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Cohesity converged secondary storage adds automation

Cohesity bolsters its data protection platform with automation for cloud archiving and off-site replication. The company's CEO says it helps manage and converge secondary storage.

Data management startup Cohesity Inc. on Wednesday made its converged secondary storage platform "production-ready" by adding baseline features for cloud storage, data protection and SMB file support.

The latest iteration lets users automate policies for cloud archives, encryption and replicating data between multiple data centers. Version 2.0 also adds a programmable analytics API and support for SMB 3.0 protocol.

Cohesity Data Platform is a Web-scale service platform for secondary storage workloads, including backup, big data analytics, testing and development. It consists of Cohesity CS2000 storage hardware and the vendor's Open Architecture for Scalable Intelligent Storage (OASIS) operating software.

The Cohesity CS2000 hardware family includes the C2300 and the C2500 hybrid nodes. A four-node C2300 cluster scales to 48 TB of disk storage and 3.2 TB of PCIe flash. Four C2500 Cohesity devices scale to 96 TB of HDD and 6.4 TB of flash.

With the new features, Cohesity is expanding use cases beyond proofs of concept, CEO Mohit Aron said.

"Cohesity is about helping customers manage and converge secondary storage silos, and eliminate the fragmentation associated with multiple copies floating around the data center," said Aron, who was a founder of hyper-convergence pioneer Nutanix. "Our 1.0 release was demo-ready, but the features in version 2.0 make us more production-ready."

Aron said he sees converged secondary storage as a similar concept to hyper-convergence. Cohesity is looking to combine workflows, such as data protection, analytics and archiving, into one scale-out platform. Startup Rubrik and copy data management vendors Actifio and Catalogic take similar approaches to data protection.

Jim Miller, a senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., in Boulder, Colo., said he sees converged data protection as a new twist on an old concept.

"Secondary storage is sort of like the middle kid [who] gets all the hand-me-downs," Miller said. "You end up putting it on technology with different operating systems, features and performance requirements. These guys give you a way to consolidate all that storage in one place."

Upgrade highlights: Data-at-rest encryption, active failover between data centers

The update provides 256-bit AES encryption for data at rest. Security keys reside on the customer's premises, either on Cohesity hardware or a predetermined key management server. Cohesity's earlier release provided in-place encryption, which could be turned on or off, but users had no way to automate policies.

Customers can protect converged secondary storage by mirroring it across physical sites, based on their policy settings.

Cohesity added site-to-site replication for active failover between multiple data centers. Customers can protect converged secondary storage by mirroring it across physical sites, based on their policy settings.

Cohesity 2.0 includes policy options to move converged secondary storage to Amazon Glacier and Google Cloud Storage Nearline for cloud archiving and long-term retention. Customers may elect to have Cohesity automatically tier aged data to the public cloud.

"Customers can have Cohesity running in multiple data centers and we will connect each location in a mesh-like way," Aron said. "We leave it to customers to select which data they want to protect. We orchestrate the failover, so they can have data centers protecting one another."

Customer: Cohesity combines disk backup with storage consolidation

Credit Acceptance Corp. ran Cohesity 2.0 in early access to evaluate alternatives to EMC Data Domain backup and deduplication disk appliances nearing end of life. The Southfield, Mich., firm plans to replicate data between Cohesity appliances at its main data center and a disaster recovery site near Las Vegas.

Rael Mussell, vice president of IT support at Credit Acceptance, said Cohesity will protect data on Pure Storage and EMC VMAX arrays used for primary storage.

"Cohesity is a disk target that comes with compression, data deduplication and encryption out of the box," Mussell said. "It really checked all the boxes as a Data Domain replacement. But the converged secondary storage features will reduce our footprint and the time it takes to spin up zero copy clones with VMware."

The Cohesity storage version upgrade adds SMB 3.0 adapters running atop the OASIS distributed file system. The previous edition supported only Network File System version 3.

Another demonstration feature going live is the Cohesity Analytics Workbench API for injecting custom code in the Cohesity appliance. Analytics Workbench lets customers write script to analyze data security, such as determining if sensitive customer data appears anywhere as unencrypted plain text.

"The analytics makes the environment programmable," Aron said. "It is part of our philosophy to move the compute to the data, not the other way around."  

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