Recently I was able to sit down with Veeam CEO and co-founder Ratmir Timashev. I was impressed with the ease of which he answered the questions I asked him and he seemed to really be at the helm of this company which is something I don’t think you always get with CEOs. He’s not the corporate suit type, he came across as knowing his customer base and understanding where Veeam is going and where he wants Veeam to be. I think you’ll enjoy the look at Veeam from their CEO’s perspective.
Greg Stuart: This is Greg Stuart with vDestination and today we are in the Virtual Boardroom with Veeam Software CEO and President Ratmir Timashev. Ratmir, first let me thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with me today. I’m sure you are very busy, so thanks for sparing some time for me. It’s nice to finally put a face with a name, a pleasure to finally meet you.
Ratmir Timashev: Absolutely Greg, it’s my pleasure, thanks for having me.
GS: Tell me a little about yourself, how did you become the President and CEO of Veeam?
RT: I’m one of the founders, my partner and I started Veeam in 2006. We saw this big need and big trend in virtualization and realized that its a great opportunity to build a software company around virtualization, management and back up of virtualization infrastructure, so in 2006 we started Veeam. Before that we had a very successful company also in the systems management area called Aelita software and which we started 1997 with the goal to build management tools around the new Windows NT platform. If you remember Windows NT was released around ’95-’96, and we saw some interesting opportunity around building tools for Windows NT administrators and then it became Windows 2000 and Active Directory and Exchange Server and so on and so forth. In that company we built a lot of tools around Windows management. We sold Aelita in 2004 to Quest Software and right now for Quest its a big part of their business. I worked for quest as a general manager for the Windows business unit for one year and then left quest in 2005 and as I mentioned we started Veeam in 2006 and that is the history of Veeam. My point is that we did have a successful systems management company before and a lot of our current management comes from Aelita so we’ve worked together for many years with my senior management team. This team now is the foundation for Veeam. I am the CEO, my partner is more on the technology side and I am more on the sales/marketing side. We have a management team made up of staff from Aelita, so it’s a good team and we’ve known each other for 10 years.
GS: That’s great, it sounds like you have a really strong management team which is always a plus when trying to establish a solid foundation within your company. Tell me about what’s new at Veeam. I know you had a great VMworld and a great presence at VMworld Europe as well. Tell me what is going on at Veeam that we should know about?
RT: The most exciting thing is that we’ve released the newest version of our backup product Veeam Backup and Replication version 6, to which we have added the support for Hyper-V. We believe Hyper-V is becoming a viable virtualization platform and the market share will be as big as VMware’s within the next few years. We are very excited to add the backup functionality to the Hyper-V platform. We believe that we may become the reason to go with Hyper-V because right now we don’t see any good back up tools for Hyper-V and we know our product will be the best product on the marketplace for backup, much in the same way it is the best product for VMware.
GS: Yeah, so it’s interesting what you brought up about Hyper-V, it does seem to be a fairly untapped market as far as third-party tools go. You really see Hyper-V being a viable option for virtualization projects in the near future?
RT: Absolutely, especially with Hyper-V version 3 which will be included in Windows Server 8 which Microsoft is planning to release in the next 12 months. We believe Microsoft is doing a great job with Hyper-V 3 in adding a lot of features and functionality that will bring the platform up to the same level as VMware. With the next version it will become a really great platform. The one thing that is missing is a good backup tool, it doesn’t exist on the market today and we feel we’ll capture a significant market share for backup tools with Hyper-V.
GS: It will be interesting to see what other companies bring to the market with third-party tools for Hyper-V.
RT: We have a great relationship with Microsoft because of our management pack, the connector that we have between Microsoft System Center and VMware. It’s the leading management pack that allows you to integrate the two seamlessly.
GS: Very good. What is on the horizon for Veeam, we talked a little bit about what was new at Veeam and exciting, but what is coming next? Are there any trends you see coming that might light up the virtualization market?
RT: In general we believe that there are still a lot of innovative things that can be done in virtualization backup and believe that this market will grow exponentially in the next few years. We still have a lot of features to add, we have some brilliant ideas that we are working on that we will be adding in the coming years.
GS: Great, we’ll be looking forward to what Veeam will bring us in the near future. Last question, what sets Veeam apart from all of the other backup and replication companies out there battling for market share? How does Veeam stand out?
RT: The key thing is that we build our product from ground up with virtualization in mind. The other vendors such as Symantec and Commvault, they have a legacy approach and have a large install base so they have carry this baggage and think about the physical installation. They really can’t change their legacy approaches to backup very quickly. We built our product from ground up specifically for virtualization. It’s a simple product and it works. We have features that our competitors don’t have most of them around vPower technology such as instant VM recovery, assured backup verification, automated recovery testing as well as application level recovery. We do have a lot of features that separate us from our competitors but the key feature is that it’s simple, it works and it was built from the ground up for virtualization.
GS: That’s great. I think it’s always important to ensure that your product is user-friendly and not too complicated. There are a lot of SMBs out there or start-ups that just don’t have the knowledge to figure out a highly technical and difficult piece of software.
RT: Yes, we have a lot of SMB customers. 70% of our revenue comes from SMB customers and probably 95% of our customers are SMBs, so for them simple to use and works out of the box, installed in 5 to 10 minutes you are up and running and doing your backups. This is the key differentiator, it’s simple and it works.
GS: That’s a very attractive plus for Veeam. Users love plug and play out of the box ready software and it sounds like that’s what you have. Thank you so much for your time, I’m sure my readers will appreciate an inside look at what Veeam has on the horizon and your approach to backup virtualization.
RT: Thanks for having me Greg.