Cohesity – What is a secondary storage platform

Datetime:2016-08-23 01:40:37          Topic:          Share

Cohesity is a secondary storage platform built on the principles of hyper-convergence.  But what does this  mean? What is a secondary storage system and what is the benefit of being built on hyper-convergence?

Lets define Secondary Storage: Secondary Storage is the storage that is used for everything else than running virtual machines in your environment.

Primary storage is the storage used for running virtual machines in the data center you need strict SLA and high performance and you are probably looking into putting them on all-flash-array or a modern hybrid array. Examples of primary storage systems are systems like XtremIO, Compellent, 3Par, Nimble, Tintri, Pure, Netapp and the like. Your VMware ESXi servers will consume the storage as a block device or NFS share. Once deployed and setup as a datastore in VMware you start to put your VM’s on the storage. Even VMware VSAN a primary storage system. It is simply built for running virtual machines.

From a storage capacity perspective 20% of  of your data should belong to the primary storage platform and the rest 80% should be on your secondary storage platform. You may argue that 100% of your data is on the primary storage platform and that can be the case. But if this is true it means you are missing out on a big opportunity of moving your data center to the next level.

Data that should not be on the primary storage platform includes

  • Backup data of your virtual machines and applications
  • Test / Dev virtual machines
  • Archive data
  • File shares

Cohesity has built a Hyper-Converged storage platform that will handle all of these workloads. Built on principles on Hyper-Convergence it is designed to scale. The minimum configuration is 3 nodes and the maximum of nodes are infinite! There is no ceiling on how many nodes you can add to the platform. Each node is a compute system with 8x Intel xeon processors, 64GB of memory, 24TB of hard disk capacity and 1.6TB of PCI-E flash. Full node information here . You get 4 nodes in a 2U chassis and this provides you with 96 TB of raw capacity.

Some of the benefits of the Cohesity scale-out hyper-converged storage platform

  • If a node crashes other nodes will continue carrying the load. You can then choose to fix the node or let it be down.
  • with VIP (virtual IPs) any node can perform the work of another node.
  • Non-Disruptive upgrades – while the system is running you can upgrade the software. No need for service windows!
  • All nodes got lots of CPU resources that will enable new services and visibility into data.
  • Linear scalability
  • Scales to infinite capacity
  • OASIS file system with SnapTree, Global-De-dupe(variable length) and compression. All technologies to make sure you get much higher data capacity than just the raw terabytes available.

The secondary storage platform needs data to be to any use. How do you get data on it?

  • Use it as a de-dupe target appliance for any existing backup software
  • Use the built-in VADP data protection engine to replace the software you are currently using to backup VMware.
  • Use it as a filer (SMB or NFS share)

Once you got the data on the system it will allow you to do new things:

  • All data is always indexed and can be accessed with google-like-search
  • Run analytics on your indexed data (search for credit card numbers, social security numbers or anything you can think of)
  • Understand Dark-Data. Where did all of my capacity go? Where is my hot and cold data?
  • Replicate the data to a Cohesity cluster in another site or replicate the data to a cloud provider.
  • Spin up virtual machines from the backup in seconds, all snapshots are fully hydrated and accessible at any given time. This is awesome for test/dev use-cases or to test the impact of patching a system without impacting production.

These are just some of the benefits of secondary storage.