Converged Storage Startup Cohesity Growing 600%

Cohesity Mohit Aron

By: R. Scott Raynovich

LAS VEGAS -- VMworld 2017 -- Cohesity Founder and CEO Mohit Aron has a hot hand. The cofounder of recent IPO Nutanix, Aron is now taking hyperconvergence story into the secondary storage market, where his Santa Clara, Calif.-based Cohesity is uncovering large demand. Company executives told a group of analysts and media here at VMworld that it grew 600% in the last year. 

Hyperconverged appliances combine server processing, networking, and storage into a single box that can be quickly chained together in clusters to support webscale growth. Nutanix was a pioneer in the market. In founding Cohesity, Aron identified the need to bring the concept of "scale-out" hyperconvergence -- the ability to quickly connect pods of storage to scale for cloud  applications -- to the market for secondary storage, which has less stringent requirements than primary data storage but is giving companies and organizations headaches nonetheless.

Aron said his goal is to bring the scale and simplicity of scale-out hyperconvergence to the secondary storage market, which is often messier and filled with combinations of legacy storage systems. 

"When you are talking about bringing all those together there are different requirements, for secondary storage it's a great effort. People don't know how to build true scale-out system."

Cohesity has built an integrated networked storage solution that combines flash and disk drives to tackle massive amounts of secondary storage, which experts say is handled by a wide variety of legacy storage systems, yielding storage sprawl. Cohesity's entry-level appliance is a two-rack unit can handle 48 TB of hard-disk capacity and 3.2 TB of flash storage, while a larger one packs 96 TB of disk capacity and 6.4 TB of flash storage in the same space. Cohesity calls these appliances blocks, which can be connected together into clusters.

At VMworld, the company announced a storage product that is integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). This has the advantage of building in data and system recovery into cloud systems managed by VCF. The companies say the product can deliver data protection and data center recovery in less than 15 minutes.

“Instant recovery of a VM is great; Cohesity recovering a whole data center in under 20 minutes is a game changer," said DeepStorage's Howard Marks of the product. 

Some of the applications for secondary story includes storage backups, test and development, and data analytics batch processing, all of which may not require the higher performance of storage for production applications, but they all require large capacity. 

Cohesity executives and supporters said the company is having a lot of success because IT managers are trying to do more with their existing storage budgets, and these budgets can be very large. For example, Cohesity investor and board member Gaurav Garg, a founding partner at Wing VC, said the company is growing as fast as some of the best startups he's seen.

"I've never seen a company growing like this while going after a clear existing budget that is so enormous," said Garg, who believes the addressable market for secondary storage is $30-$40 billion. 

Cohesity, which has 250 employees, is not disclosing the revenue number behind its 600% growth, though Aron said that the company is doubling the number of customers every quarter. The company in March raised a monster $90 million Series C round that was led by co-led by investors GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Sequoia Capital. The large team of investors also includes Cisco, HPE, Accel, Battery, and Wing, among others.

Meanwhile, Aron is still enjoying the success of Nutanix, which went public in 2017. On Thursday after the market closed, Nutanix raised its revenue guidance and expects to see $1 billion in revenue in 2017. It's stock climbed 36 cents to $22.36 (1.64%) in midday trading.