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Google-infused storage startup Cohesity reveals itself

Bob Brown | June 18, 2015
Armed with US$70M in venture funding, Cohesity aims to streamline secondary storage mess

Software-wise, that's where formats come in. Primary storage you keep the format of whatever application it resides in -- for example, if you're running virtualization you'd be storing things like VMDKs. But when you back up to a secondary device it depends on the backup software. Some keeps content in its own custom format so that it's not the same as in the primary. What we want to do is go away from all that, we don't want multiple formats floating around. Our backup software is going to keep content in the exact same format as it was on the primary. That's important because you can use this, for example, to create clones and run analytics off it. That's how the convergence comes in.

How does what Cohesity is doing differ from the sort of hyperconvergence defined by companies like Nutanix?

Hyperconvergence is well understood to apply to the convergence of [storage and compute] hardware only and it helps virtualization environments. This is a much more general form of convergence where you're not only converging hardware but also a bunch of secondary storage software workflows, such as test and dev, which run on one kind of hardware, and then analytics, which runs on another kind of software.

And is there a cloud component?

Of course. Think about data protection, which consists of multiple workflows itself. There is backup software, backup storage, the archival piece and the cloud piece. For all of these, people have point solutions today and have to go to different vendors to get those. So when we talk about the convergence of all secondary workflows, we are also talking about the convergence of the cloud. So on this one platform you will connect your cloud [in an encrypted fashion] and we will be able to migrate data disparately between the cloud and your on-premises hardware.

Can you give me a sense of the company's culture? I saw you once tweet about "celebrating the holidays the Nutanix way" by issuing iPad minis to all employees. Will Cohesity employees be getting Apple Watches?

Already done. Last winter, even though the Apple Watch wasn't already out, we gave a $400 Apple gift card to every employee to go buy an Apple Watch whenever it does come... I hope they come out with a nice new gizmo next winter that I can give to my employees... A few more things about the culture. I deeply believe in the philosophy of a consensus-based system; there's no "My way or the highway," though we do have leaders to intervene if no consensus is reached. We hire smart people and give them enough power to make decisions. I also believe that every leader should have an individual contribution component. I'm an engineer by profession and my individual contribution was driving the core archicture that our world-class engineering team is delivering on. That's where the respect comes from, you respect leaders who are with you in the trenches and don't just shout orders from their offices.


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