Cohesity Expands into File and Object Storage


By: R. Scott Raynovich

Cohesity, the software-defined storage player that is addressing the market for secondary storage -- or storage of non-production data -- today announced that it's expanding its platform to handle file and object storage, in addition to data protection.

Recently the San Jose, Calif.-based company announced sales growth of 600 percent in 2017. Now it's striking into a new market while the iron is hot. Cohesity founder and CEO Mohit Aron, who was also a co-founder of Nutanix (NTNX), left Nutanix in 2013 to start Cohesity, when he suspected that secondary storage could be adapted to a similar software-based, "scale out" model which has driven the model for servers and storage in cloud infrastructure. This hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market is growing fast and is being pursued by many players such as Cisco (CSCO), Dell EMC, Nutanix, and HPE (HPE).

In a recent interview with Futuriom (to be published here next week) Aron said he believes the market for non-production data storage is a huge, multibillion-dollar opportunity, beyond the production environment being pursued by existing HCI and software-defined storage players. "What else is there that is in data center? Well there is everything that’s non-production. It’s all fragmented. You have to buy everything from a different vendor. Can’t we consolidate everything?"

One of the metaphors that has been used to describe secondary storage is that of an "iceberg" market, where there could be more opportunities to store the data in the ice lurking below the surface. Whereas production storage is addressed by most vendors and can be seen as the ice floating above the water, there is a vast amount of data such as DevOps, backup, archiving, and analytics, in the bottom part of the iceberg.

Gartner has predicted that by 2021, more than 80 percent of enterprise data will be stored in scale-out storage systems in enterprise and cloud data centers, up from 30 percent today. Following Cohesity's theme of providing scale-out storage for fragmented markets, object and file storage fragmentation seems the next logical place to go. It's addressed by dozens of vendors and it has an estimated market size of $20 billion, according to IDC.

File and object storage is more complicated because the data is unstructured, meaning it doesn't always live in a specific database.

"It's in fragmented silos," says Patrick Rogers, Cohesity's VP marketing. "It is difficult to move capacity around. Then there is the problem of dark data -- finding what you are looking for."

Cohesity plans to help these issues with search, analytics, and indexing features in its platform. The new Cohesity platform also uses a distributed file system, SpanFS, that the company says is webscale strength and can scale performance linearly as more capacity is added. This storage technology offers multi-protocol access (NFS, SMB and S3), along with global deduplication.

As part of the rollout of file and object storage capabilities, Cohesity announced that Manhattan Associates, a supply chain e-commerce vendor, is using Cohesity for data protection and cloud integration. Manhattan Associates said in a press release that the move has helped reduce Capital expenses (CapEx), Operating expenses (OpEx), improved flexibility, and sped up backup windows. Cohesity also said that the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSCB) is using the platform.