The modern enterprise no longer has a monolithic application and infrastructure stack housed purely within its own data centre. Australia has embraced virtualisation at some of the highest levels in the world and we are bounding forward in adopting cloud services as well. This is completely changing the way we protect our data and ensure high levels of availability. At the recent VeeamON Forum, held in Sydney, I spoke with Veeam's Co-CEO Peter McKay about what the company is doing around those challenges and how he is travelling after a year of sharing the CEO job.
As systems have fragmented through the use of PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, on-prem and managed service providers, the way we back data up has also fragmented. And while you might have a comprehensive backup plan, the real proof of the pudding comes when you need to recover - not just a file or two, or a single application but when you need to bring back a number of systems. That fragemented approach can lead to very complex recovery procedures.
"Companies have had a backup strategy for five or ten years ago, but it hasn't evolved with the technology underneath," said McKay. "The infrastructure has gotten far more complex. You have this inflexible solutions of the past".
McKay says companies are looking for the "single pane of glass" that brings together all their different data and applications repositories regardless of where they are. And this is where McKay sees much of Veeam's advantage. Having been born in the era of virtualisation, they are unencumbered by legacy approaches to backup and recovery.
Interestingly, the company, while still making a strong running in the backup of virtual environments, now also supports physical ones as well as moving into the cloud through their new Office 365 and other products.
With the threat landscape evolving, another challenge is the need to physically isolate backups so they aren't attacked. New ransomware variants actively seek out backup and attempt to corrupt them in order to increase the chance of payment from victims. That's led Veeam towards archiving solutions that offer a tape-like experience using service providers so data restoration is faster.
"The ability to access things no matter where they are, to backup and recover from any environment whether it's cloud, on-premise, or a managed service provider is critical".
McKay took over the co-CEO's role from one of Veeam's co-founders, Ratmir Timashev who is still working at the company on broader strategic initiatives. Veeam's other founder, Andrei Baronov, is the comany's other co-CEO.
As an experienced technology executive, McKay said "As you get older, the actual titles don't matter as much to me. Andrei is the technology guru - he is the genius behind the technology roadmap and where we're going. Andrei runs the R&D and support organisation. I look after all the rest".
A big part of the success of the shared role, says McKay, is that no one has a big ego. The company's recruitment mantra, "hungry, humble and smart", applies to him in the same way as it applies to every other employee.
"We complement each other really well," he said. "The co-CEO thing is more of an oddity from the outside than the inside. People get it. Humble is a big part of what it works".