In addition to putting more investment into their alliances strategy and their channel, Veeam is encouraging traditional partners to take advantage of the Veeam Availability Suite’s new cloud capabilities.
Veeam Software, which makes backup and replication solutions for the virtual datacentre which it sells through a 100 per cent channel strategy, is looking to differentiate itself further in an increasingly cluttered and competitive market. Last year, they rebranded a greatly enhanced new version of their core backup management suite for modern data protection. Now they are putting more investment into both their alliances strategy and their channel.
“Last year we transformed the Veeam Backup Management Suite into the Veeam Availability Suite, which is clearly a better product,” said Chris Moore, Veeam’s North American Channel Chief. “The messaging was the key, that we were moving to modern data protection. We went from being a great backup provider to a great availability provider, going from providing really cool backups to also providing availabilty by reducing restore points. In addition, we tied in best of breed hardware solutions with NetApp and EMC Data Domain Boost. Changing the product the way we did really improves the ability of partners to position themselves as a solution provider to their customers.”
Moore acknowledged that this repositioning has little resonance among some customers, but stressed that the strategy fits well with where the cutting edge is going.
“There’s a lot of the addressable market who still look at their data like they have for the last 15 years,” he said. “Many are bigger companies that still do data backup in the traditional way, and can’t adapt. We built this for the world of converged systems, looking forward. Something like EVO:RAIL plays right into what we do.”
The backup and recovery market has been pretty stable over the several years, in terms of the players and their positions, but Moore thinks that’s about to change.
“I do thing that competition is starting to accelerate now, and that some consolidation is likely coming as a result,” he said. “When we lose to the 800 lb gorilla, it’s because a company is on a ‘do nothing’ strategy, but there are more advanced companies that see a dynamic shift in the market. When we are being actively marketed against by competitors, that’s a good sign, and we’ve seen more people positioning against us in the last 18 months. The focus now of new people and product coming in is strongly on the virtual space and converged, but the difference is that they are coming in with appliances, or from higher up in the market.”
Moore said that his focus now is on leveraging Veeam’s alliances to best position the company in this environment.
“We have always done alliances from an R&D perspective, and three years ago we did a heavy integration with HPs 3PAR, but we didn’t do a great job of driving that message,” he said. “We are now being more vocal about announcing to everyone what we are doing, and doing joint marketing, and joint partner communications to show that we are truly differentiating, that no other vendor can do what we do.”
Moore said they are looking to develop new synergies with alliance partners by adding more margin to deals. The most recent, which kicked in on Wednesday, was expanding the VMware Partner Accelerator by giving all Silver, Gold, and Platinum ProPartners the opportunity to earn an additional 15 points of margin for every Veeam + VMware vCloud Air deal, as they have for Veeam + VMware vSOM opportunities. This limited time program runs through June 30.
“This rewards partners for driving ecosystem alignment, and we have a lot of stuff going on here,” Moore said. “For instance, we also added incremental margin when we are attached to a Cisco or NetApp deal.”
Veeam’s channel is now north of 29,000 ProPartners worldwide – huge by today’s standards – but Moore stressed that they are continuing to actively recruit, and don’t have a problem of partners tripping over each other, slashing prices to get business.
“We will continue to recruit, and are always looking for new partners,” he said. “We are able to maintain very robust deal registration margins because our partners are very into our margin story. Traditionally, we are a small piece of a much larger deal the partner delivers – typically $10,000-15,000 of a $100,000 deal. We very rarely drive the large sale. Partners can sell servers at server margins and storage at storage margins, but they don’t like tinkering with our higher margins, so we we don’t see a lot of fighting on price. Our margin typically stays in our prices because they see our software as an accretive play and don’t want to chop our margin. So they go in with our full margin, and differentiate on the total solution they are offering.”
Moore also emphasized that they are actively trying to get partners to look at the new cloud capabilities that the Veeam Availability Suite introduced last year.
“The Cloud Connect feature lets you push your data into the cloud, and we are having a lot of conversations with our traditional partners about cloud,” Moore said. “It’s definitely one of our big initiatives. We also aren’t building or own cloud, so we work the conversations to use one of our cloud provider partners.”
Moore stressed that, notwithstanding the new free tool Veeam introduced this week for backing up Windows-based desktops and laptops, they have no intention of leaving the virtual realm and offering an all-in-one solution that would combine virtual and physical data protection.
“For the virtual environment, we are best of breed, and we have an advantage in that customers don’t have to rip and replace the physical solution they have in place,” he said. “Being virtual-only also makes us much easier to configure and install, as well as completely hardware-agnostic. We don’t see customers saying ‘we want a single pane of glass.’ Customers are willing to have two distinct environments.”
The new tool, Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, complements other stand-alone free tools Veeam has made available for some time. It does both image-based volume and file-level backups, and lets users back up endpoints to an external hard drive, network shared folder or a Veeam Backup & Replication repository. Recovery is enabled in minutes from the image-based backup, and includes bare-metal recovery to the same or dissimilar hardware, volume and file-level restores.
“The new free tool is physical, meant to be around endpoints, and as such it does address a limited physical environment,” Moore said. “We will see what the industry does with it, but we don’t see it as something that will replace Symantec.”
Last, and certainly not least, Moore said Veeam is ramping up its efforts in Canada.
“We’ve invested really heavily in Canada this year,” he said. “We doubled the channel field team and the sales team, and have increased the number of partners in Canada by about 20 per cent.” About half of these new partners were vibrant, meaning that they have already implemented multiple deals.
Moore also indicated that Veeam is now looking at Canada as distinct from a distribution perspective.
“We are implementing a new distribution strategy where we are looking at all avenues, and we have hired a new leader in North America running our distribution network, looking at what we should be doing. One of the changes she has made is a dedicated distribution rep in Canada, working with our distributors in Canada.”