Cohesity Exits Stealth With $70M Cash, Converged Secondary Storage Solution

Storage startup Cohesity this week came out of stealth mode with $70 million in venture funding and a plan to bring a unified secondary storage platform to the channel.

Cohesity also unveiled the availability of its first product, a high-density storage array designed to handle the full range of secondary storage requirements including data protection, devops and business analytics.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Cohesity was founded by CEO Mohit Aron, a long-term storage veteran who also co-founded hyper-converged infrastructure developer Nutanix. Aron also was on the engineering team that developed the Google File System.

[Related: Nutanix To Beta Free Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Software]

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Aron told CRN that he left Nutanix in early 2013 because of the change in how customers were consuming storage.

"I pioneered the technology at Nutanix," he said. "It felt natural. But I also looked at secondary storage, where we're seeing far more capacity than with primary storage. I saw an opportunity there to bring hyper-convergence to secondary storage."

Cohesity wants to disrupt secondary storage, which Aron defined as all the storage that is not primary storage. "That is usually thought to be data protection," he said. "But now we define it to be data which is not in production but which needs SLAs, including data in devops environments and analytics environments."

Secondary storage data, whether stored for data protection, devops or analytics, is typically fragmented, and hard to manage on solutions that do not scale well, Aron said. "So we feel a need to disrupt this market with one comprehensive solution to manage all the problems," he said.

Cohesity's response is the Cohesity Data Platform, an infinitely scalable converged platform that provides a full range of integrated data protection services, including storage of backed up data, archival data and cloud connectivity.

The Cohesity Data Platform also allows data to be easily cloned for test and development. It also includes an integrated data analytics software application, or allows integration with customers' choice of application, Aron said.

The basic building block of the Cohesity Data Platform is a 2U hardware appliance with three or four server nodes and up to 96 TBs of raw disk space and 6 TBs of flash storage. Customers need a minimum of three nodes to run. Upgrades and installation are all done without disrupting operations, he said.

Cohesity may also make the software available to others to integrate on their own hardware, but is not yet doing so, he said.

The company for now is handling sales directly, with fulfillment through channel partners, Aron said. While it has pilot programs with some channel partners, none has been officially announced, he said.

"This is the same business model we used when Nutanix started," he said. "We're targeting midmarket and enterprise customers. Fortunately, secondary storage is a well-understood business, unlike when Nutanix first started and we had to educate the market."

Cohesity may actually have to do some education, as solution providers contacted by CRN seemed unsure of what the impact of its solution might be.

The secondary storage market is getting crowded, said Carl Wolfston, principal at Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based solution provider with a focus on midmarket and enterprise storage.

"The word 'converged' is getting to be used too much without definition, sort of what has happened with the word 'cloud,' " Wolfston told CRN. "But I am impressed that Cohesity got so much venture funding."

Steve Welch, CEO of Nascent Integrated Solutions, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based solution provider that works with several early-stage vendors, said he has been waiting to see what Cohesity has been doing while in stealth mode.

Welch told CRN there are a lot of startups in the secondary storage market. "I'm starting to see a blur between all the startups," he said. "It's disconcerting. I have to disseminate information about them to my customers."

A fully configured Cohesity Data Platform solution with four nodes is expected to have a street price of about $100,000 when it becomes available late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, Aron said. That price includes all hardware and software features, with no additional license to buy.