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Veeam bolsters portfolio to cover emerging workloads

The groundswell in containerisation and open-source hypervisors is behind Veeam’s recent move to enable backup and recovery of emerging workloads

Veeam has added support for backups of Kubernetes workloads and virtual machines based on Red Hat Virtualisation (RHV) as it expands its data protection capabilities to cover emerging workloads.

The company’s Kubernetes backup capability came by way of its acquisition of Kasten, a Kubernetes backup software provider whose K10 product can write to Veeam storage repositories for centralised data management.

Enterprises can also include Kasten workloads into their backup data lifecycle management as they deploy more containerised applications over time.

Anthony Spiteri, senior technologist at Veeam, acknowledged that while usage of Kubernetes and containers in the Asia-Pacific region is still in its infancy, the company wants to make Kubernetes backups easy for those that are just starting their containerisation journey.

Kubernetes-based environments are fundamentally different from those based on earlier technologies. This requires a Kubernetes-native approach that is application- rather than infrastructure-focused, and the ability to deal with continuous change, among other requirements.

“We’ve got an easy-to-install application that can back up Kubernetes workloads easily through a beautiful user interface, and if customers want to still use the underlying APIs [application programming interfaces] and command lines, they can do that as well,” Spiteri said.

For enterprises using multiple Kubernetes platforms that operate in different environments, whether it is Amazon EKS, Red Hat OpenShift or VMware Tanzu, Spiteri said K10 is agnostic and can be installed via the Helm package manager for Kubernetes.

“Under the surface, you need to have some compatibility with the CSI [container storage interface] that enables the snapshot,” Spiteri added. “That’s the biggest complication but most major platforms have that built in.”

Shiva Pillay, Veeam’s newly minted senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said as customers in the region experiment with Kubernetes and DevOps, it is Veeam’s interest to help them figure out their backup requirements as they containerise their applications.

Pillay added that Veeam is in discussions with some customers in India, China and South Korea on backing up Kubernetes workloads.

For example, he said a chief technology officer in India is looking to deploy Kubernetes for a digital banking platform aimed at getting new products to millennials: “It’s very new for them and they don’t feel so confident, so it plays quite well to our strategy in terms of where we go.”

Inflection point

In response to demand from key industries, large enterprises and service providers, Veeam has also added support for RHV virtual machines.

Spiteri said the RHV move was possible only when the hypervisor recently supported changed block tracking (CBT), which enables incremental backups using technology that identifies only the blocks of virtual machine disks that have changed.

“We’ve been working with Red Hat to make sure that we can talk to their CBT driver to make agentless backups viable, because without CBT, backups will take too long,” he said.

Australia-based Spiteri said Veeam’s support for RHV comes amid a groundswell among enterprises to move away from VMware, because of cost or other reasons such as having an open-source proponent in their ranks.

“I was actually quite surprised because I thought VMware has a stranglehold,” he added. “But I think the dominance will drop, by how much we don’t know, but we need to be there at this inflection point to make sure that when customers move, we’re there to support them.

“If a customer is on VMware, we don’t want to lose them if they move to Red Hat or KVM, so we’ve had to do something. That’s part of the push you see now because there is this balancing act that has started to shift a little.”

In the first quarter of 2021, Veeam reported an annual recurring revenue of 27% year over year in Asia-Pacific and Japan.

“We’re growing three and a half times the market rate which means we are taking market share,” Pillay said. “We’re continuing to give our customers that confidence that we’re here to stay for a long time, and we’ll continue investing in technology.”

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