In October last year Cohesity announced a close collaboration with AWS. Data Management-as-a-Service (DMaaS) should eventually make everything Cohesity has developed available as a service in the AWS cloud. The first component is DataProtect delivered as service. That is available in Europe from now on, after it was officially released earlier in the US and Australia/New Zealand.
DMaaS is a very important part in Cohesity’s strategy and for its future. Being able to offer the portfolio as a service, where Cohesity takes care of the underlying infrastructure (in this case in AWS), ensures that the services are greatly simplified for customers. Of course, that in turn means that Cohesity can get a bigger slice of the market to sign up for its services.
DataProtect as a service
The first step in Cohesity’s DMaaS strategy is, as mentioned, DataProtect delivered as a service, as Cohesity itself calls it. So they are not going for the usual aaS add-on here. DataProtect is of course also the name Cohesity uses for the on-prem backup solution. Using the same name for the as-a-service variant indicates that the product is identical (apart from the way it is deployed, obviously), an exact replica of the on-prem version.
Although Cohesity doesn’t position itself as a hardcore backup player, backups are the foundation for everything the company does. Hence, it makes sense to start its DMaaS portfolio with this Backup-as-a-Service service.
With the DMaaS version of DataProtect, customers can use the service without having to add all the complexity. At least that’s the promise Cohesity makes. Setting up backups should not take more than a few minutes thanks to automated detection and protection of (new) workloads. Of course, all this works smartly, so no more bandwidth than strictly necessary is used. The platform only sends data blocks that have changed, both ways. Further, Cohesity makes a snapshot of the data and stores it elsewhere. This to improve the security posture and to be able to separate data if necessary from a legal or compliance point of view.
When Cohesity announced DMaaS in October 2020, the company promised it would be available in Europe in the first half of 2021. So it narrowly succeeded. But from now on it should all move a bit faster. In fact, SiteContinuity is already on its way. This is a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). It offers organizations DR without having to build a second data center to retrieve the data from in case of a disaster. It uses the AWS infrastructure for this purpose.
In addition to SiteContinuity, File-as-a-Service and Test Data Management-as-a-Service will also be introduced. The focuses specifically on developers. A spokesperson told us that there will probably also be a service focused on governance. Many customers have asked for that, so Cohesity should be able to deliver something for that as well.
Cohesity will initially offer the new DMaaS service(s) through Frankfurt. That’s a very modern European region of AWS, where it also offers many different services. In the summer, London will follow. Paris will then follow in the fall of this year.
Helios at the center of it all
The new services within Cohesity’s DMaaS offering are of course very interesting in themselves. However, they are not what the company is really about in terms of strategy and vision. In the end, it’s about more than only efficient data management, without worrying about the underlying complexity. The idea is also that you can manage everything centrally through an admin console, preferably in the cloud. That’s what Helios is for. Helios is a vital part of Cohesity’s future.
With Helios, Cohesity can really flesh out their platform play towards a true data management platform. With it, you can centrally manage all of the company’s different products and services, from a single console. Helios already existed before the announcement of DMaaS last year, by the way. For a long time, it was the only SaaS component in the Cohesity offering. The idea is that with the availability of the DMaaS components, it will be much closer to the services of AWS. Helios should thus become the platform through which data is routed to the various services of AWS.
The idea behind Helios being near the services of AWS is that it will allow you to get more out of your data. During its announcement last year, Cohesity talked about AWS Macie for Compliance-as-a-Service, AWS Glue for managing data lakes (ETL) and Analytics-as-a-Service, AWS Redshift for cloud data warehousing and AWS SageMaker for ML-as-a-Service. You can basically use all of AWS’ services to do more with your data.
Only on AWS (for now)
At the moment, the partnership between Cohesity and AWS is exclusive. This means that you won’t be able to get a license for Cohesity’s DMaaS offering in other clouds. In itself, this exclusivity is not so strange, considering that AWS made a large investment in Cohesity in the most recent (fifth) investment round. You can wonder, however, whether it is wise to offer something so new and important to Cohesity in only one cloud.
Cohesity has always been open about this exclusivity. They don’t see it as a problem. The exclusivity lasts only for a limited time, Cohesity tells us. After that Cohesity is free to also offer the services on other cloud platforms. If you consider that we now have the first component (DataProtect), and other components will still take some time before they are available, the exclusivity may only last for a very short time before other major cloud vendors are engaged too. In addition, it is obviously important for Cohesity to market the new platform well. Then focusing on a single cloud provider (the largest of all) is probably a good idea.
Either way, we will be following Cohesity closely, to see how they transition from an on-prem player to cloud player. If there’s anything new to report, we will let you know.