Veeam Co-Founders Launch Startup Object First with S3-Compatible Storage

By | Managed Services News

Jun 30

The storage appliance will be built with commodity servers and JBOD storage using Veeam’s Smart Object API.

Veeam founders Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov hope to catch lighting in a bottle again with Object First. This week they launched the startup that has created an on-premises, S3-compatible object storage backup appliance.

When Timashev and Baronov started Veeam in 2006, they rode the then-emerging wave of server virtualization on VMware’s coattails. Veeam recorded $1 billion in annual revenues for the first time in 2019, and a year later Insight Partners acquired the company for $5 billion. Now they are taking another stab at capturing emerging demand for object storage.

Object First attracted attention at last month’s VeeamON conference, where word spread that the two were backing the startup. At the time, Object First was still in stealth mode and offered few details on its launch plans. With this week’s launch, Object First revealed that Timashev and Baronov have invested an initial $12.5 million in the company.

The appliance, which only runs Veeam’s data protection software, is the first such on-premises object storage system designed for backup. Object First expects to release it in the fourth quarter of this year. It will compete with object storage appliances from providers such as Cloudian and Scality. But Object First is signaling it will price its appliance aggressively by using commodity servers and JBOD storage. The lower-cost components will make it more practical as a dedicated backup appliance for mid-sized customers, company officials said.

Veeam Inside Only

Each Object First appliance will scale to a half-petabyte of storage, though customers can expand capacity by adding appliances. Although the appliances will only run Veeam software, Veeam and parent Insight Partners have no financial stake in Object First. Object First doesn’t have plans to develop appliances that can run other vendors’ backup software.

Object First's Tony Liau

Object First’s Tony Liau

“With Veeam being where they are in the market, they’re tied at No. 1 market share with Dell,” said Object First VP of marketing Tony Liau. “Veeam has enough market share for us to be very successful. And we’re going to be filling a gap for a lot of the Veeam customers out there.”

Object storage is becoming attractive for backup because higher-speed and more reliable backups have become a critical defense against ransomware. It also enables immutability, which protects backup data from ransomware because no one can change the backups.

Object Storage's Anthony Cusimano

Object Storage’s Anthony Cusimano

“There’s no root access,” said Anthony Cusimano, Object First’s director of technical marketing. “There’s only one account you can login with.”

The company is also working on enabling multifactor authentication (MFA).

The value in Object First’s appliance is in the software, which the company said in the hardened operating system it created. Besides its scalability, it can pull in data at 4 Gbps with dual 10 GB Ethernet NICs.

“The way we connect is S3 over HTTPS,” Cusimano said. “It is strictly a generic S3 object storage type connection to Veeam. The secret sauce really comes in from how we’re managing the object storage on our end. And we’re also utilizing Veeam’s own APIs to write to us directly over that S3 connection.”

Developed for Forthcoming Veeam Backup and Replication v12

Object First has developed its appliance to utilize key new features coming later this year to Veeam Backup and Replication v12. At the VeeamON event, Veeam emphasized support for direct writes to object storage as a key feature slated for v12. Rick Vanover, Veeam’s senior director of product strategy, said the company has spent …

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