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The Definition of Secondary Storage is Evolving – As is Cohesity

The challenge of data management is nothing new. The Enterprise Storage market has responded at both ends of the spectrum by providing mature, high-performance solutions for primary datasets, and lower-cost archival solutions for less important bulk data. However, many businesses are discovering a capability gap when attempting to store secondary data that falls into the “everything else” category. For this reason, Cohesity has begun to leverage its core capabilities to attack new problems as customer requirements, and the definition of secondary storage, continue to evolve.

Silos are the Enemy
In taking a look at the success of hyperconverged solutions in displacing more complex multi-tier solutions in the virtualization space, a theme emerges. Organizations are no longer satisfied with the use of dedicated, independent solutions for each primary application. A consolidated approach that eliminates complexity while still meeting overall requirements has proven to be a winning strategy.

This same attitude is now extending to the storage of various datasets. Purchase of separate platforms for storing user share data, video/images, surveillance data, aggregated logs, and backup data no longer makes sense. The trend, broadly speaking, is toward solutions that leverage commodity hardware and innovative software to provide a high level of capability at a friendly price point. By consolidating multiple types of data on a single platform, interesting opportunities to gain business value from this data present themselves.

Scale Out NAS powered by Cohesity Data Platform
Many customers are most familiar with Cohesity because of the robust backup capabilities of its core data protection software, DataProtect. But in designing DataProtect for deployment within a scale-out appliance model, Cohesity first had to design a scale-out filesystem that could support the features that they desired in the product. The output of this effort was DataPlatform, powered by their own distributed filesystem, SpanFS. DataPlatform is the layer that provides core data services such as global deduplication, snapshots/clones, data replication, global search, and multiprotocol NAS support, among others.

It just so happens that this combination of capabilities makes for a competitive scale-out NAS solution. Because of this, Cohesity has been able to transition to helping customers solve storage of their secondary file and object data using DataPlatform, with or without use of the integrated backup features.

The goal of the solution is to provide customers with a single, unified platform for storing secondary data and ultimately extracting business value that would not be possible with a more siloed approach. In support of this goal, the company plans to offer a variety of new hardware configurations to meet the evolving requirements of this secondary data.

Although some have stated that Cohesity is attempting to solve too many problems with its platform and compete where it shouldn’t, the company believes that it is positioning its solution to address an area of the market that has been neglected. This is evidenced by its growing partnerships with leading vendors such as HPE and Dell, who themselves offer a wide array of storage solutions, the presence of a solution like Cohesity can be seen as synergistic rather than competitive.

Scale-out filesystems are very rapidly growing in popularity, and for good reason. They are a good answer for a number of data management problems within the traditional datacenter and cloud. Cohesity’s implementation, DataPlatform, solves a set of challenges not addressed by high-end primary storage or low-cost archival storage. A unified approach for storage of secondary data across both on-premises and cloud environments will surely be welcomed by customers. For more information, check out Cohesity’s presentation on DataPlatform at Storage Field Day 18.

About the author

Gestalt IT Staff

Gestalt IT Staff posts are a collective effort, providing the best analysis and commentary from leaders in the fields of virtualization, networking, storage, and desktop engineering.

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