Veeam Develops Backup Plan for VMware Alternatives

As customers consider hypervisor options, Veeam expands its data protection support outside of VMware.

3 Min Read
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This article originally appeared on Channel Futures.

Channel partners aren't the only people dealing with fallout from Broadcom's acquisition of VMware. Even close VMware vendor partners are preparing for customers looking to defect or add second hypervisors as insurance.

Long-time VMware server partner HPE last month unveiled a virtualization platform that it bills as "complementary" to VMware but is widely seen as an alternative. Data protection vendor Veeam, which built its business around backing up VMware virtual machines, is expanding its hypervisor support. As is the case with channel partners, the vendors are hearing from worried VMware customers.

"This is almost like discussing ransomware or cyber threats. There's no organization on the planet that isn't considering how they should respond. What do they do?" said Dave Russell, Veeam SVP and head of strategy. "That's true even if you're a large organization that made a multiyear renewal with either VMware directly before the acquisition closed, or now after Broadcom closed the deal. Our activity has really been around offering choice, reminding people we are the most deployed protection solution on vSphere. We have the majority of backed up data from vSphere under Veeam management."

Related:Guide to Migrating From VMware: Why and How to Move to an Alternative Platform

Veeam began in 2006 specifically to improve backup of virtual machines. It claims more than 550,000 customers, with the help of strong technical and commercial relationships with VMware. Now Veeam emphasizes its ability to protect other hypervisors besides vSphere. Veeam this year added Oracle Linux KVM and Proxmox Virtual Environment (in beta) to its previous support of Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV and Red Hat Virtualization.

"As we look specifically at hypervisors, we're having customers and prospective customers come to us, asking us, 'What else do you support? What can you do for me?'" Russell said. "So that's been one of the reasons for adding additional hypervisor support. We want to signal to the market if one of the other hypervisors becomes important to you, we're committed to supporting that. Here's what we've already done this year, and we're going to see if there's expanded demand around other hypervisors."

Microsoft Hyper-V and Nutanix AHV are considered the top hypervisor alternatives, and Russell said Veeam is "making sure we're in lockstep with their road map plans."

Analyst Krista Macomber, Futurum Group's research director for cybersecurity, said while Veeam is closely tied to VMware, it has been expanding for years. Veeam acquired container backup startup Kasten in 2020 and has added cloud backup applications.

Related:How to Leverage Your VMware Migration to Redesign Your Infrastructure Architecture

"VMware has such large market share, it's something that companies across the entire spectrum have to deal with — especially a company like Veeam that started by protecting virtual machines," Macomber said. "Over the last several years, Veeam has broadened the range of supported workloads — Kasten for containers, and SaaS applications like Microsoft 365 — so they already had the ability to extend support outside of VMware. That benefits Veeam today."

Russell said Veeam has customers that are using or exploring a dual hypervisor strategy while keeping their options open to migrate off vSphere. But vSphere remains in their plans today.

"Only a minority of customers say they've already decided what they're going to do,'" Russell said. "Some of them will stay exactly where they are, meaning vSphere, and some of them say they're going to start to deploy a certain amount of other hypervisors, meaning, maybe not get entirely off of vSphere."

Broadcom has made licensing and packaging changes to VMware that have upset customers, and VMware revenue fell in its first full quarter as part of Broadcom. Still, many large VMware customers have signed multiyear contract renewals. Macomber said while it helps data protection and security vendors to support other hypervisors, she expects enterprises to stick with VMware even if they add a second option.

Related:Guide to Migrating From VMware to Hyper-V

"We don't expect a mass exodus off of VMware," Macomber said. "It's not feasible for most, if any, enterprises. If there are opportunities for migration off VMware to another hypervisor, a customer might take advantage of that. They may consider deploying an alternative hypervisor for new workloads."

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About the Author(s)

Dave Raffo

Senior Analyst, Evaluator Group

Dave Raffo is senior analyst for Evaluator Group, covering integrated systems, software-defined storage, container storage and public cloud storage. 

Before joining the Evaluator Group, Dave spent 25 years as a technology journalist and covered enterprise storage for more than 15 years. He most recently worked for 13 years at TechTarget as Editorial Director and Executive News Editor for storage, data protection and converged infrastructure. In 2020, Dave won an American Society of Business Professional Editors (ASBPE) national award for column writing. His previous jobs covering technology include news editor at Byte and Switch, managing editor of EdTech Magazine, and features and new products editor at Windows Magazine. Before turning to technology, he was an editor and sports reporter for United Press International in New York for 12 years.

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