Less clutter. More clout

Date: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 13:27

Primary storage is the privileged data, held close to the processor on costly rapid access chips, allowing lightning fast availability for on-going critical computing. Secondary storage plays the Cinderella role, holding less urgent data that will or might sometimes be wanted on whatever storage media are available. It’s the difference between having a textbook open on your desk, versus knowing there is a copy in the library should it be needed

Less clutter. More clout

Mohit Aron, CEO of Cohesity

Image credited to NetEvents

Hyper-convergence seeks to shrink that gap, bringing all data closer to the efficiency, accessibility and order of primary storage. Is this realistic? Mohit Aron, CEO of Cohesity, says “Yes. We do it.”
“We don’t need another deckchair. There’s the one I stuck in the attic a couple of years ago!” Then comes the dispiriting search through years of accumulated junk and the growing realisation that it might be more cost-efficient simply to buy a new one. It’s bad enough keeping track of one’s own storage, but when a whole family is sharing the same storage it becomes a nightmare: “Why do we need nine overnight cases with broken handles for a family of four?”
According to Mohit Aron, Founder and CEO of a company called Cohesity, things are not that different in the tightly structured, hi-tech, high speed, razor-sharp world of today’s enterprise datacenters. Speaking at NetEvents 2017 Global Press Summit, in a debate on Re-imagining the Enterprise Datacenter he said: “What is secondary storage? It consists of backups, of tasks in development, a lot of analytics – anything that's non-mission critical, anything that doesn’t require instant access… The problem is that for each of these workflows our customers have to go buy solutions from multiple vendors. Even within backups, they have to go to different vendors - one for backup software, another to buy storage, another to buy a media server. So we have a mess in the data centre.”
What his company was aiming to deliver was: “a Google-like scalable platform on which we can consolidate all these workflows.” That is no idle boast, as Mohit Aron spent five years at Google helping build the renowned Google File System. Thinking about my cluttered attic, I was also interested to listen to him being interviewed by NetEvent’s Manek Dubash after the debate. Asked about his work, Mohit said: “Cohesity is into disrupting the secondary storage market, that is, the part of storage that is the unsexy part, the part that doesn’t run production, everything that’s non-mission critical.” 
“The problem is that the storage that consists of workflows, like backups, test and development, analytics, they all run in silos from different vendors, and the way we are doing the disruption is, we are bringing them onto one platform, consolidating them in one place, building a scale-out platform. We call it hyper-converged secondary storage. That’s what we’re about.”
It is such an obvious need in any enterprise to manage data sprawl, surely everyone is trying to do this? So what makes Cohesity different? Mohit had the answer: “The problems of all these silos are recognised by industry, but unfortunately, in the last 10 to 20 years, there have only been point solutions to individual problems. What makes us unique is that we’re the first ones looking at the whole of the space holistically, and coming up with a way to consolidate and fix these problems in a more holistic fashion. We believe we are the only ones doing that.”
But isn’t this what the move to cloud storage is all about? Manek asked him: “Isn’t the cloud going to put you out of business?” Mohit presented an accommodation analogy: “We view the cloud as like renting a hotel or a storage box, and the datacenter like owning a house.” He points out the pros and cons: more security and control at home, but as it tends towards chaos one longs for the flexibility of a hotel. What Mohit is offering is the best of both worlds: to simplify the house, connect it with the cloud, and provide a single continuum, “cloud is a partner, not something we are at odds with.”
And it is working. On the panel debate he gave the example of their most recent customer, a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services: “When I first met them they said - jokingly - that they have a ‘no vendor left behind’ policy, so they pretty much had a cloud from every storage vendor in the secondary storage space, and they were frankly tired of that infrastructure.”
“What we offered them is something very simple - one vendor to collapse all of that and shrink the data centre, along with 50% to 80% reduction in their costs... At the same time we offered them a path to the cloud through our native integration with the cloud. They can now transparently move applications back and forth between the cloud and the data centre.”
Manek asked Mohit what his vision was for the future and he replied: “I want a world where people have a simple house - the datacentre - and they have the ability to use the hotels and the storage boxes - the cloud - and they don’t know the distinction. They basically view this as one continuum, on which they can run their applications, put some SLA on and it runs wherever it makes the most economical sense and yet meets their SLAs.”
Mohit Aron is contributing another significant factor in the quest for greater agility, while saving a considerable amount of time and effort in any enterprise. We might even end up with more free time to locate those lost deckchairs…

To see the full interview go to http://tv.netevents.org/disrupting-enterprise-storage-hyperconverged-consolidation/

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