This week is the first VeeamON, Availability for the Modern Data Center, conference in Las Vegas.
As I listened to the side conversations and such, I was reminded of the special-ness of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS). Not MMS 2010+, when Microsoft started shoe-horning everything in the Server & Tools line-up, before eventually killing it and Tech-Ed behind it … but MMS 1995-2005, which was as much about "community" as it was "technology."
Veeam has very smartly done something that other data protection vendors several times larger have failed to do -- create a community of avid influencers and advocates that are made up of Microsoft MVPs, VMware vExperts and an army of well-intentioned backup folks that are passionate about telling people how Veeam saved their jobs by reliably and quickly recovering a a VM. Many larger companies have tried to programitize that community initiative, and most haven't seen success on any scale. But Veeam has … so a conference is the next logical step.
The question will be whether Veeam can convert the cyber-community that advocates their products year-round and parties with Veeam at TechEd/VMworld. Can Veeam maintain or build on that community vibe in an in-person event? If they can, and then build anticipation for VeeamON 2015, then lightning will have struck and VeeamON could be for many what was revered about MMS.
There is a notable difference with VeeamON over MMS, though. Veeam is adamantly 100% channel to the degree that they don’t even maintain a direct sales team. So, VeeamON is as much for partners (vendor, channel, and cloud), as it is the customers -- which is different than the much more enterprise-vibe of MMS in its latter years. Another difference is the accessibility of Veeam execs walking throughout the venue and striking up personal conversations throughout the day -- something that again shows the strength of the "community" of the Green Army. With Veeam aspiring to be the next $1B player in IT, there are more parallels that one could make with MS System Center, which also became a $1B during MMS's hay-day. Veeam is doing it without a juggernaut behind them, though their partnerships with MS, VMware, NetApp, Cisco, HP, Exagrid and others doesn’t hurt.
The event itself is as much style (at the Vegas Cosmopolitan) as it is substance (deep technical breakouts) -- so the rest is left to be seen. Congrats to Veeam on what is looking to be a great start to what could be a powerful event in IT availability, through data protection.