Cohesity Pioneers Data Management as a Service in Collaboration with AWS
By Afza Wajid, Global Business Lead, SaaS at AWS
By Bill Tarr, Sr. Solutions Architect, SaaS at AWS
Managing backups, archiving, and disaster recovery traditionally required piecing together multiple software solutions across physical locations and network topologies.
Trying to balance these disparate systems can result in expensive solutions, operational inefficiencies, and fragmented data. Dealing with the challenges of data management shifts organizational focus away from core business competencies, reduces agility, and limits bandwidth for providing value to customers.
Cohesity, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS Storage Competency, has released Data Management as a Service (DMaaS) as a solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that will radically simplify data management.
DMaaS helps enterprises realize efficiencies by combining many common use cases—including backup, archiving, disaster recovery, and analytics—into a single pane of glass they can use to manage their data. As a result, Cohesity’s customers can experience substantial cost savings, improved data resilience, greater availability, and enhanced security.
Working closely with teams from the AWS Partner Network (APN), AWS SaaS Factory, and AWS Marketplace, Cohesity navigated technical and business decisions to design, implement, and launch the DMaaS offering, while accelerating their time to market by 50 percent.
In this post, we speak with Kiran Bondalapati, Sr. Director of Engineering at Cohesity, and Vikram Kanodia, Sr. Director of Business Development at Cohesity, who share their insights from the recent DMaaS launch.
Q&A with Cohesity
SaaS Factory: Can you tell us about yourselves and your roles at Cohesity?
Kiran Bondalapati: I’m a Sr. Director of Engineering at Cohesity, leading the DMaaS initiative. I manage a large team of engineers that works closely with AWS on various aspects of developing and deploying DMaaS on AWS.
Vikram Kanodia: I’m the Sr. Director of Business Development. I manage Cohesity’s partnership with AWS, and lead the business aspects of the Cohesity-AWS collaboration.
SaaS Factory: Is DMaaS your first SaaS product launch?
Kiran Bondalapati: Yes, DMaaS is Cohesity’s first fully-managed ‘as-a-service’ offering for our customers.
SaaS Factory: What was the primary business objective for adopting SaaS as a business model?
Vikram Kanodia: As many organizations adopt cloud, there is a strong appetite to move towards ‘as-a-service’ models to radically simplify how they manage their data across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, and easily unlock limitless value from that data to gain a competitive edge.
Cohesity DMaaS enables customers to consolidate data efficiently, remove complexity to unlock agility, and innovate more with data. It’s a managed cloud service that provides comprehensive data management for multiple use cases, such as backup, archiving, disaster recovery, develop/test, analytics, files, and others. It consolidates data from these use cases into an efficient cloud service with capacity-based pricing.
DMaaS removes complexity by eliminating infrastructure and data silos, and enables agility by providing data on-demand and allows data to be managed by service level agreements (SLAs). It allows you to innovate more by providing quick access to data for developers and advanced cloud services.
SaaS Factory: Who are your core customers?
Vikram Kanodia: Cohesity is an industry agnostic solution. Historically, many of our customers were mid-market and above, but DMaaS expands Cohesity’s addressable market. The on-premises product is most suitable to large enterprises and mid-market customers, but with this launch Cohesity is well positioned to expand to smaller customers as well as large enterprises who are looking for a cloud-based SaaS solution.
SaaS Factory: What were the core technical challenges when designing your SaaS solution?
Kiran Bondalapati: Cohesity is already a mature enterprise grade product that has significant adoption among enterprise customers. When we decided to offer an ‘as-a-service’ solution, we needed to make our product cloud-native and significantly enhance the user experience, while still providing the same level of enterprise-grade features and resiliency.
We had to redesign our architecture to utilize the storage, networking and resiliency characteristics of AWS. Changing the assumptions we made in our architecture about on-premises data center versus the characteristics of AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon VPC, and Amazon EKS, was key to building our solution.
We had to enhance our metrics model and aggregation to enable metering and billing for capacity-based pricing and packaging for our customers. And we streamlined the onboarding process and interlinked backend systems to enable a seamless user-experience.
SaaS Factory: What organizational challenges did you face when moving to a SaaS model?
Vikram Kanodia: SaaS requires a comprehensive business transformation beyond just the product and architecture, and we learned that we had to engage the whole company. We engaged sales, marketing, finance, and operations to understand what it would take to deliver an end-to-end SaaS customer experience.
We transformed our business model to offer contracts with capacity-based pricing and packaging aligned with different customer segments. We aligned the sales model, as well as direct sales and channel strategy, for SaaS. We set up SaaS-specific metrics to define our organizational readiness for the SaaS product and business, and put in place mechanisms to track these metrics on an ongoing basis.
SaaS Factory: Can you describe your SaaS solutions architecture at a high level?
Kiran Bondalapati: Cohesity is implementing DMaaS to provide customers a solution that addresses their mass data fragmentation, and helps them derive value from their data while providing enterprise-grade protection and resiliency.
Cohesity SaaS architecture is multi-tenanted with Role Based Access Control (RBAC) support for customers, and it has two parts. The first part is the control plane built on Amazon EKS with Kubernetes microservices and Docker containers. The control plane runs management services such as provisioning, capacity management, auto scaling and healing, data processing pipeline, data lake, and data warehouse.
The second part is the data plane that is storage-centric and manages the data stored in Amazon S3 and Amazon S3 Glacier. The two parts seamlessly interoperate to provide data protection and other data management services.
SaaS Factory: Can you talk about how you engaged with AWS as you were developing DMaaS?
Vikram Kanodia: The APN serves as single control plane for operationalizing the AWS-Cohesity collaboration for build, market, and co-sell strategies. We work closely with the APN on collaborative promotional efforts, leads, and opportunities. Through the ISV Accelerate Program, we connect with AWS field teams.
AWS SaaS Factory helped us appreciate that being a successful SaaS company requires a comprehensive business model transformation beyond the product and architecture, and worked with us to implement these changes across multiple cross-functional teams. SaaS experts advised Cohesity on building and bringing to market Well-Architected solutions in alignment with industry benchmarks and best practices.
Kiran Bondalapati: Experts from AWS SaaS Factory and AWS Marketplace engaged with different teams at Cohesity—both technical and non-engineering teams—to address all the important aspects of building, launching, and operating a SaaS product. There were deep dives to address how we would integrate with AWS Marketplace, manage private offers, effectively engage the broader channel partner network, and implement mechanisms to measure and track success through clearly defined metrics.
It was truly a collaborative effort to get all of Cohesity onboarded into thinking like a SaaS company, design architecture, product line development, and actually getting it done, launching and managing the offering as a service hosted on AWS.
SaaS Factory: What do you think people miss or forget when they consider moving to the cloud?
Kiran Bondalapati: To paraphrase Cohesity CEO Mohit Aron, just because companies have moved to the cloud doesn’t mean that problem of mass fragmentation goes away. If you have every product in the cloud managing one separate copy of the data, you are again fragmenting your data. You are maintaining multiple copies and managing all of those copies separately, and that’s the problem we want to address when we roll out DMaaS.
DMaaS is an umbrella term comprising multiple offerings with the recently launched Backup as a Service being the first offering underneath that umbrella; thereby providing or eliminating that massive fragmentation. Cohesity can reduce your costs through DMaaS.
SaaS Factory: Any feedback on DMaaS from your early access customers?
Kiran Bondalapati: We have gone through both an alpha and preview with dozens of customers who have already used the product. We sell to a lot of larger enterprises who value our product, and it’s a very important product for them. They’ve tried out the new SaaS product and said, “It’s so easy to use, just click and protect your data.”
Vikram Kanodia: Another piece of early feedback from customers is that they are pleased with the seamless experience we offer as part of the DMaaS product. We’re offering them a single pane of glass to protect both their on-premises data as well as the workloads that are protected by the SaaS services. They like the simplicity, potential for cost reduction, and the frictionless experience.
SaaS Factory: Do you have other initiatives in the works as an AWS SaaS partner you want to speak to?
Vikram Kanodia: I think with the general availability release, we are just starting on our journey toward SaaS. We think we have a good product that has legs in the market, and meets the pain points that customers have.
We’re not going to stop with the product going GA. We’re going to continuous updates and enhancements in the product to meet the needs of our customers, as well as continue to build on this by offering additional use cases using, for example, AWS for disaster recovery. For Cohesity, this is just the start of our SaaS journey as we build and deliver on our vision of comprehensive Data Management as a Service.
Read more about Cohesity’s journey with SaaS Factory in our Partner Success Story.
Cohesity at AWS re:Invent 2020
Watch Doug Yeum, head of Global Partner Organization at AWS, joined by Cohesity CEO Mohit Aron at the AWS Partner Keynote during re:Invent.
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Cohesity – AWS Partner Spotlight
Cohesity is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner that offers modern Data Management as a Service (DMaaS) to customers. Simplify the way data is backed up, secured, governed, and analyzed.
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