Virtualization - the cloud is just the beginning

Veeam CEO Ratmir Tamishev tell the 'Post' in Las Vegas how he’s transforming the landscape.

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November 1, 2015 01:00
Ratmir Timashev

Ratmir Timashev. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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LAS VEGAS – Imagine your company’s main computers and servers in the basement of your building get flooded, destroying the physical basis of all of its information. Complete disaster.

Except that in recent years, new technologies in the field of virtualization have developed not only to save all of your data somewhere in virtual- space, but also to cut down the retrieval time for that data from days to as little as a stunning 15 minutes.

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If the brave new world of virtualizing data could be mapped out as an orchestra, Ratmir Timashev, who spoke to The Jerusalem Post last Wednesday, would be one of its top maestros.

The CEO and founder of Veeam, one of the constantly growing leaders in backing up data by optimizing the cloud to store data and to recover disasters, has that intangible quality about him that trailblazers carry.

Timashev talks about “the high level picture” with a determination and commitment to rise above the competition in providing “constant availability” of data. He says with an unmistakably serious face, “If you are not innovating, you will die.”

That is right, not “lose,” but “die.”

Veeam (pronounced “veeem”) held its flagship conference in Las Vegas from October 25-29 to unveil its new Availability Suite Version 9, before some 1,800 attendees and more than 100 members of the media, mostly from North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The company pulled out a diverse lineup of its top software and sales talent.



But Timashev, who likes competitive sports like tennis and basketball, was always close by. He popped on stage for a “surprise” appearance in an opening general session, and came back later to clarify an esoteric point about Veeam’s different uses for Linux (one of the major platforms for the cloud) after another Veeam presenter had tried, but not quite with Timashev’s level of nuance.

The cloud is a subcategory of virtualization relating to general-purpose storing of data without the data being tied down to your company’s specific computer or server.

Virtualization is a wider category encompassing regular periodic backups of that data and disaster recovery from information damage or meltdowns.

It is software emulating what hardware does.

This brings us to the question of what makes Veeam’s services special compared to competitors.

By 2006, a large percentage of US companies and companies in other developed countries were switching over to storing their data virtually in swarms. But much of the virtualization-provider world involved companies with one great trick to address one problem with storing data.

Veeam has made it into an art to provide an encyclopedia of applications to address every virtualization need on an ongoing basis, sometimes even anticipating issues that their customers are having even before the customers themselves have diagnosed their inefficiencies.

The number of applications they have put out, with their flagship Availability Suite already in version 9, is dizzying for the non-initiated to follow. But for information- management employees, the bread and butter of Veeam’s customers, the list is a menu of exciting toys and options that are user-friendly and embarrass the solutions of the past with their speed and efficiency.

As Timashev said, “other solutions do not take on the full spectrum” of issues that Veeam addresses.

How did Timashev arrive at this point? He started off attending the Moscow Institute of Science and Technology to become a scientist, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, the landscape changed, leading him to want to benefit from absorbing more of what was going on in the West.

His ticket to the US was as a grad student in chemical physics at Ohio State University.

While he eventually left chemical physics behind, he stayed in the US and moved on to found Aelita Software, which he eventually sold to Quest Software for $115 million.

In 2006, Timashev then invested $6 million of his own money and founded Veeam.

With an 86% yearly growth in revenue from the Availability Suite product and $389 million in revenue in 2014, Timashev believes Veeam will be a $1 billion revenue business by 2018.

Why has Timashev been so successful? Some of it was more fully grasping than others the extent that human nature itself and expectations in the workplace have transformed with the use of smartphones and the “always on” and “always available” and working culture that has taken over the business world.

If virtualization is not just part of a company’s storage plan, but reinvents the way that the company operates, then the need and demand for Veeam’s encyclopedia of applications could be almost limitless.

This also leads into Timashev’s expression that 2015 Quarter 3 is “the most important quarter in the history of Veeam, because every quarter is the most important.”

While others may say statements like this, Timashev conveys that he really believes it and brings that level of intensity to his business.

Another change which Timashev seized by the horns is the seemingly contradictory changes of companies wanting to both cut their expenses invested in information technology, while also getting much faster in the movement and retrieval of data.

But those two trends are only a contradiction for companies stuck in the physical “legacy” storage systems era.

Legacy storage systems were based off of “tape libraries” with a major physical presence and component to the storage, even if the physical footprint was small relative to the amount of data being stored.

As long as companies were only selectively using virtualization for some storage tasks and had not more fully switched over enough of their basic services, companies could not easily cut staff and IT expense, while getting more efficient in moving and retrieving data.

But once the physical footprint is basically eliminated and the fuller turnover to virtualizing moving and retrieving data is made, IT staff and infrastructure can be substantially cut and speed and storage capacity can be enhanced simultaneously.

This combination has blown many legacy storage service competitors out of the water and brought about a conversion to the Veeam way of doing things at an astonishing rate.

Next, with the full switchover to virtualization, Timashev has disrupted existing markets with Veeam by including capabilities in their software more cheaply that less advanced virtual providers were selling as expensive, separate components.

This confirms the catchphrase by Timashev and others that virtualization is now the new standard for the enterprise datacenter – it’s the norm rather than the niche.

If you have a flood, storm, or earthquake hit your computer center, you’ll want Timashev on your side.

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