I was pretty unfamiliar with Cohesity until the recent Tech Field Day 12 presentation but they’ve been receiving a lot of buzz in the industry. If you’re like I was and weren’t paying enough attention, you should at least check them out. Cohesity’s go to market strategy is based around covering all aspects of the secondary storage market. The thought being that there are way too many solutions in use by the enterprise and that all of these different solutions makes it difficult to manage. For example, the secondary storage solutions include media servers, backup managers, target storage for backups, cloud gateways, test/dev storage, file shares for archives and a copy of data for analytics. This is a big task to tackle but the real goal for Cohesity is to replace all of these individual server types into a single scale-out solution.
All travel expenses and incidentals were paid for by Gestalt IT to attend Tech Field Day 12. In addition, Cohesity provided a gift to all delegates but with no expectations about the coverage through this blog or social media.
The Cohesity appliance comes as a 2U chassis capable of housing four nodes (three nodes are required to get started with a replication factor of two). Each of the nodes provides roughly 24TB of capacity and 1.6 TB of PCIe flash connected by a pair of 10GbE adapters. This is a pretty standard architecture in the hyperconverged market these days. Several other hyperconverged vendors have a VERY similar appliance that is out on the market. The Cohesity appliances also scale out in a similar manner to the other hyperconverged players. Scale out as a necessary and purchase what you need at the time that you need it. The solution includes some of the enterprise features that you’d hope from a storage array these days including global dedupe, and an API so that all of the work can be orchestrated. If you’d like more information about their products please see their product page for the latest updates.
It seems to me that the primary function of a Cohesity solution is to take over for a complicated (and traditionally boring) backup solution. Cohesity can register your vCenters or physical servers and pull in the inventory so that it can be backed up as part of a schedule. Its a nice thing to be able to add a virtual machine to a cluster and have it automatically protected by a backup plan. Let’s face it, no one wants to manage backups these days. Once the virtual machines are backed up, the data can be searched and restored very quickly or used for test/dev workloads or analytics. It’s pretty nice to not have to make multiple copies of this data for use in a test environment or for analytical purposes.
Backups can be done at a VM Image level and can perform SQL level backups. Any restore requests will be mounted on the internal Cohesity drives and then storage vMotioned back to your vSphere environment if you have the correct vSphere licensing. This includes SQL restores which can be selected at any point in time, something that your database administrators will certainly require out of a backup solution.
Like many appliance solutions these days, Cohesity is embracing (not ignoring) the public cloud. Cohesity allows you to have data archived out to S3 targets like AWS S3. This data can be stored for a lower cost than some more costly on premises storage arrays so companies will like the ability to take advantage of cheap public cloud storage.
One of the newer features currently still under development is that a Cohesity appliance can be spun up on the public cloud. During Tech Field Day 12, Cohesity demonstrated spinning up a new instance in Microsoft Azure right from the Azure Marketplace (still in staging, not available to the public yet). Once an instance is deployed in the public cloud, it can be added as a replication target for your on-premises instance and then you can bring up your test/dev environments on your favorite public cloud vendors (AWS, Azure, Google Compute).
If you’re in the market for some secondary storage solutions, it is probably worth doing some demos with Cohesity before deciding what solution you’d eventually like to purchase. Simplifying your enterprise platforms has a big benefit for companies and you should not overlook the value in this.