Veeam founders launch Object First to provide Veeam-centric storage appliance

David Bennett comes over from Axcient, where he had been CEO, to take the same role at Object First.

David Bennett, CEO, Storage First

Today, Object First, an object storage-based backup storage appliance purpose-built for Veeam, is having its initial launch. The company was the brainchild of Veeam founders Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov, although the CEO of the company is David Bennett, who was most recently CEO of Axcient, and Webroot before that. The product itself is an appliance, hardened security with features and security specifically tailored for Veeam’s requirements.

“Engineering efforts have been happening for 2-3 years  now,” said Tony Liau, Vice President, Product Marketing at Object First.

The company expects competitors to point out the obvious – “it’s a box” – but Liau said that it’s a box that is completely specific to Veeam. He said that the problem of boxes being designed to optimize one thing is kind of irrelevant when its function is to optimize Veeam, and to provide them with storage that delivers ransomware-proof backups.

“Because it’s purpose built for Veeam itself, it’s so easy to get it up and running and it scales in minutes, with no configuration necessary to scale on the Veeam side,” Liau said.

Liau also noted that while object storage has not been a success in the past, times have changed.

“Object storage then was a little early for its time – where now it is used more broadly for things like cloud, Kubernetes and containers,” he said. “There were issues in using object for backup use cases, and there weren’t solutions in the market then that were optimized for it. Legacy vendors bolted it on and ran into scalability issues. Cloud native vendors have High Availability object storage but aren’t much use on prem. So while object still has great potential for backup it hasn’t been there yet until we entered the market.”

That also accounts for the name.

“We wanted people to think about object storage first when thinking about Veeam, so that it became a first class citizen,” Liau said.

While Object First is clearly joined tightly at the hip to Veeam, at this stage at least, there is no formal partnership between the two companies.

“We are operating as a completely separate company, but we will be part of their technology program,” Liau indicated. “We would like to pursue joint Go-to-Market initiatives as strongly as possible.”

Bringing in the experienced Bennett as CEO has nothing to do with any desire to put a non-Russian face front and centre at a time when Russians aren’t particularly popular in North America.

“There was zero rationale to bring me in because of the Russian angle,” Bennett told ChannelBuzz. “Ratmir has been a U.S. citizen longer than I have. The real reason they wanted an external CEO is that both of the founders have other interests. They are great founders. Andrei is the most forward thinking guy I know, but he doesn’t want to be front and centre in a company. Ratmir has a lot of things he wants to do now in his private life. So they brought me in.”

Veeam has a huge channel, and while Object First will not be working with anywhere near all of it, they envision having a larger channel than most startups.

“We will have a 100% channel model, and will have 24/7 support for partners for Day 1,” Bennett said.  “We think the Veeam channel is underserved for good backup storage products. Once we get the word out, and our beta program will be important here, we believe it will be rapidly adopted.”

Bennett said that their target market is companies with resource constrained IT

“20-50 TB of data is squarely in our range,” he noted. “We don’t serve large enterprises. Veeam partners do that well. There is an underserved market though in mid-sized businesses.”

The beta, which is being conducted with key Veeam partners, is underway now and will continue until GA, likely in Q4.