Cohesity 3.0 – One platform for all your secondary storage!

logo-cohesity-darkAfter just over half a year of making their 1.0 product generally available Cohesity, a company based out of Santa Clara have announced version 3.0 of their flagship secondary storage products DataProtect and DataPlatform.  I had the chance to take a 1:1 briefing with Cohesity to check out what’s new and find out just what they define secondary storage as and thought I’d try and share my thoughts around the new features and overall solution from Cohesity here…

What is secondary storage?

Before we get too in-depth around the features and benefits of the Cohesity platforms its nice to stop and take a look at just what secondary storage is.  Quite simply, Cohesity sees secondary storage as any storage hosting data that isn’t “mission critical”, and surprisingly they are also discovering that this non “mission critical” data takes up the majority of an organizations overall capacity.  As show below we can see that data such as backups, test/dev, file shares, etc.…  These all fit into the secondary storage profile – data that is rarely used, fragmented and complex to manage, data that Cohesity defines as “Dark Data”

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All of this “Dark Data” can become a bit of a challenge to manage and maintain – We end up with numerous backups that we don’t touch, we have many appliances and servers within our datacenter performing various functions such as deduplication, compression, analytics, etc.  All of these moving pieces within our datacenter each come with their own cost, their own hardware footprint, and for the most part have no way of interfacing with each other, nor do they have the ability to scale all together.  This is where Cohesity makes it’s play – simplifying secondary storage within your datacenter

Cohesity – All your secondary storage – One Hyperconverged platform

Cohesity moves into the datacenter and aims to eliminate all of those secondary storage silos.  They do this by consolidating your backups, file shares, test/dev copies, etc. and moving them all on to a Cohesity appliance.  To get the data there, Cohesity first leverages their DataProtect platform.  DataProtect provides the means of backup, using seamless integration into your vSphere environment Cohesity starts performing the role of your backup infrastructure.  Utilizing user create polices based on SLA requirements, Cohesity begins on loading your backup data, adhering to specified RPOs, retention policies etc.  From there DataProtect also adds the ability to offload to cloud for archival purposes. Think in terms of offloading certain restore points or aged backup files to Amazon, Azure, or Google.   Once the data resides on a Cohesity appliance a number of benefits are presented to their customers; think analytics, being able to get a Google-like search throughout all of your secondary data, looking for pre-defined templates such as social security numbers or credit card numbers.  DataPlatform also provides the ability to leverage copy data management to quickly spark up exact, isolated copies of our production environment directly on the Cohesity appliance.  This allows for things such as patch management testing, application testing, or development environments to be deployed in a matter of minutes utilizing flash-accelerated technologies on the appliance itself.

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Integrating all of these services into one common platform for sure has its benefits – lowering TCO for one, not having to pony up for support and licensing for 4 different platforms is the first thing that comes to mind.  But beyond that it provides savings in terms of OpEx as well – no more do we have to learn how to operate and configure different pieces of software within our environment dealing with our secondary storage.  No more do we have to spend the time copying data between solutions in order to perform various functions and analytics on it.  We can just use one appliance to do it all, scaling as we need by adding nodes into the cluster, and in turn, receiving more compute, memory, and storage capacity, thus increasing performance of the secondary storage environment overall.

So what’s new in 3.0?

As I mentioned before this is Cohesity’s third release in just over half a year.   We saw 1.0 GA in October of 2015, 2.0 not long after that added replication, cloning and SMB support in February of this year, and now we have 3.0 hitting the shelves with the following improvements and features…

  • Physical Windows/Linux Support – perhaps the biggest feature within 3.0 is the ability to now protect our physical Windows and Linux servers with DataProtect.  The same policy based engine can now process those physical servers we have in our environment and allow us to leverage all of the analytics and search capabilities on the data that we have always had.
  • VMware SQL/Exchange/SharePoint Support – As we all know in the world of IT it’s really the application that matters.  3.0 provides the ability to perform application aware backups on our virtualized SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint servers in order to ensure we are getting consistent and reliable backups, which can be restored to any point-in-time, or restoration of individual application objects as well.  3.0 also adds the ability to provide source-side deduplication for these application-aware backups, meaning only unique blocks of data are transferred into the Cohesity platform during a database backup.
  • Search and recovery from Cloud – 3.0 also brings us the ability to perform search capabilities on our data that has been archived to cloud, but more importantly, perform granular object level recovery on that cloud archived data as well.  Meaning the cost of moving data out of the cloud should decrease as we are just moving the data we need.
  • Performance Enhancements – Utilizing a technology based upon parallel ingest, Cohesity can now spread the load of ingesting individual VMs across all the nodes within its’ cluster – resulting in not only a capacity increase when you scale, but also a performance increase.  Also, they have done much work around their file access services, basically doubling the amount of IOPs and throughput.

And to top it all off, Best of VMworld

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A huge congrats to Cohesity on the announcement revolving around 3.0 but an even huger congrats goes out for the “Best of VMworld 2016” within the Data Protection Category!  If you want to learn more I definitely recommend checking out Cohesity’s  site here, or, if you happen to be at VMworld you have a couple more days to drop in and say Hi at booth #827!