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Kasten, Veeam team up on Kubernetes backup

Veeam and Kasten, two leaders in their respective markets, are collaborating on backup for Kubernetes, which one analyst called the 'de facto standard' in container management.

Veeam is making a major move in the emerging container data protection market through a partnership with Kubernetes backup provider Kasten.

The partnership includes technology, sales and marketing.

Kasten's K10 is a data management and backup platform purpose-built for Kubernetes. Veeam has been pledging to add more container protection in the last couple of years.

"Kasten stands alone in that they were really truly built ground up for container environments," Veeam CTO Danny Allan said. That's similar to how Veeam was originally built for virtual environments, said Allan, who is also senior vice president of product strategy. Veeam has since expanded to physical and cloud protection.

Gaurav Rishi, head of product at Kasten, said customers have told his company, "You're the Veeam for Kubernetes."

The collaboration brings together data protection for traditional and container applications, said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC.

"This partnership starts to recognize that reality that organizations are typically going to have both," Goodwin said.

IDC research shows that 70% of organizations have container application development underway. When those applications move into production, that's when it becomes clear that data protection is needed, Goodwin said.

Taking time to 'do the right thing' for Kubernetes backup

Both Kasten and Veeam are Insight Partners portfolio companies, which helped evolve their relationship, Allan said. The private equity and venture capital firm acquired Veeam at a $5 billion valuation earlier this year. Insight invested in the two software companies -- most recently a massive $500 million in Veeam and leading a $14 million Series A round in Kasten, both in 2019.

Headshot of Veeam CTO Danny AllanDanny Allan

As far as new Kubernetes backup technology is concerned, both companies are in the investigatory phase.

"While it is hard to discuss concrete customers as we are generally under NDA, the work entails presenting a comprehensive solution for enterprise backup needs that spans the range from cloud to on-premises virtualized and Kubernetes workloads," Kasten CEO Niraj Tolia said. "Everything is still under consideration for development. Part of that is working with customers and partners to hear their pain points and then taking it from there."

Allan didn't want to speculate on a potential product, but said Veeam is also reaching out to customers.

"We should respond to the needs in the market," Allan said.

Veeam has customers who protect containers through its Availability Suite. That support protects four components of containerized workloads -- configurations, templates, data lakes and logs, Allan said.

Goodwin said he would like to see the Kubernetes backup integration at the catalog and UI level.

The company had bet on Kubernetes and the dividends are coming up now.
Gaurav RishiHead of product, Kasten

"That's what it really takes to make it convenient for an organization," Goodwin said.

The current Veeam protection is geared toward the IT administrator. Native Kubernetes backup would take it up a notch and help DevOps users.

"We know customers want native solutions to the environments they work in," Allan said.

So far the partnership has produced a white paper on Kubernetes backup best practices, but the technology side will take some time.

"It's more important to do the right thing than check a box," Allan said.

What's needed in container data protection

Backup for container storage has become a trend in data protection. Other Kubernetes backup providers include Portworx and newer player Trilio. Goodwin said he considers Kasten and Portworx leaders in the marketplace.

Kubernetes, an open source system used to manage containers across private, public and hybrid cloud environments, has become the "de facto standard" for container management, Goodwin said. It can be used to manage microservice architectures and is deployable on most cloud providers.

One of the challenges in container data protection versus traditional infrastructure is the different backup architecture. Backup products are fundamentally time-based applications, Goodwin said, such as every five minutes or every 24 hours.

When you get into the container world, "you need to operate on an event basis," he said. Users would restore to a "specific state" rather than a point in time.

Headshot of Kasten CEO Niraj ToliaNiraj Tolia

The container data protection market is in the early stages. Importantly, it's in the education phase, Goodwin said. Much like SaaS platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Salesforce need data backup, containerized applications demand proper protection -- it's not built in.

"I do believe containers will be the architecture for the future" -- an application-oriented one, Goodwin said.

Kasten's Rishi said he's happy with the way the market is shaping up.

"The company had bet on Kubernetes and the dividends are coming up now," Rishi said.

Tolia said the integration needs to channel the right set of customers.

"I think there's a lot of pent-up demand and we just have to go and execute on that," Tolia said.

Container infrastructure tends to favor the enterprise, Veeam's Allan said.

"It's a small segment, but it's a strategically important and fast-growing market for the infrastructure world at large," Allan said.

At the VeeamON virtual conference June 17-18, Veeam is planning a breakout session on Kasten technology and containerized data protection.

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