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Veeam launches Data Platform, ransomware warranty

Veeam Data Platform features Backup & Replication v12 and other management capabilities. In addition, Object First released its appliance focused on storage for Veeam users.

Veeam Software unveiled a new data platform Tuesday that packages combinations of its existing data protection and management software and introduces a ransomware warranty for customers. At the core of the data platform is Veeam's latest version of its flagship backup and recovery software, also released Tuesday.

The continued prevalence of ransomware drove the release of the Veeam Data Platform because sufficient protection requires not just backup, but also management capabilities such as monitoring and orchestration, CTO Danny Allan said.

"We saw a greater and greater need with our customers where they wanted to set SLAs [service-level agreements] for recovery and have automated verified recovery," Allan said. "A lot of the features in the platform now enable that -- not only within a data center, but also to the cloud."

What's included in Data Platform and what's still to come

Users can choose from three versions of the Veeam Data Platform. The Foundation Edition offers Veeam Backup & Replication v12. The Advanced Edition combines Backup & Replication and the Veeam One monitoring and analytics tool, a package that used to be called the Veeam Availability Suite. The Premium Edition includes Backup & Replication, Veeam One and the Veeam Recovery Orchestrator that automates recovery, planning and testing. Premium users are also eligible for the ransomware warranty.

"[Veeam Recovery Orchestrator] allows you to set your RTOs and RPOs and then measure against them daily," Allan said. "That's the part that most customers ignore or don't do adequate testing on. And what happens is, as their application shifts over time, the RTO will take longer and longer to recover.

It's not just about availability -- it's about the data management.
Danny AllanCTO, Veeam Software

"This allows them to continuously monitor, validate and verify the recovery. More than that, it gives them the documentation -- so it gives them the attestation for the board or the executive team to say, 'Not only do we know that we can recover from ransomware, but here's the proof of it.'"

The platform marks a shift in naming from the "Availability" Suite of the previous package to the "Data" of the new one.

"It's not just about availability -- it's about the data management," Allan said.

Veeam Availability Suite users will automatically transition to the new platform.

A platform should not sit idly; rather, it necessitates further building on top of it, so Veeam will likely add components, said Christophe Bertrand, practice director at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.

"I expect to see more investment in areas like Kubernetes, even more in cloud, maybe more in intelligent data management as well, where the analytics piece and the data reuse becomes a primary focus," Bertrand said.

The only element that Veeam has not completely integrated into the management plane of the platform is its SaaS backup -- Microsoft 365 and Salesforce.

"The reason we haven't done that is, typically, the administrator of those is a different administrator," Allan said, though he expects Veeam to increase the level of SaaS integration.

Veeam is sold exclusively through channel partners and does not provide pricing details.

Screenshot of the Veeam Backup & Replication v12 UI.
Veeam Backup & Replication v12 enables users to send backups directly to object storage repositories, in the public cloud, on premises or through a service provider.

What Veeam's ransomware warranty includes, requires

The Veeam Ransomware Recovery Warranty, which complements the Veeam Data Platform, covers the cost of data recovery up to $5 million in the event of a ransomware attack.

For eligible users, the warranty includes a dedicated support account manager, quarterly health checks, and optional design and installation services. In addition, Veeam will deploy what it calls a ransomware "SWAT team" -- security support experts trained in ransomware recovery -- after an attack, according to the vendor.

Eligibility requirements include a minimum yearly spend of $200,000 with Veeam and a three-year commitment, plus the purchase of the Premium Edition of the Veeam Data Platform.

In addition, Veeam will verify and validate organizations' backup environments, according to Allan.

"Essentially, it's making sure people follow best practices," such as Veeam's take on the 3-2-1 rule of backup, he said.

AvePoint, Dell, Druva and Rubrik offer similar ransomware warranties. Analysts have cautioned customers to read the fine print to make sure they know what they need for eligibility and what the vendor covers in an attack.

Allan acknowledged that some people are skeptical of ransomware warranties.

"Here's what is extremely positive about warranties in general: It causes people to focus on how to get that warranty," Allan said. "The good thing about a warranty is it pushes the industry forward into doing what they should be doing for data resilience in the case of ransomware."

Bertrand said that although he is not a big believer in warranties, he likes that Veeam's version forces users to understand the health of their environment and have consistent recovery testing, especially as ransomware is hard to avoid these days.

"In this case, I like the way that it really fosters best practices," Bertrand said.

Veeam's focus now and potentially in the future

The ability to back up directly to object storage is among the more than 500 new features and enhancements of Veeam Backup & Replication v12. Users can send backups right to a Veeam object storage partner on premises or back up edge locations directly to cloud object storage.

The product update also includes the Veeam Universal Storage API 2.0 and the new Smart Object Storage API. Object First, Pure Storage and Scality are the inaugural launch partners that integrate with these new APIs.

"We do feel there's a better way to take advantage of object storage," Allan said. "No one of those [partners had] more integration than others, but all three of them had access to the API."

The Smart Object Storage API enables IT teams to improve storage data flow and consumption reporting, according to Scality. The vendor said it is also one of the first to support the new direct-to-object storage capabilities.

Bertrand said he'll look for Veeam to add more backup for SaaS platforms, although it can be difficult because each comes with its own APIs. He did not suggest specifics, but Google Workspace and Trello are among the other SaaS platforms that have third-party backup options.

"They will need to do more because of popular demand," Bertrand said. "Any SaaS platform that is mission critical and is widely deployed is a candidate."

Allan said Veeam continues to evaluate new SaaS services for data protection.

"We believe the biggest opportunity for us is Microsoft 365 and Salesforce in the short term, but you should not be surprised to see us in the future add additional SaaS services," Allan said.

Object First targets Veeam users, ransomware protection

Object First also made its hardware for Veeam backup storage generally available Tuesday. The vendor, founded by Veeam co-founders Andrei Baronov and Ratmir Timashev, launched the Ootbi, which stands for "out-of-the-box immutability."

The appliance provides an immutable primary object storage target for on-premises Veeam backups.

"One of the things we learned after launching our beta was, how can you remove steps for human mistakes?" Object First CEO David Bennett said. "And the big one was, let's make sure when we actually go to GA and we ship the product, immutability is switched on out of the box, so it doesn't require the human element."

Object First seeks to be ransomware-proof, said Anthony Cusimano, the vendor's director of technical marketing.

"You're going to have to give up control for security," Cusimano said. "With backups becoming one of the key targets of ransomware today, it was pivotal for us to make sure that there was no way that -- whether malicious or accidental -- [other people] could get any kind of access to the box."

It can be difficult to attain the sought-after high level of integration between backup and storage that Object First provides, said Johnny Yu, research manager at IDC.

"They're specifically riding Veeam's coattails, so to speak," Yu said. "If there's anyone's coattails to ride, that one's probably a safe bet."

Object First's target customer size is midmarket, but also includes the upper end of SMBs, Bennett said. The Ootbi comes in a 64 TB and 128 TB version; users can increase capacity with additional nodes. Pricing is $49,995 for the 128 TB unit.

"One of the key advantages of object storage compared to file and block is the ability to scale, " Yu said.

Object First has coded its back end to communicate explicitly with Veeam's Smart Object Storage API, Cusimano said. It could technically work with other backup software, but performance would be weaker.

Bennett said Object First does not currently have a plan to extend its technology to other backup software companies, seeking instead to focus on what he called the leader in its target customer size.

Yu said he thinks Object First will need to support other backup software at some point.

"They're purposefully narrowing their total addressable market right now, which is fine when you're starting up," Yu said. "But there's no reason later on down the line to ever just be committed to that one software vendor."

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