Pure And Cohesity Partnership: Data Recovery At The Speed Of Flash

Pure Storage & Cohestiy
 MOOR INSIGHTS & STRATEGY

How rapidly can your organization recover from a ransomware attack? Imagine that your business has shifted to a work-from-home model. Thousands of your users have migrated to remote desktops, putting the integrity of your virtual machine images directly into your business’s critical path. Suddenly your enterprise, like an estimated 2,300 others each day, is hit by a cyber-attack that completely shuts down all users. Every second waiting to recovery is money lost. 

The crown jewel of any enterprise is its data. Ensuring the integrity of that data is a fundamental responsibility of the IT organization. Data protection allows organizations to mitigate data loss while ensuring the continuous operation of business-critical systems. Every IT organization today has a data protection strategy. 

There are three essential elements to any data protection strategy: operational recovery, data recovery and integrity, and compliance with regulatory and corporate data policies. While each is of equal importance, it is the operational recovery time that most impacts the day-to-day operation of an IT group. When systems are down, your customers will notice.

There’s no shortage of backup and recovery solutions on the market promising to protect your data. Dell Technologies has an excellent line of stand-alone data protection appliances with its Dell EMC PowerProtect portfolio. Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers its HPE StoreOnce stand-alone backup and recovery appliance. Commvault, Veeam, Rubrik, Cohesity, and others provide software-based solutions that allow you to roll-your-own solutions.

There is a gap. Missing in the data protection market has been a fully integrated solution combining ultra-rapid recovery times that only all-flash storage can provide with comprehensive data protection capabilities that manage data across the enterprise. Pure Storage and Cohesity have forged a strategic partnership designed to close that gap, delivering the Pure Storage FlashRecover as a first step.

Two like-minded companies

When I heard that Pure Storage and Cohesity planned to form a strategic partnership to combine the best elements of each into a dedicated data protection solution, it made perfect sense. These companies are more alike than you realize. 

Setting aside technology for a moment, Cohesity and Pure Storage have much in common. They are of like mind. Both companies are founded on the principle that the technology industry delivers overly complex solutions to customers, and that customers suffer from that approach. Pure Storage and Cohesity are both lauded for providing simple-to-operate solutions coupled with simple-to-engage business models.  It’s an approach that resonates with customers. 

Pure Storage is one of the few enterprise infrastructure companies that publish its Net Promoter scores (NPS), which measure overall customer satisfaction. Pure’s NPS has hovered in the mid-80’s for over half a decade (the benchmark for the industry is about half of that). Tracking that score is critical enough that Pure’s CEO Charlie Giancarlo was alarmed when its most recent score suffered a minor drop, telling me in a recent conversation that he’s implemented KPIs across the organization to bring it back in line. 

Impressive as Pure’s Net Promoter score is, Cohesity has it beat. Cohesity’s NPS score has been in the mid-90’s for over a year straight, achieving an unheard-of perfect 100in January of this year.  Cohesity’s CEO, Mohit Aron, sets the tone, driving a customer-obsessed culture where he promises to move mountains to make customers happy. His favorite KPI aims at the goal that “our customers will rave about us.” Mohit seems to be doing just fine on that front. 

These company’s focus on simplicity and customer delight makes a difference. In a storage market that has been flat-to-down for the past several quarters, Pure Storage has out-delivered the overall market. Pure was one of only two storage companies who demonstrated positive growth in Q1 of this year (the other being IBM Corporation, who grew business based on a strong mainframe refresh cycle), showing top-line revenue growth of about 12%. 

Cohesity, a company focused both on data protection and solutions to wrangle data sprawl across the enterprise, is in the midst of a strong growth spurt of its own. While the privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue numbers, Cohesity did report publicly that it doubled its customer count and the amount of customer data-under-management from January 2019 through January 2020, while increasing its recurring revenue by 150%. Whatever the underlying numbers might be, that’s compelling growth in the competitive data management space. 

Cohesity’s investors have noticed. The company completed a $250M Series E funding round earlier this year that values Cohesity at over $2.5B. That’s a strong vote of confidence in this market.

Data protection at the speed of flash 

FlashRecover is the first fruit of a new strategic partnership between Cohesity and Pure Storage. The solution integrates the best of Pure’s FlashBlade technology with Cohesity’s DataProtect backup and recovery capabilities. The result is an integrated data protection solution designed for extremely rapid operational recovery while also supporting the enterprise’s broader data protection needs.

Pure Storage’s FlashBlade is a high-performance, scalable all-flash file and object storage solution. FlashBlade is fast. Fully scaled, FlashBlade can deliver up to 24M NFS IOPS across up to 15GB/s of bandwidth. There isn’t much on the market in its class that can touch FlashBlade.

Cohesity’s DataProtect is a software-defined backup and recovery solution. DataProtect simplifies data protection, delivering a simple unified policy-based management experience that unites the various backup silos that plague enterprise IT. Beyond simplicity, DataProtect is also very fast, capable of providing near-zero recovery point objectives across a large number of scenarios.

Putting FlashBlade and DataProtect together into the new Pure FlashRecover, powered by Cohesity, makes sense. FlashRecover removes a level of needless complexity while also delivering the performance required to rapidly restore data under protection. FlashRecover promises to deliver up to 3x faster backup and recovery while managing up to one petabyte per day. At the same time, FlashRecover maintains all of the functionality of FlashBlade, making this far more than a dedicated backup appliance. 

What’s it all mean? 

I love the name of this product. There are a myriad of ways to implement data protection, but a key metric for any IT organization is its ability to rapidly restore data when needed. Pure FlashRecover, powered by Cohesity, is targeted at rapid restoration and data recovery. There’s no question that the underlying FlashBlade platform can deliver.

Not all data needs protection at the speed of flash. Most of an organization’s data is locked away, rarely to be seen again. Traditional disk-based solutions, or even cloud archiving, make sense for that data. But there will always be data that must be instantly recoverable.

FlashRecover addresses both of these needs. Data stored on FlashBlade will be instantly recoverable, while Cohesity’s DataProtect software offers a broad enterprise-wide view of data under its protection. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach, but one that is fully integrated. That is FlashRecovery’s differentiation in the crowded data protection market.

The storage and data protection markets tend to take one of two approaches. There are dedicated backup and recovery appliances, such as the Dell EMC PowerProtect series, and there are software-alliances that promote interoperability between backup software and storage arrays. Nearly every storage and backup software vendor have such an arrangement.

Pure and Cohesity are taking an approach that’s different from most of the competitive field, one that delivers much-needed capabilities while simplifying the experience for IT.  Unifying data protection and fast file and object storage makes sense. It’s early to know how the market will react and what adoption will look like, but I like the direction.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.