you have immutable copies that can also be validated and tested. This is a very big move in the field of technology.
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“What Veeam has been able to do as a technology platform, is looking at ways to improve our APIs, our PowerShell, our automation ability, so that our customers can better leverage that to automate recovery.”
Senior Global Technologist,
What is your focus on reskilling the people?
The skilling component is what we pride ourselves of as a company. We are not massive, we are not a service providing organization, we have a simple, reliable, flexible product and it works. If you think about disaster recovery, the complexity of some of our competitive solutions is what causes a lot of the challenges. The other component is ways around creating some levels of automation which simplifies organization’s DX processes. In case a disaster happens leaving the whole task on a couple of human beings could also be like a key man failure.
The key part to that is education. Education, in terms of modern data platforms, how your software works and making sure that in the case of a situation, if a senior or a lead person is not available, either you write the process down or automate them. One needs to have the ability to do that. What Veeam has been able to do as a technology platform, is looking at ways to improve our APIs, our PowerShell, our automation ability, so that our customers can better leverage that to automate recovery. Now, that is still not 100% there, because you still do need people to hit the switch, and press the button and do the DIR. But more and more, what we have seen is that customers are consuming us once they have installed the platform, they are then doing automatic recovery testing. Veeam has a feature in the backup and replication product for years which is called Veeam DataLabs. It allows you to verify and validate a backup on an occasion and it automatically builds the application up in a sandbox which lets you test it. Once the button is pressed, you can then transfer the data into production. This technology is built in but as mentioned before the future is based on automation and as a company we are trying to help our customers get over these hurdles.
With regards to the partner’s piece, we have what is called the Veeam Accredited Services Program. Over here an investment is made to help them to scale up the skills and we help subsidize their ability to pick up those particular skills. This is so that they can better serve their customers. With changing needs and work, different kinds of deployments can be looked into. By this we are not only taking care of the customers but also with our partner and alliances ecosystem to make them more effective.
Does Veeam have any training program certification? How are you positioned on the front seat?
We have a training program, we have an accreditation program.To better support partners and increase partner engagement as well as encourage focused products and solutions adoption, Veeam offers a variety of network programs that allows ease of access and cater to all our partner needs. This includes:
Veeam Technology Alliance Program (VTAP): Designed to drive higher market share and profitability for our alliance partners through joint development efforts and strategic activities that increase industry awareness and sales.
Veeam ProPartner Network: Allows our global ecosystem of partners to work directly and indirectly with one another and is a means of allowing them to stay connected with our global community and have access to customized programs, tools, and resources. Veeam Accredited Service Partner (VASP): Enables partners to differentiate their offerings and achieve value realization to drive customer success
Veeam’s accreditation and constant training programs are designed at working with partners and upskilling them in technology areas like backup, data management and Kubernetes.
It’s a combination of acquiring
We have Veeam’s services professionals, we have a ton of accreditation, and we are quite aggressive in how we work with our partners and make sure that we are getting our partners accredited. Veeam does not have a very heavy services footprint and that heavy services footprint comes with the complexity of some technology. I would say it is probably from the simplicity of the product. We do have training and education available, we continue to make investments in training programs across geographies, we are working more and more to make sure India is well represented.
What’s your initiative towards the hybrid cloud and container technologies protecting, making the data available?
Independent of what the new technologies are, we as a brand have always focused on what is the next wave where customers are looking to drive disruption and innovation. From a Veeam perspective we started with virtualization, we then moved to the cloud, we are driving the cloud response, and we are now building competencies around Kubernetes with the Kasten acquisition, which is essentially the next phase. Hence, our strategy has always been to focus on the trends early-on where customers will move. This way, we prepare beforehand for the upcoming technology waves and our differentiation is that we provide simple, reliable and flexible solutions catering to our customer’s requirements.
A technology that is looking at modern data platforms, hybrid cloud, no matter where that is. The Kubernetes is driven by the application, which is very important. So for us, the Kasten acquisition was not just a technology acquisition, but it was a people and thought leadership acquisition as well. Kasten has a reputation of being latest in the back and DR space around Kubernetes workloads and they are very big in open source and cloud-native foundations as well. Kasten’s synergy is very real and similar with regards to how Veeam is simple, reliable, and flexible, they’ve taken the same approach. But from a technology point of view, Kubernetes is not here yet. It’s being driven by developers more than anything because developers are developing these new apps for the new companies that are born today and these companies are not going to be having a server in the background. They are going to be looking to build new applications, they might be consuming SAS, and then their modern apps are going to be built on Kubernetes in theory, so we are here to lead that wave. It’s not quite here yet. Kubernetes itself in not fully mature but when it does mature and when that inflection point hits, we’re going to be in a great position to back up those workloads.
What does Veeam look at from a growth perspective investment and technology advancement perspective? What are your priority areas for the next six months?
From an APJ market perspective Veeam’s look at 3 things, first component is that we are a people’s business first – in a country like India or even in geographies that are similar, we make sure that our people, our partners and our customers are in good shape from a human level. The Second is component growth – our job is to continue to drive growth. For instance, in the first quarter of 2021, we have seen a 27 percent YoY increase in ARR across APJ. Therefore, growth plays a very important role. For the growth to happen we start looking at the IDC data. We work with customers as they adopt different kinds of modern data backup solutions, support them in the transition, help them be as flexible as possible. The third thing is to make sure that we as an organization take care of our customers and our partners. Veeam is a 100% channel company unlike most in this landscape, our partner programs and our investments in the channel community are designed to help them grow, as we grow our business in the market, which makes it a very exciting prospect for our channel partner. The R&D team and development team have their central focus on creating the backup & recovery solutions that make our customers life easier no matter what the challenge may be.
From technology point of view and from an R&D perspective, we are moving into the next phase of our V12 release, which means we are entering a beta stage. We will be announcing a new SAS – based offering, we will continue to improve our cloud-native solutions for AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Microsoft Office 365. We will continue to expand our platform and enhance the existing features.