Pure Storage and Cohesity have announced a jointly-engineered offering called FlashRecover, Powered by Cohesity that pairs Pure’s FlashBlade arrays with Cohesity software to provide a rapid recovery option for customers.

“We have done the engineering work to come out with a fully integrated appliance that allows customers to have rapid recovery and to be able to deploy it in a very rapid fashion,” said Charles Giancarlo, Pure Storage Chairman and CEO. “As a fully accountable organisation where we provide full support, we make it much much easier for our mutual customers to deploy a very rapid recovery solution to their environment.”

Charles Giancarlo, Pure Storage Chairman and CEO

Cohesity DataProtect software, running on a Cohesity certified Compute Node (a server, essentially), provides the orchestration mechanism that integrates with Pure’s snapshot technology and uses the FlashBlade as a flash-based storage location for backup data. The combination adds Cohesity’s data cataloging and analysis functions to the data movement and storage functions of Pure’s storage arrays in a “better together” approach that can be purchased directly from Pure Storage as an integrated solution. Data stored on the FlashBlade can also be repurposed for other uses, such as analytics, by making use of the FlashBlade’s support for multiple access protocols including NFS, SMB, and object.

While it’s possible to buy both FlashBlade and Cohesity separately, the two companies are betting that customers will prefer a pre-integrated option over doing the integration themselves.

Mohit Aron, Cohesity Founder and CEO (Image: Cohesity)

“We were often finding that customers were buying each product independently anyway, and they have to manage two different things as a result,” said Mohit Aron, Cohesity founder and CEO. “Rather than separately buying two products, with this partnership now they can just buy the whole stack in one go and manage it very, very easily.”

Pure Storage and Cohesity have also announced a strategic partnership, of which the co-engineered (and heavily co-branded) FlashRecover offering is presumably the first of many. Pure Storage is adding Cohesity DataProtect to Pure’s price list, so you’ll be able to buy Cohesity from Pure.

Since launching FlashBlade four years ago, Giancarlo says Pure has seen strong demand from customers using FlashBlade as a rapid recovery location for backup data. “When we first came out with [FlashBlade], the the idea of rapid recovery as a market for the product wasn’t actually one of the items that we had planned for, but it very rapidly rose to the top of the list one of use cases for FlashBlade,” he said.

Datasets continue to grow as customers generate more and more data; just look at the size of photos and videos taken by successive generations of smartphones, and the explosion of interest in machine-learning techniques that demand huge datasets to even start working. This creates problems for recovery techniques that require streaming data from a backup medium to the primary storage location before systems can be brought online. Both Giancarlo and Aron provided examples of customers that were unable to serve customers for days—and in one case a week—because of the time taken to recover.

These were all ‘successful’ recoveries, in terms of ability to restore data, and yet organisations are deciding that a few days is too long when it means their customers can’t access their services. That change in expectations, both of what counts as success and what is deemed affordable, is leading customers to reassess their existing ‘working’ data protection systems.

Software development work, often considered a non-production activity, is now being seen (correctly, in my opinion) as a production workload. Paying 25 or 100 developers unable to work because of a system outage starts to add up pretty quickly as an outage drags on. There comes a point when the (decreasing) cost of flash storage crosses the (increasing) cost of developer salaries and it’s just cheaper to buy a way to get them working again sooner if something should break.

Cohesity and Pure both cited evidence of an increase in ransomware attacks over the past six months, which aligns with what I’ve been hearing from other sources. While it’s difficult to determine primary causes, a contributing factor seems to be an increase in financial incentives; companies value their data more now and so are more willing to pay up if hit by ransomware, which motivates criminals looking to cash in.

As the old story goes: Why rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.

We’ve also seen evidence of ransomware that looks for backup systems in order to attack them first and thus cut off an alternative to paying a ransom to get data back. Giancarlo pointed out that older, perfectly functional backup systems are often just another system from ransomware’s perspective. Immutable snapshots provide another line of defence.

It will be interesting to see how this strategic partnership affects Pure’s relationship with other backup software vendors that their enterprise customers use. It is difficult to maintain multiple “most favoured nation” relationships but preferring one option over all others can cause problems with enterprises that happen to like one of the non-preferred nations.

The delicate dance of diplomacy will be something to keep a close eye on, particularly for clues regarding Cohesity’s potential exit routes and the timing thereof.

Disclosure: Pure Storage is a PivotNine client.

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