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Cohesity plans to launch entire suite as a service on AWS

Cohesity has chosen AWS as its preferred cloud provider and plans to launch all its data protection and management products on the cloud platform, starting with DataProtect.

Cohesity is getting SaaS-y with AWS.

On Wednesday, the backup vendor launched a SaaS version of its DataProtect product into customer preview. Under this new consumption model, customers can use Cohesity DataProtect without having to commit infrastructure to backup. The Cohesity service is hosted on AWS cloud and managed by Cohesity. Customers only pay a subscription fee to Cohesity and do not need a separate AWS license. The subscription fee includes provisioning cloud storage for backups, monitoring and maintaining storage and egress charges for moving data out of the cloud.

To use DataProtect SaaS, customers must install connector software on premises. This establishes a secure tunnel between the data center and AWS cloud and allows for recovering data to the cloud or back on premises. Because it is SaaS, customers also won't have to manually update to the latest version of Cohesity DataProtect.

Cohesity said the new service will be priced by capacity and both prepaid and pay-as-you-go pricing models will be offered, but declined to give specific costs. The product is in early access preview with an official launch scheduled for early December, around the time of AWS re:Invent.

DataProtect is the first Cohesity product consumable as a service hosted on AWS. The vendor plans to eventually bring DRaaS, Cohesity SiteContinuity, file and object services and cloning and test data management features to the cloud. Like Cohesity's non-SaaS products, the entire SaaS suite will be sold through channel partners and managed through the Cohesity Helios interface. Cohesity will also continue to sell its standard software licenses.

Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC, said customers have been spending more on SaaS applications and cloud-based service offerings this year. IDC's latest findings predict a 19% compound annual growth rate in data protection as a service adoption. Goodwin said COVID-19 has been a large factor in this, as it has pushed customers to offload daily data protection management to third parties and free up their own IT resources for more urgent needs. At the beginning of the pandemic, this would require adding infrastructure to support a larger work-from-home workforce. Now, it's about scaling up backup infrastructure as needed and paying on a consumption-based model, without having to worry about provisioning and maintaining the infrastructure to accommodate the expansion.

Other backup vendors with SaaS versions of their software products include Actifio Go copy data management and Commvault's Metallic offerings. Druva, Clumio and Backblaze offer cloud-based backup similar to Cohesity's DataProtect SaaS product. Chris Wiborg, vice president of product marketing, said Cohesity will stand out from its cloud-based competitors by supporting hybrid infrastructure and having a more comprehensive product over time.

Cohesity's partnership makes a lot of strategic sense, according to Wiborg. Cohesity has more than 400 customers who are either running a Cohesity instance on AWS or archiving their Cohesity data on AWS. Combining the two would simplify the experience for these joint customers, Wiborg said. AWS and Cohesity have been working together for 18 months to develop DataProtect into a SaaS product that can take advantage of AWS capabilities, but Wiborg said this is more than just a technology partnership. Amazon made an equity investment in Cohesity, though Wiborg couldn't disclose the amount.

A handful of major equity events have happened this year in data protection. Private equity firm Insight Partners acquired Veeam in a multi-billion-dollar deal in January. Cohesity raised $250 million in Series E funding in April and DR vendor Zerto raised $53 million in June. The following month, VMware bought DR-as-a-service vendor Datrium, and earlier this month, backup and networking vendor Datto filed for an IPO.

Goodwin said there is no doubt data protection is in high demand right now and business is booming despite the pandemic. However, there is no reason at this point to think Amazon's equity investment will lead to an acquisition.

Goodwin said focus should be on how Cohesity's SaaS products will impact the market. Once fully developed with the rest of Cohesity's suite, it would be the first data-management-as-a-service product that is available through a hyperscaler. Even though Cohesity provides the service, it is delivered by AWS and fully integrated into the rest of its platform. Cohesity data management as a service will have integration with some AWS add-ons and services such as Amazon SageMaker, Amazon RedShift and AWS Glue. Goodwin said the next logical step would be for Cohesity to develop this further, adding more services and making them consumable through Helios to deliver a true single-platform experience.

"Longer-term, this has the potential to disrupt the cloud data protection marketplace. There's dev work to do here, to be sure," Goodwin said.

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