Unitrends targets Veeam with VM Backup solution

This initial version of VM Backup Essentials supports a maximum of six sockets, and so is aimed at enterprise departments and SMBs, but Unitrends says that an enterprise version will be out later this quarter.

Paul Brady, Unitrends’ CEO

Backup provider Unitrends believes that Veeam, in its very public push into the enterprise, has lost some of the focus on its core SMB market that originally propelled it to market leadership. Accordingly, today they are introducing a new product targeted squarely at Veeam’s market. VM Backup Essentials (vBE), which is available now in a 6-socket version appropriate for SMBs and departments within enterprises, is priced significantly below Veeam, although Unitrends stresses that it is not simply a price play. A more robust version of vBE with unlimited capacity is scheduled to be available later this quarter.

“Veeam did an amazing job with this market some years ago, but many customers now fell abandoned as Veeam has focused more on the enterprise,” said Paul Brady, Unitrends’ CEO. “Both customers and partners have told us that Veeam has become arrogant and is now treating them poorly. Last year, especially in Q4, we saw a significant churn from Veeam as customers moved on, concerned about increasing prices. Partners are also unhappy because they are being squeezed on margins, and Veeam has pulled deal reg on certain-sized deals.”

Brady said that their offering is focused on customer pain points, and is very much oriented towards the VM administrator.

Pricing is aggressive, at $105 per socket per year, and is an important part of the value proposition, but Unitrends is emphasizing that this isn’t strictly a price play.

“We wanted to make the pricing very attractive to take advantage of the the fact Veeam tends to jack up prices at renewal,” Brady said. “This is a good price for us, and we can make a solid profit, but it is also a fair price for the customer.”

“This is not just a cost play,” said Mark Jordan, Unitrends’ CTO. “In addition to the lower cost, we do believe that we are offering a better product as well. Our proprietary cloud is a huge advantage, and is something that Veeam has to outsource. That also adds complexity for the customer when they need to restore data. We also offer additional capabilities like ransomware detection and built-in predictive analytics. We are delivered on a Linux-based virtual appliance that is simply a more secure product. Our integration to the public cloud is also more intuitive. In addition, our White Glove Service is also a differentiator for us.”

This is not a new area for Unitrends, but it is the first time they have created a product which they clearly see as a Veeam-killer.

“We had capabilities in these areas before, but we hadn’t called out to VM admins how we can help them, as we are doing now,” Brady said. “This strategy adjustment lets them know we can serve them, and deals with their frustration at being abandoned.”

This initial version of vBE has a maximum of six sockets available, although Unitrends is stressing that it’s not just a small business product, and that they are expecting a strong response from departments within larger organizations.

“Later this quarter, we will release a version that will support an unlimited number of sockets,” Jordan said. “It will also include additional capabilities that larger environments will want, such as multi-site management, full disaster recovery orchestration and more predictive analytics.”

Unitrends is also emphasizing that this kind of aggressive initiative shows that they are fully recovered from their problems of a couple of years ago.

“We had some turmoil in late 2015 and early 2016, but in late 2016 and early 2017 we successfully refocused on the customer and are now in good double-digit growth,” Brady said. “We also doubled down on the channel, made sure they understood our commitment to them, and have frequent conversations with them through our Advisory Board.”