Storage Product Analysis: How Cohesity 'App Stores' Secondary Data

PRODUCT REVIEW/ANALYSIS: Cohesity works by creating an abstraction layer that sits between the physical data sources and the applications that tap into the data to extract insights. This gives businesses a holistic view of all of their data.

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San Jose, Calif.-based storage software maker Cohesity has announced its new MarketPlace that makes shopping for apps on its DataPlatform as simple as buying an app for an iPhone. If you’re not familiar with Cohesity, the company calls itself a “hyper-converged secondary storage” vendor, which is a fancy way of saying it uses hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) as part of its solution to simplify the problem of managing secondary storage.

Cohesity works by creating an abstraction layer that sits between the physical data sources and the applications that tap into the data to extract insights. This gives businesses a holistic view of all of their data. The market place makes it easier for software vendors to build and market applications that take advantage of Cohesity’s platform. At launch, the market place has the following applications: Splunk, Imanis Data, Sentinal One, ClamAV and three Cohesity apps.

I’ve seen a number of news stories that have written about the announcement but none that actually highlight why this is so important, so I thought I would expand on this. The answer to this lies in accessibility to data, specifically secondary data. The digital transformation era has arrived, and it’s causing all industries to be turned upside down.

Key to It All: Turning Data into Insights

The key to achieving and sustaining market leadership lies in being able to turn data into insights. The problem for most organizations is that they’re only analyzing primary data--and missing out on the massive amounts of secondary data at the same time.

Think of the information that a company owns being an iceberg, in which primary data is the portion above the water, which is about 10 percent to 15 percent of the total mass. Secondary data is all the information that’s invisible to most organizations because its underwater but comprises the other 85-90 percent. The big issue in tapping into this gold mine of information is that it’s a complex and chaotic. Secondary data is stored on local computers, edge servers, on IoT devices and in myriad personal and business cloud services.

Often data is copied from one location to another, then copied again, stored in Slack, copied to DropBox, emailed in OneDrive. Then the data is backed up, restored--and the beat goes on. It’s enough to make Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” paraphrase: “Backups, endpoints and clouds, oh my!”

I’ve been referring to this problem as mass data fragmentation (MDF), and Cohesity solves the issue by providing visibility into all secondary data without requiring copying the data, migrating it or doing anything to it. The data stays put and Cohesity provides access to it, regardless of where it is.

Having access to secondary data doesn’t really do anything for the company other than perhaps open its eyes as to how much untapped potential there is in the mountains of information stored all over the place. Value is created when application vendors create apps that tap into the data to discover new insights.

What Cohesity Insight Does

For example, the Cohesity Insight app enables customers to easily perform an interactive text search on data stored in the Cohesity DataPlatform. Doing this without something like Cohesity would require copying massive amounts of data to a single location, and even then, there would be no assurance that all the data was searched. 

Another example is Imanis Data. which provides a single solution for the management of Hadoop and NoSQL application data. This includes data protection, orchestration and machine-learning powered automation.

The Cohesity MarketPlace provides a single portal for customers to browse apps and find ones that can benefit their business. Without the portal, businesses would either have to write their own just get lucky by randomly stumbling across the apps.

Imagine what life would be like without Apple’s App Store; it would be near impossible to find anything useful.  The MarketPlace exposes IT to a wide range of apps for various use cases, many of which companies would never have been aware. Going back to the iPhone example, no one would know to look for “Angry Birds” unless he or she saw it first. Similarly, with the Cohesity MarketPlace, how would someone known there was an anti-virus program for secondary storage called ClamAV, unless they were actually exposed to it? The answer is: They wouldn’t.

All Corporate Data Must Be Put to Use

It’s my belief that the most successful companies in the digital era are the ones that have the most data and the tools to find insights in the data. In data sciences, there’s an axiom: “Bad data leads to bad insights.” One could extrapolate that to “partial data leads to partial insights.” Winning today requires being able to tap into all of the company data, and Cohesity makes that possible. 

MarketPlace provides access to the necessary tools quickly to derive insights from the data without having to go through the process of building the apps in house.