Cohesity – Backup and Recovery Game Changer

May 7th, 2019 Cohesity – Backup and Recovery Game Changer
Keith Thuerk
Storage Engineer


Modern Information Technology (IT) has a severe problem… it’s the 800-pound Gorilla in all data centers – oh yeah… I am calling out your legacy Backup and Recovery offering. Sure, your backup and recovery plan started out with a great, clean design, but has since suffered from all facets of technology bloat and sprawl. And yes, it has even suffered from neglect over the years without being revamped from the ground up. The foremost culprit is that nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to address the issues because unwinding the low hanging fruit could topple the whole apple cart. What do I mean? If you break backup, you own it, and thus, you must fix it. Don’t fix something that isn’t broke is the normal mantra in IT. Be honest now… you know it is true. If a traditional IT server life-cycle is 1-3 years, while storage is 3-5 years, and Network gear is 3-7 years, why has your Backup and Recovery environment not evolved to keep up? Do not be deluded into thinking more server ram and cores deal with the fundamental flaws of legacy backup offerings.

Evolution and Limitations of Legacy Backup

Let’s step back a minute and uncover how backup offerings have evolved. Please keep in mind that over the past 10-20 years, your enterprise may or may not have adopted any of these technological advance). While true backup and recovery might have morphed to add more proxy servers, or changed to the latest and greatest server and connectivity technology, more cores did not fix the glaring issue of islands of storage here and there; nor does it address recovery timeframes, which is a critical component of any DR plan. Other issues addressed on a piecemeal approach were the move from tape to tapeless, appliance sprawl, Proxy server sprawl and/or even Cloud backup offerings, to name a few. Did these offerings help or just move around responsibility; or, did they even expose your data to new potential security threats? Certainly, these technologies have added Change Block Tracking (CBT) to make them more efficient, but it doesn’t impact the overall backup and recovery architecture. Just what am I driving at? Hyper-scale or Web-scale architecture for secondary storage! There I said it! Now get off the floor and read on; please.

Cutting to the core of legacy backup offerings are their limiting factors, such as the catalog, legacy desktop protocols like CIFS & NFS, vendor lock-in, etc. You name a legacy backup product you know, where on a very bad day the catalog is corrupted; now, you have to restore it, and if it fails, you are in deep water with all the powers that be, who are watching your every move (like that helps.) Once the catalog is restored, then you can start the recovery process for VM instances, bare metal servers, etc. The issue of ever-growing restore times need to be reviewed and simplified. Or, perhaps you don’t have enough full-time employees for you to spend each and every day patching backup and recovering the environment, to keep up with all the Denial of Service exploits in desktop protocols or even Node.js exploits. You want a new, simple and flexible environment; right?

Regarding vendor lock-in, you know the type,,. data goes in, and it’s a bear to get data out (aka roach motel). You desire an open and flexible offering, which would savvy you time and effort so you can focus on other business tasks. Another limiting factor has been backup and recovery scale or scaling. I am talking about beyond 1PB, with one island of backup data – it’s not hard to blow past this capacity value today. The other glaring issue in legacy backup and recovery offerings is that there is no manner to monetize data. Yes, extracting value, not just saving data, is a requirement for every data center to help your business grow. Think of it as organic growth by harvesting what you already have, thus decreasing the cost to acquire new customers.

Sure, the IT industry has attempted several ways to work around legacy backup and recovery offerings, again avoiding touching the house of cards. One such offering is EFSS (aka Enterprise File Sync & Share) – the you don’t need backups any longer movement of the past few years. Sure, they tried to change the backup and recovery game, with little impact. I mean no disrespect for these products, as their specialties are in other areas, which brought considerable file flexibility to enterprises. They’re just not the from the ground up backup and recovery refresh to meet your modern data center needs.

Hyper-Scale Backup and Recovery

So, who offers hyper-scale backup and recovery offerings? Cohesity is one such offering that brings web-scale and a super-fast file system to secondary storage, along with simple scaling via the Cohesity Data Platform, with linear scale out to 256 nodes. Do you know the history of Cohesity? It was started back in 2013 by Mohit Aron, founder of Nutanix & the Google File System (F/S). He is a super intelligent and successful fellow that wants to change the secondary storage market using a radically simple backup and recovery infrastructure. The vision is to consolidate and simplify backup and recovery, thus bringing TCO savings around 50% to each customer.

While Cohesity is in the business of data center consolidations and bringing value to all your data (not just islands of your data), it includes data placement, based on factors such as QoS, performance and system state. Or, if your enterprise follows rigid data efficiency requirements for your enterprise secondary data, know that Cohesity supports compression and deduplication, as well as encryption. This is the responsible data approach today.

Not ready to throw out your current backup software? Fine. Cohesity can function as your backup target. A nice way to learn more about Cohesity and still leverage its power. Perhaps based upon experience you are concerned about ease of upgrades? Cohesity keeps them simple, enabling you to keep your backup environment up to date and secure no longer fearing upgrade schedules and all with minimal or no downtime. Cohesity also allows massive instant restoration of VM’s (100’s) vs other competitive offerings which have limits of 10 or less. Another reason to move to a modern data architecture, the need to combat malware and its devastating impact on Enterprises.

The Cohesity partner Ecosystem is expansive and continues to grow. Some partners are listed here – Cisco for Cisco Validated Designs (CVD), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, HPE, Pure Storage, VMware. (Please know this is not designed to be an exclusive list.) introduced in August 2018, Cohesity’s SaaS offering, Helios, brings all the simplicity of Cloud and Cohesity together enabling your enterprise to run Cohesity on-prem, in the cloud or both. Of course, you can leverage the IT automation leader, Red Hat Ansible, to deploy your Cohesity environment to ease deployments (greenfield or upgrades). Cohesity can save your enterprise more money with flat and fair maintenance charges too.

In summary, Cohesity is a backup and recovery game changer, allowing your enterprise to simplify backup and recovery, monetize data and exploit Ansible for Automation. What more could you ask for?

Why not partner with a firm that has 30-years of rock-solid IT solutions experience and let us take on modernizing your backup and recovery environment. Reach out to your Mainline AE directly, and let’s get started.

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