December 11, 2015

Cohesity to change storage positions

Cohesity (, leader in the new wave of unification of secondary storage, announced recently their first product iteration. The session during The IT Press Tour last week helped all of us to dig and understand better the strategy and the product while feeling the atmosphere in their office.
And we had the privilege to speak with Mohit Aron the CEO and founder of the company, who already founded Nutanix, an other famous shop. In term of company finance situation, Cohesity closed 2 rounds - A at $15M led by Sequoia and Wing Venture Capital in November 2013 and B at $55M led by Artis Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures with Accel, Battery, Google and Trinity in June 2015. Wow, all this to accelerate the development and the market penetration. The total raised is now $70M but it's interesting to see the number of VC "motivated" by this project. Cohesity seems to be Hyper Compelling.
I already covered Cohesity very shortly as we didn't have lot of infos, it was in September 2014, just a few months after they got created, and you can read the short blog post here. You can even discover the previous logo.

So what is Cohesity all about ? What are the challenges they wish to solve and how the solution works ?
The first element is to consider that the biggest volume of data are stored on secondary storage, meaning by storage not operating for the business directly such backup images, archive data sets, copies (replication, snapshots, clones...) for DR... but all this, again, represents the largest bulk of data. These data that represent the business at a moment of time - pretty frequent for snapshot and less frequent with classic copies - are also not at all mined or analyzed but everything is there. Again, around 80% of corporate data sit in secondary storage. So the idea of Mohit Aron was and is still to offer in one data platform all the data workflows associated with data protection - backup, archive, snapshot, clones, replication, DR... - but also development and analytics. They call it the Cohesity Data Platform, perfect on this blog that historically was started at the age of CDP (Continuous Data Protection).
In term of product, Cohesity develops software but sells appliance, the C2000 line, to continue in the idea of simplicity. Physically the CDP is a 2U chassis with 4 nodes and users can start with 3 nodes. 2 models exist: C2300 and C2500 with respectively 48TB HDD and 3.2TB PCIe SSD and 96TB HDD and 6.4TB PCIe SSD and both have 8 10GbE ports - 2 ports per node. Cohesity builds 3 software layers: OASIS (Open Architecture for Scalable Intelligent Storage), Storage Services and an Application Environment. The product is managed via a very intuitive GUI and CLI and can be integrated with a REST API. With a strong DNA in distributed software and in particular file system, the team develops SnapFS, a shared-nothing strongly consistent distributed file system that span every node, that represents the core of the solution.

For data services, Cohesity provides snapshots & clones, global deduplication (inline and post with 8-16KB granularity), replication (tunable but by default 2 copies), auto-tiering in both directions (SSD <-> HDD) and non disruptive operations. Erasure Coding will be ready in 2016. Analytics is one of the key value of the platform and things like indexed backups, search capabilities and reports complete the picture. Above, Cohesity expose SnapFS via different protocols such distributed NFSv3, a RESTful API and of course the ability to connect to VMware instances via VADP. SMB, iSCSI and HDFS will be offered laer. The solution is of course infinitely scalable, will receive more and more features soon, and is today positioned as a mid-market environment with VMware and is priced below $100K. In fact many primary storage vendor could dream about these features set. Cohesity really changes the landscape of Data Protection and participate to the new adventure of Converged Secondary Storage with players like Rubrik. It's no more just storing data it's about storing and processing data on the same platform.

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