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Object First launches with appliance for Veeam backup storage

Veeam Software founders have launched a hardware appliance that targets Veeam backup storage and a specific type of user.

A new venture from Veeam's founders gives users a back-end hardware option that's specifically designed for Veeam backup storage.

Object First comes out of stealth and starts in beta Tuesday. The company, created by Veeam co-founders Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov, targets the midmarket with its object storage-based backup hardware.

Ratmir TimashevRatmir Timashev

Veeam partners with hardware suppliers for back-end storage.

"There are a lot of great hardware companies out there," said Object First CEO David Bennett. "But because they're not designed for one specific thing; they're designed for multiple vendors, products, multiple different use cases -- you give up something in that. You either give up usability, you give up security, you give up manageability and scalability."

David BennettDavid Bennett

Object First will likely compete with the two groups of purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) vendors, said Phil Goodwin, a research vice president at IDC.

IDC divides the PBBA market into a target appliance group that includes Dell EMC Data Domain and an integrated group including Veritas NetBackup that bundles hardware and software.

"This one kind of fits in between those two because it's not a truly integrated appliance, but it's dedicated to a single backup product," Goodwin said.

Being narrowly focused for Veeam, Object First must be able to solve any performance or simplicity issues with that product, according to Goodwin.

"Their success really depends on satisfying at least one of two things, which is either greater simplicity or greater performance, and of course, ideally both," he said.

Object First enters competitive market

Their success really depends on satisfying at least one of two things, which is either greater simplicity or greater performance, and of course, ideally both.
Phil GoodwinResearch vice president, IDC

Object First is in a difficult competitive environment and also trying to farm new ground with Veeam users who don't already have a PBBA, according to Goodwin.

"I have not heard users complain about the back-end storage for their Veeam systems," Goodwin said. "To a large degree, Object First is going to have to make the case for the problem that they're solving."

Object First claims that administrators can install its hardware in 15 minutes, without security expertise needed. It includes immutability, a feature that prevents users from changing data and thus serves as one mode of protection against ransomware. Ingest speeds are more than 6 GBps, which enables users to run failed workloads directly from backup within minutes, according to the vendor.

Object First, which can technically work with other backup software but is optimized for Veeam, offers a 128 TB box and a 90 TB version. Users can scale linearly -- up to half a petabyte -- so every time they add a box, it doubles the throughput speed, Bennett said.

The company worked closely with Veeam product management in developing the appliance, according to Timashev. Object First uses object storage APIs that Veeam developed for its partners. The hardware also uses the direct-to-object feature of the upcoming Veeam Backup & Replication v12, which transfers data to the appliance through the S3 protocol.

Object storage is appealing for backup because of cost, scalability and immutability, Timashev said.

Object First executives say they aren't worried about the size of the company's target customer base. About 50% of Veeam's revenue and most of its 450,000 customers fall into the midmarket category, which features an employee range of 500 to 10,000 employees, according to Timashev.

Veeam partners with object storage providers including Cloudian, MinIO and Scality, which focus on large enterprises, not the midmarket, Timashev said.

Object First, which is a separate company not affiliated with Veeam, plans to release pricing details in July. The company aims to have 20 to 30 beta customers, according to Bennett.

General availability, through channel partners, is expected in late 2022.

A 'First' for Veeam founders

Object First marks the first company launch for Timashev and Baronov following the sale of Veeam to Insight Partners in 2020, when the co-founders stepped down from their executive positions with the backup vendor. They both continue to serve as consultants to Veeam, and neither has an executive title at Object First.

Timashev and Baronov have a couple of other projects in the works, but Object First is the only one related to Veeam or data management. They incorporated Object First about two years ago and have invested $12.5 million in seed funding to start the company, which Timashev said will last through the end of 2023. Timashev noted that he and Baronov started Veeam with a $5 million investment.

Bennett, previously the CEO at Axcient and chief revenue officer at Webroot, joined Object First a couple of months ago. Object First has about 70 employees, including part-time staff.

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