Category Archives: Vendor Brief

Cohesity Marketplace

During the recent #vRetreat event in London, Cohesity presented their latest release of DataPlatform – and with a launch happening the very weekend of the event, February 26 2019 this was timely presentation. This release included a number of new features- and when following up on the vRetreat event one which caught my attention is the Cohesity Marketplace.

The Marketplace is designed to allow third parties (plus your internal developers and Cohesity themselves) to release products that plug directly into the Cohesity framework- “bringing applications to the data, versus data to the applications”. From what I have seen of previous integrations they have been focussed on automating the backup/recovery process- for example using ServiceNow to provide end-users with self-service restores. This marketplace however allows third party applications to interact with and process the data on the Secondary Storage directly, without it leaving the appliance (or the public cloud storage). I see this as an interesting development, and visiting the website today you can get an idea of how this is going to grow.

Already in the list are analytics providers such as Splunk and Antivirus/ Threat Protection providers such as SentinelOne and ClamAV. The potential here for not just data protection but also analysis and business intelligence operations is intriguing- all that old, dark, data that companies hold but don’t make use of should be in this secondary storage and the ability to tap into that directly opens up many possibilities.

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This all sits alongside a new Developer Portal and the existing REST API and PowerShell frameworks provided for the DataPlatform. Apps can be developed in-house but the big benefit I see is the third-party products being presented to admins to deploy- simplifying the traditional method of liaising with all the vendors in your environment separately to try and achieve a level of integration. And because the data is being processed within the Cohesity platform there’s the benefits of additional security, less duplicated storage, reduced network costs, and potentially better performance because we’re not spending time shifting data around to process it.

It’s early days yet so there’s only a handful of apps available (Mid March 2019), but it will be interesting to see how this develops and whether the work developing apps falls to Cohesity or will partners and third-party vendors take up the mantle.

For more information, check out this video from Cohesity.


vRetreat February 2019- Secondary Storage with Cohesity

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the latest #vRetreat blogger event. This edition featured a day of presentations and labs from enterprise storage vendor Cohesity held at Chelsea Football Club in London. In my first blog post from the event I look at what Cohesity are doing to distinguish “Secondary Storage” from “Backup Storage”.IMG_20190222_105103399_sm

There’s a number of vendors on the market who can provide enterprises with a backup appliance and support for public cloud storage. Cohesity have looked at this and asked what other business operations can leverage this (comparatively) cheap storage media? I’ve heard their message of “we’re not backup, but secondary storage” before, but at this event the distinction really clicked with me.

IMG_20190222_110747824_smWhilst front-line production services often demand the best-performing storage possible, storage for backups doesn’t (hopefully) need to be accessed regularly and doesn’t require the speed of access that front line production systems might. Where possible organisations will purchase cheap(er) storage for this task, and this can lead to a separate backup storage silo.

If nearly 80 percent of stored data goes unused after 90 days then the majority of data on NAS/SAN filers also fits these access and performance characteristics, so why not combine the two and reduce the silo count? The Cohesity platform offers SMB and NFS, and can also function as an object store. This also helps justify the outlay on the storage for backup which, like an insurance policy, you hope to never actually need.

CohesitySimilarly test and development workloads can often (but not always) be run on lower performance storage than their production counterparts. Again these functions are looking for similar attributes to backup when it comes to storage- keep the cost/GB low and don’t impact on the performance of our primary production storage.

Cohesity’s DataPlatform consolidates the traditional backup storage platform along with the ability to spin out test and dev workloads directly from this data, whilst also providing host file and object storage. For example, when the primary storage is upgraded to all flash, the NAS or test workloads that don’t need this level of performance can use the Cohesity platform.1550869582007_sm

This was an interesting briefing, and for me this part definitely showed the potential for not thinking of your backup infrastructure solely as an insurance policy but continuing to find new ways to leverage that investment elsewhere in the IT function.

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a sponsored event rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment, although Cohesity did sponsor the lunch, T-shirt, and stadium tour at the event. Attendees were also given a pair of bright green socks and matching branded shoelaces so you should be able to spot them.

Vendor Brief: Rubrik-2018 Edition

Following on from a similar briefing at VMworld 2017 I sat down at this year’s event with a couple of the Rubrik execs to see what’s happened in the last 12 (and a bit) months, and what the future holds for the company.

IMG_20181106_155148405_editLast year Rubrik stood proudly on their flagship product- the “Brik” backup appliance and software, but since then their product range has expanded, primarily with their new lines “Polaris” and “Radar”. I see this as a pivot point in their development- they’ve established a solid foundation (both financially and reputationally) and are now expanding the portfolio and also their headcount, growing from ~350 staff to over 1500 in the past year.

However, as Rubrik VP Jerry Rijnbeek was keen to show, this isn’t a random or extravagant direction, but a journey that Rubrik has been on since it’s inception. Polaris is a data management platform, and Radar builds on that to provide anti-malware capabilities- but they’re both tied firmly into the backup application.

The ingenious bit here is that by sitting in the backup tier, the software “sees” all the data in the organisation, be it originating from legacy servers, a virtualised datacentre, or a cloud application. Even if the backup data is not stored on the Brik but pushed out to alternative storage (perhaps a NAS in the datacentre or commodity cloud storage) the Rubrik software already has enough metadata to be able to provide value.

In the case of Radar, the software establishes what normal behaviour looks like for an environment, it can then spot unusual activity- for example folders rapidly getting encrypted could point to encryption malware running riot on a file server, or a quantity of VMs being deleted could indicate a compromised admin account.  This is when Rubriks traditional powers kick in, allowing for live mounting of snapshots and therefore instant restore from a point before the infection took hold.

I got the impression this was only the first step as well- there were obviously plenty of ideas in the company of what other services they could offer having placed themselves at this particular point in the data chain which everything goes past. I’d definitely recommend keeping a watch here as the potential for useful analytics and automation is massive.

Back on the stand in the Solutions Exchange, in a sequel to last years giveaway of the vSphere Host Deep Dive, Rubrik had a thousand copies of the new Clustering Deep Dive book to give away, with the authors on hand to sign each copy.

Thanks to Jerry, Karl, and Vil for taking the time out of their show schedule to sit down with me and to Frank, Niels, and Duncan for their hard work signing books at the giveaway.

Please read my standard Declaration/Disclaimer and before rushing out to buy anything bear in mind that this article is based on a sales discussion at a trade show rather than a POC or production installation. I wasn’t paid to write this article or offered any payment, although in a spirit of full disclosure I did independently pick up a signed copy of the vSphere 6.7 Clustering DeepDive book being given away on the Rubrik stand and enjoyed an evening out at the annual Rubrik VMworld EU party.

Vendor Brief: Runecast

runecast3This evening I was amongst a group of vExperts attending a webinar briefing from Runecast. The company is relatively new on the scene at only a couple of years old, but the product has created a stir in the VMware community. In this briefing CEO Stanimir Markov gave an overview of the product before Senior Engineer Ivaylo Ivanov dived into a walkthrough of the vRealize Operations integration they have developed.

Runecast Analyzer is a platform which takes the VMware knowledge base,along with some expertise, best practises, and regulations (for example the DISA STIGs used by US Federal Agencies) and runs an analysis to determine which of these advisories or best practises apply to the target virtual infrastructure. This produces a report of findings – perhaps there’s a missing patch, or a configuration issue which has been flagged as a potential trouble-spot – which exposes existing issues and enables the admin to keep their infrastructure running smoother. Runecast also scour social media, blog articles, and online forums to pick up on potential issues sometimes before they have been officially recognised by VMware and made it into the Knowledge Base.

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Vendor Brief: Turbonomic

I’ve blogged about Turbonomic before– when they evolved from VMTurbo in 2016 and at VMworld 2017 in Barcelona I had a sit down with Perry and Giampiero from the company to see where the product was at 12 months on.

This is a single product company- “Turbonomic” is both the company name and the product name. The product “enables workload self-management” – in a nutshell monitors the environment to ensure that whenever possible applications are given the resources they require. Consider this at its core to be “DRS on steroids”- I was told they can get a density of 30% more VMs per host compared to normal VMware DRS.

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