INTERVIEWS

‘Protecting cloud workloads is different than protecting physical assets’

UPDATED: Ensuring the availability of IT infrastructure is a lot different in a virtual world. It is now about virtual machines (VMs) and virtual servers. These VMs are highly crucial to the business and even the slightest downtime can severely impact business operations.

In a candid chat with Digital Creed, Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President and Managing Director, India & SAARC, Veeam explains why there is such a strong demand for availability services and why his business is growing so fast in India. He talks about Veeam’s plans for the development of the channel, as well.  

DC: Where does India stand in your plans for the Asia Pacific region? What kind of investments is Veeam making here?

Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President and Managing Director, India & SAARC, Veeam
Sandeep Bhambure, Vice President and Managing Director, India & SAARC, Veeam

Sandeep Bhambure: In the APAJ region, India is one of the key growth engines for Veeam. I can see a lot of investment coming into the country. We are very serious about the business and the growth potential that India and SAARC offer. We’ve been ramping up our operations quickly. Looking at the potential and online ecosystem that we have worldwide, the top priority for us would be to have the right people on board. We started by building the team. And some very good people joined us from the industry.

We decided on certain verticals and focus areas for our business. We have come a long way in terms of the SMB and commercial business. The momentum is phenomenal worldwide and in India; we have 800 plus customers here. In the last two quarters we ramped up to the extent of adding more than 50 net new customers every quarter.

Now with the team coming on board I’m looking at growing the customer acquisition by almost 100 percent.

Come 2019, you know the kind of momentum and traction we are able to build in the marketplace, in the SMB as well as commercial — and working with the ecosystem of alliances like Cisco, HP, Nutanix, NetApp. The momentum is building very rapidly.

Every enterprise or large commercial customer I am talking to, they have 50 – 100 virtual machines. They have a multi-cloud strategy in place. And they face a challenge of protecting their environments. They have not been able to meet their SLAs on the availability front.

DC: What is driving demand for your services in India?

Sandeep Bhambure: SMB and enterprise customers are not talking in terms of physical anymore. They are talking about the virtual environment or having a cloud strategy in place.

And when these discussions come up, the transformation that’s associated with the data centre, some of the components like HCI (hyper converged infrastructure), multi-cloud strategy, or even having a completely different …  of storage. These are the building blocks of the modern data centre, when it comes to the enterprise or even smaller SMBs or the commercial account.

When they are going through the transformation you cannot really achieve it unless and until you are able to transform the protection environment. I am talking about availability of the environment. When you are having all these building blocks, which are new age, they did not exist earlier when companies adopted an availability strategy on legacy software.

So (it’s now about) protecting a VM (virtual machine). Protecting cloud workloads is different than protecting physical assets. That has created a huge demand for adoption of these technologies. Customers feel the need to protect these workloads in a different manner.

Every enterprise or large commercial customer I am talking to, they have 50 – 100 virtual machines. They have a multi-cloud strategy in place. And they face a challenge of protecting their environments. They have not been able to meet their SLAs on the availability front.

If a VM goes down, it would take a few hours or days to recover it, and no business can afford that kind of downtime. That’s where they see the need for Veeam. We can recover the VM in less than 15 – 20 minutes.

DC: Who are your direct competitors? How are you different?

Sandeep Bhambure:  The challengers for us are the competitors who have been operating from the physical era, whereas Veeam is a born in the cloud company.  It is always a cloud first strategy for Veeam unlike some of the other players who are there in the market. And we are hardware agnostic and do not have a hardware agenda. That’s the key differentiator for us. We can build the availability infrastructure for the customer on commodity hardware. If the customer chooses to work with our alliance partners like Cisco, HP, Nutanix, NetApp — we could work with them as well.

DC: You are seeing a lot of traction in SMB and commercial. How do you cater to these segments?

Sandeep Bhambure: When we talk of SMB I am looking at companies with 250+ employees. These businesses have good enough infrastructure on-prem, in-house. They could also be adopting cloud to a certain extent. The entry point for using Veeam is very low. We have a solution called Veeam Backup Essentials. The entry point for this product is low.

Customers can protect their virtual environments at a cost ranging from sub $1,000 and they can scale their environment from there.

Many of these commercial and SMB customers are adopting cloud in the form of SaaS applications like Office 365. If a customer needs to retain mail information for seven years, that may not be offered by the O365 service or SLA from Microsoft. We give them the availability to protect all their information on-prem.

Even smaller businesses that are going on cloud. We can even put this Office 365 information on some other cloud, like AWS or Azure.

If a VM goes down, it would take a few hours or days to recover it, and no business can afford that kind of downtime. That’s where they see the need for Veeam. We can recover the VM in less than 15 – 20 minutes.

DC: Are you also seeing interest from born in the cloud companies and FinTechs?

Sandeep Bhambure: Most of these companies are engaging very closely with cloud service providers (CSPs). And we engage very closely with the CSPs, so we service the born in the cloud companies through the CSPs.

DC: You are a 100% channel business. How do you work with channel partners? Please explain you go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

Sandeep Bhambure: There are two parts to our GTM — one is the alliances, which is the global partner ecosystem. The second is the channel strategy.

Veeam has a pro-partner program wherein we identify the top channel partners for our biggest alliances. The GTM works best when a channel partner with any of the alliance positions Veeam capabilities for their Availability requirements.

So we looked at the partner ecosystem and classified them as Platinum, Gold, and Silver partners based on revenues, certifications and capabilities. We have tiered the partners and built a partner ecosystem comprising almost 250 channel partners in the country. So we can draw synergies with the partner ecosystems of our alliances and ours.

There are also some stand-alone partners who are more focussed on availability solutions. We engage with them as well. These are usually the legacy players. They are being trained on Veeam availability, to take the solutions to the market.

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Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira is an Indian journalist based in Mumbai. He has 25 years of technology journalism experience, and he's well known in the Indian IT industry. He is the former Editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines in India and has written technology articles for India's leading newspapers groups such as The Times of India and Indian Express Newspapers. Brian also writes on Aviation, startups and covers topics directed at small and medium businesses. He also has event experience and once put together the conference program for CeBIT and INTEROP events in India. Email: brian9p@gmail.com Twitter: @brian9p Linkedin: https://in.linkedin.com/in/pereirabrian

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