2015 – A Year in Review

My first post of 2016 is going to have a quick look back over 2015, from my own career perspective and also the industry as a whole.

Starting with Veeam

At the end of March 2015 I joined the Veeam team and I have not looked back, just short of a year now and I have to say I love it. Vendor land, Pre Sales and systems engineering a year ago was a little unknown to me, having worked in a predominantly post sales capacity it was a big step into the unknown but I knew I wanted to give it a shot and see how I faired. I am really enjoying things and here are some of the things that have stood out for me over the last 10 months.

1st Quarter (April – June)

First thing was to go through the on boarding process, having worked with Veeam before it was a nice advantage to have during the on boarding sessions. I was also very fortunate, that as part of the NetApp A-Team, I was able to visit Sunnyvale for the annual ETL event where the whole team met up and got to hear some insights into what is happening at NetApp over the short and long term. To sum up the first quarter it was more about getting to know my colleagues at Veeam and a lot of finding my feet with the product features and processes.

2nd Quarter (July – September)

This was where the fun really started for me, I have never been in a Sales driven environment before, aiming for numbers and being so close to the sale. This was my first quarter and I have to say, I loved it! Delivering demos and proof of concepts to end users and seeing it through from the initial meeting to a PO was a great feeling. One of the biggest deals I was involved with was for a UK Service Provider, they were refreshing their existing Infrastructure as a Service offering with Veeam Cloud Connect and becoming a Veeam VCSP partner. I was involved from start to finish from a technical aspect, seeing this come to fruition was a great milestone for me. To top this quarter off, I received the MVP award within the UK SE team which was a great surprise and honour after only being with Veeam 6 months.

3rd Quarter (September – December)

My third quarter saw the events season. Again something I have not been involved with from this side of the fence I have been to many events as a technical person but not actually speaking or on stand duty.

Veeam ON Tour – Here I was given the chance to co present with my manager at all four events! Live demos would have been our preference but due to some flaky internet connections, we had to fall back on the canned demos I had prepared. The four locations for 2015 were Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Dublin.

NetApp Insight, Las Vegas – Again, I was fortunate to visit the annual US event in Las Vegas hosted by NetApp, as part of the NetApp A-Team. Here I not only took on the technical sessions but also took part in other media opportunities. A real highlight was “Engineers Unplugged” with Cisco alongside my Veeam colleague, Shawn Lieu. This is yet to be published, I’ll link when this comes online to view!

NetApp Insight, Berlin EMEA – Stand Duty – I have been to many Insight conferences but until 2015 had never done “stand duty”, so this was new to me but I really enjoyed it! I managed to get to some technical sessions on the first day and in between stand duty, I was also able to get involved in some advocate tasks.

IP Expo, London – This is another regular event for me, but again never on stand duty or as a guest speaker. This was a totally new experience for me, having a speaking slot was a great and I expect there will be many more in 2016!

With all this going on I still had a pre-sales job to do, so this meant a lot of time away from my family, scheduling meetings in and around these events. With the feature announcements throughout the year of version 9, we were also busy with What’s new demos etc.

All in all, 3 great quarters with Veeam and I have a feeling it’s only going to get better and better going into 2016; My calendar is already getting quite packed with meetings, conferences and events.

Review 2015 predictions –

At the start of 2015 I followed suit with what seemed to be the entire tech industry, creating prediction blogs for the year ahead, here is the link to that blog – https://vzilla.co.uk/1/post/2015/03/2015-the-year-of-the.html

“The continuance growth of adoption to Hybrid Cloud”

I am not going to get into detail about each prediction but I think the continuance of Hybrid Cloud adoption did continue but probably not at the speed I and others though for 2015.

“Flexibility will be the biggest issue facing the storage industry”

Flexibility, again goes hand in hand with the hybrid cloud adoption and being able to easily move data in and out and all around different environments. I believe the tools are growing in maturity and it’s now down to the end users to embrace and start leveraging this technology.

“Software Defined …”

I think in my opinion this is an area where there as been a lot of hype around Software Defined but quite little traction and user take up. The biggest one for me this year was around Software Defined Networking and understanding at a very 101 level what this was doing and how this was abstracting the physical network. Again an Industry buzz word that I am sure will continue to be branded in 2016.


One thing I mentioned at the beginning of 2015 was “we may also see some very niche use cases for all flash arrays and everything in between won’t go away and there will be a use case somewhere.” I think this area has moved on quite a lot in 2015, mostly around the All Flash vendors gaining some good traction and the price point of SSD over spinning disks greatly being reduced along with capacity enhancements also assisting in that area of adoption. Is it the end of spinning disk? No that stuff is not going away just yet… think tape that hasn’t and nor will spinning disk there is always a use case.

“Converged Infrastructure Vs Hyper-Converged Infrastructure”

I believe this area hasn’t moved as quickly as expected I think the larger storage vendors have realised that “simplicity” is something that customers want to see and have within their infrastructure and this bolted onto any infrastructure be it storage, compute and networking. HCI isn’t going away and there is still very much a market for this type of infrastructure, from my experience though I have been involved in very few HCI projects where as there is still a strong presence of converged infrastructure, I would probably change the vs to or though there is a use case for both as I said.

TechOntap Podcast

To top of this great year, I was also invited to guest speak on the NetApp Tech Ontap podcast – Episode 14 “Protecting Your Data with SnapMirror to Everything” – https://soundcloud.com/techontap_podcast/episode-14-protecting-your-data-with-snapmirror-to-everything It was a great privilege to be asked onto the podcast, I have listened to this podcast since day one and been very much advocating the podcast alongside everything else that NetApp have been doing over the years. Hopefully I didn’t do a bad job and they will have me back on to discuss some more data protection or integrations with Veeam soon.

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