Veeam sees Kasten’s technology with its focus on the application perspective and strong suitability for backup and DR use cases as highly synergistic with itself
2020 has seen Kubernetes hit new levels of adoption, with the proof in the pudding being the large-scale acquisition of Kubernetes management companies. Within the last six months, VMware, Cisco, Pure Storage, SUSE and Mirantis have all announced the acquisition of players in this space, although most of these deals have not yet closed. Now Veeam has joined the party with the announcement of the acquisition of Kasten for $150 million in cash and equity.
“This is a commitment to our vision of cloud data management,” said Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam. “The first wave was modernizing the data centre. We see the next wave as cloud and Kubernetes, with cloud IaaS being more of a consumption model. That transition from physical to virtual to Kubernetes is key in our transition from moving from being a billion dollar company to being a two billion dollar company.”
The acquisition builds on a strategic partnership that Veeam and Kasten entered into in May 2020.
“This was a three-pronged partnership,” Allan said. “On the sales side, we would introduce our customers who had an interest in Kubernetes to them. In marketing, we have a joint white paper we both created and presented at a number of forums. The third area, technology integration, has seen us working to integrate their technology with our core platform, through which the data is sent from the native experience for that world over to the Veeam repository.”
From a technology standpoint, Allan said that the fundamental direction will continue to be the same after acquisition.
“The acquisition will just accelerate the investment and delivery,” he noted.
The two companies have been very familiar with each other.
“We knew them because they were clearly the industry leader in Kubernetes-based backup,” Allan said. “After we partnered with them in May and began doing joint work together, it became evident that this was a logical next step. Customers and analysts reacted very positively, and we both saw the market opportunity in front of us.
Allan said that the market recognizes Kasten’s facility in the backup and disaster recovery areas.
“They have been widely known for three things: backup; data mobility, to migrate from one version of OpenShift to another or to move from GKE to EKS; and disaster recovery. Those were the three primary use cases.”
Allan also noted that Kasten’s technology has a unique differentiation in the market.
“The other vendors looked at Kubernetes from a storage-centric approach, but Kasten uniquely looked at it from an application perspective, and their application itself is a Kubernetes application,” he said. “It was built for the DevOps persona That application-centric approach for DevOps and Kubernetes native organizations makes them unique in this industry.”
Kasten’s customer base is focused on the enterprise – since that customer segment has been to most responsive to Kubernetes. They go to market, like Veeam, with a 100% channel strategy. Before the acquisition, Kasten was working to build and scale their channel partners in North America. They will now look to take advantage of Veeam’s global sales channel, opening up Kasten K10 to a significantly larger number of partners.
“There are so many alignments with Veeam on the Go-to-Market side, including things like a 10-pod seeding strategy,” Allan noted.
There’s a reason larger tech companies are acquiring Kubernetes management specialists left and right. Allan said that the market has reached that stage of maturity where the technology’s business value has become accepted. He noted that in the IT industry, new concepts typically go through a three-stage process: a stage where a technology is interesting; a second stage where the technology and its benefits are widely acknowledged to be real; and a third stage where users need to be sure that all the controls – like backup – are in place.
“With Kubernetes, we are in that second stage, where it’s clearly not a flash in the plan,” Allan said. “The long-term trend leads into that third stage, where things like security, data protection, data mobility and compliance will become part of the foundation that organizations are building.”
Allan commented on what he sees as very strong parallels in innovation between Kubernetes and virtualization, which involves strong parallels to Veeam.
“This is very similar to Veeam in the early days,” he said. “Virtualization came out around 2000, and you had that stage of massive adoption around 2006. Backup and security were part of that third stage about 2010 and we timed that perfectly. We didn’t begin when virtualization was interesting, but at the beginning of the third stage.”
The Kasten K10 platform will be integrated into the Veeam Backup & Replication platform, but will also continue to be available independently. Kasten will operate as a separate Kubernetes Business Unit (BU) within Veeam. Kasten’s founders, Niraj Tolia and Vaibhav Kamra, will lead the business unit. Tolia will be its President and General Manager, and Kamra will be Chief Technology Officer, Kubernetes BU. All teams including sales, marketing, R&D, and customer service will stay intact.
“I see our keeping the standalone product as part of our long-term strategy,” Allan said. “Kubernetes enthusiasts will want something that is familiar for them. The Kasten platform will plug into our core platform. However, while some organizations want a single pane of glass for everything, that doesn’t always work for everything. What a DevOps administrator wants and what a virtual administrator will want are not the same thing.”
Kasten has been a strong supporter of the Kubernetes community, and Veeam will continue the contribution to Open Source and other community projects that Kasten has supported. These include the Kubernetes Storage Special Interest Group and the Data Protection Working Group in Kubernetes. Veeam will also continue to support Kanister, Kasten’s open source project that extends support for and execution of data management tasks in Kubernetes, and the development of kopia, a fast and secure open-source tool to manage backups.