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Cohesity makes it easier to manage secondary storage

News Analysis
Nov 01, 20174 mins
Backup and RecoveryDisaster Recovery

Using hyper-converged infrastructure, Cohesity’s DataPlatform consolidates a company’s secondary storage onto one platform and reduces data storage and operational costs.

abstract rack of servers datacenter networking hardware

The rise of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has been well documented over the past few years. The technology greatly reduces the operational overhead required to run workloads such as VDI and remote office/branch office workloads. The turnkey nature of HCI makes it easy to deploy and simple to operate while guaranteeing great performance. 

Recently, I ran across a company called Cohesity that brings the benefits of HCI to an area I had never considered it for — secondary storage. I understand that the topic of secondary storage may be boring, but it’s one of the biggest pain points for companies.

When it comes to business storage, primary is the star. It feeds most of the production apps and takes most of the attention from IT.

Secondary storage, on the other hand, is complex and highly fragmented. It includes things like backups, cloud storage, test and development. Most businesses use a hodgepodge of appliances to try and manage this, but they can’t get a handle on it. The lack of a strategy causes businesses to waste enormous amounts of capacity and money. Currently about half of secondary storage exists as duplicates. Users are always saving things on local drives and servers, in the cloud, and on tape libraries and other mediums.

Secondary storage is the ugly stepchild, and whatever time is devoted to it takes away from primary storage or something more interesting. But it is important because it includes archived information, historical data and retained documents.

My research shows that 90 percent of all the data that exists was created in the past two years, but in the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet.” The problem is only getting worse because more data than ever is being generated. Sensors are being added to virtually everything, streaming video is being deployed everywhere, and it seems like Microsoft Office documents get bigger every year. 

Cohesity DataPlatform consolidates secondary storage

Cohesity’s vision is to make the process of managing secondary storage easy so IT pros can be assured of where their data is but reduce the time required to manage it, giving them more time to work on strategic initiatives.

The company’s DataPlatform is an HCI solution designed to consolidate all of a company’s secondary storage onto a single platform. The product provides distributed storage that is space efficient, provides intelligent copy data management and integrates natively into cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. The product also includes data management features for converged data protection and analytics to automate workflows that align with DevOps. 

The most significant benefit is simplification because managing one platform is much easier than managing five, 10 or even a dozen discrete silos.

Another benefit is greater control, as all secondary data operations are done in one place. Cohesity has automated many of the tasks, including disaster recovery, cloud migration, deduplication, cloning and snap mirroring. Also, because the product is built using an HCI architecture, scaling it out is as simple as adding more nodes to the cluster.

cohesity hci secondary storage Cohesity

Reduced data storage and operational costs

Cohesity customers should see a marked reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO). The deduplication and data management capabilities will likely reduce the overall amount of data stored by more than 40 percent.

The reduction in secondary storage is certainly nice, but the big savings to be had is operational. By my estimate, 60 percent of the TCO from secondary storage is in people costs. Like HCI has taken a chunk out of the operational costs associated with running different workloads, it will have the same impact on secondary data management. In fact, because this area lacks any kind of best practices or strategy, it’s likely to cut operational costs by 50 percent or more, freeing up valuable time for more strategic things.

If you love HCI, you’re certainly not alone, as it’s been one of the fastest-growing IT technologies. It’s been used to improve the management and performance of VDI, Hadoop and analytics. Now, Cohesity is bringing it to secondary storage. It may not have the sizzle as some of the other use cases, but it’s certainly just as important, if not more, and can have a quick payback.  


Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research, and provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long-term strategic advice. Kerravala provides research and advice to end-user IT and network managers, vendors of IT hardware, software and services and the financial community looking to invest in the companies that he covers.

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