Make no mistake about it: Hybrid cloud management is big business.
The biggest deal yet of the new year was announced on Jan. 9, with Insight Partners acquiring Veeam Software for approximately $5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.
Founded in 2006, Switzerland-based Veeam has established itself as a global leader in the cloud data management market. Veeam's products and services include backup and recovery as well as monitoring and analytics capabilities. The big push for Veeam in 2020, however, is something the company refers to as "Act II," which involves an evolution to become a major player in the hybrid cloud management market.
While the acquisition by Insight Partners is a milestone event, it doesn't necessarily represent a major shift. Danny Allan, CTO of Veeam, told ITPro Today that Insight has been a trusted partner of Veeam's co-founders since 2001, and specifically with Veeam since 2013 when Insight made its first minority stake investment and Insight Managing Partner Mike joined the board of directors.
"Insight is known for taking high-growth international companies and moving them to the U.S., where they can add invaluable resources, support and expertise," Allan said. "Insight is the right partner for Veeam to achieve this new level of growth potential for Act II of the company."
Veeam's Second Act
The theme of Veeam's Act II is data management for both cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Cloud-native environments require cloud-native protection abilities that take advantage of unique capabilities for this environment, according to Allan. This would include things such as security controls, API snapshots, cost forecasting, elastic management components that are only provisioned for their time in use, and cloud storage.
Hybrid environments require not only the cloud-based capabilities but also the ability to integrate this with the on-premises environment with a single management console for the data protection and management, Allan said.
"Two of the fundamental challenges of hybrid cloud are the consolidated management view and the cost optimization," he said.
In Allan's view, Veeam helps with both of those challenges by using a common data format and management model that enables the bidirectional backup and recovery of data. He added that Veeam also optimizes for the hybrid cloud environment by both forecasting the cost of data protection and being extremely efficient at understanding the best possible model for data movement – both for backup and for recovery.
"We also provide the needed visibility to help the organizations make the best possible decisions," Allan said.
Partners Expect Few Changes
As part of the acquisition, Bill Largent, who had been executive vice president of operations at Veeam, will become the company's new CEO. Timko noted that Largent has been a senior executive with Veeam for 12 years, and overall there is great continuity in management. In his view, Insight is highly interested in Veeam's cloud data management capabilities and clearly believes it can grow in this market to extend its competitive advantage.
"Over time, I expect that Insight's vast financial resources and market expertise will help Veeam continue to grow rapidly and enter new markets," Timko said.
Shifts in the Cloud Management Market
The acquisition also reflects on what's going on in the broader hybrid cloud management market. Karyn Price, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said the cloud market is rapidly shifting to focus less on infrastructure and more on data.
"Underlying infrastructure and services are less important to businesses; rather, they want to know that their data is safe and accessible – whether by people or applications – when it’s needed," Price said. "But businesses struggle with various aspects of data management."
In the 2019 Frost & Sullivan Cloud User Survey, 75% percent of businesses stated that data migration was a key challenge in adopting their cloud strategy. Similarly, Price noted that 74% felt they would not be able to meet compliance requirements for data, and the same 74% said that they had experienced a security incident that led them to consider repatriating workloads back to a private data center. Fifty-six percent still struggle with the sheer growth of data storage.
"As a result, we are seeing some convergence within several markets," Price said. "Backup and recovery firms are expanding into security, migration experts are helping customers with compliance, storage experts are expanding into migration and disaster recovery -- and these are just a few examples."
Price noted that as markets converge, providers that specialize in one aspect of data management are often looking to expand their capabilities to be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive data management experience. She added that Veeam is already a clear leader in the data backup and recovery space, with a platform that provides the basis for numerous other managed service providers’ disaster recovery services.
The company has also been a strong innovator, expanding its portfolio to include technologies such as analytics and machine learning to better protect customer data.
"With this acquisition, the company puts itself in a strong position to increase innovation and service development to lead in other aspects of data management," she said.