Oct 21, 2020

Data Management as a Service—Why Clumio Beats Cohesity

Blue Formula 1 race car leading a group of F1 race cars
Chadd Kenney
Data Management as a Service—Why Clumio Beats Cohesity

The landscape is ever-changing in enterprise IT. The mindset for data management has shifted to a cloud first approach, which rejects the complexity of hardware, demands scale, and requires agility. At Clumio, we love innovating and flipping the industry on its head with new innovative technologies and services that change the customer experience. Jim Boyer, CIO, Rush Memorial stated “Clumio has been a disruptor that’s taken us to a different level. It would be great if every vendor worked like this.” The result for Rush Memorial was a massive reduction in complexity needed to manage their data. Now they can focus even more on their mission of leading the way in healthcare by offering their community the best and most advanced medical experience.

Clumio has been leading with the industry’s first cloud native data platform to protect public, private, and SaaS clouds in one service, one single pane of glass, and one customer experience. We provided the industry’s first integrated, cloud-native data protection solution for AWS EC2, EBS, and RDS that took the industry well beyond snapshots. We provided the first RDS solution that decouples the data from the infrastructure, built a time-series data lake with record and row-level retrieval via direct SQL query. And this is only the beginning for Clumio.

Recently, yet another vendor announced a new “as a service” product to help separate themselves from the rest of the hardware market. We were very flattered hearing Cohesity’s “Data Management as a Service” storyline as it is almost exactly the same as the vision we have provided to the market back in early 2019. But we realize that all this “as a service” talk can be confusing, so we wanted to detail three reasons why Clumio is years ahead of Cohesity’s Data Management as a Service:

#1 Clumio Data Management SaaS Delivers the Ultimate Simplicity

The best solutions provide a seamless user experience across all aspects of the service. Think about Apple; the simplicity and elegance are the same, no matter what product or service you leverage. In the cloud today, data is scattered across many clouds services, which increases the potential for complexity and a horrible user experience. At Clumio, we made the decision, based on customer feedback, that our service should be effortless to manage and consume. The platform backup features should be turnkey and the recovery process should be fast and flexible. It also provides a single, cohesive, real-time view of your entire <a href=”https://clumio.com/solutions/aws-backup/”>AWS backup</a> environment for simplified data retention policy compliance. We decoupled data from the infrastructure and built a time-series data lake, so customers could get to their database data faster without incurring the high costs of restoring to a new instance.

But there is a flip side to this story, which was showcased in Cohesity’s announcement, where they revealed yet another user experience stitched together with Helios. Now they have clusters on-premises in hardware, S3 offload to the cloud to make hardware cheaper, cloud clusters that can run in the cloud for a lift and shift option, Snapshot Manager for AWS backups, and a backup as a service solution that only supports VMware. Each of these solutions has different sizing, scaling, cost models, data source support, features, data management, etc…not a seamless experience.

Today, Clumio’s backup as a service cloud platform protects AWS native services, VMware, and Microsoft 365 all in one platform, with many more data sources, clouds, and data management solutions to come. But what is the user experience like?


flowchart showing clumio data management features

To learn more about our authentic SaaS solution, please check out What is Authentic SaaS for Enterprise Backup?

#2 Architecture Matters – Cloud Native vs “Refactoring”

Building a platform in the cloud is not a trivial task. Decisions made at the onset have substantial impact on the benefits and experience customers have with the solution long-term. One thing is for sure; the more you natively integrate with cloud native APIs and resources, the better the results in performance, scale, economics, and the ability to use new services the cloud provides directly. While this might sound rudimentary, the impact will be felt in all services, especially beyond data protection into “Data Management.”

With Cohesity positioning themselves in Data Management as a Service, we would have expected them to start fresh with a cloud native platform, but we were let down when their VP of Product announced “and we have taken the platform and **refactored** it into a series of cloud-native services.”

Translated a different way, it appears that they took what they built on their hardware appliances, and ported it to the cloud. This trade off of refactoring or porting, has two significant downsides:

  • Architectural Inefficiencies: Our guess is Cohesity used the same Cloud Edition released a while back marketed for test/dev and DR. Production use cases were not recommended, due to high levels of inefficiency, costs, and limited scale. Their Cloud Cluster is the ultimate “lift and shift” with a bunch of EC2 and EBS volumes emulating their hardware nodes in the cloud. Cloud Edition never took off as costs were much higher than on-premises with near zero benefits of cloud agility. Their recent offering has been refactored, which we understand to mean it’s using S3 instead of all EBS. Cohesity will either take the inefficiency off their margin or pass it on to the customer. I think we can all agree that if you were building a new cloud platform, this would not be the best route; but for Cohesity, it probably was the easiest to get to market.
  • Compute Scale: Software development in a finite computing model (running on nodes of hardware) is very different from software development in an infinite compute model of public cloud. In the data center, compute is running all the time and is a fixed sunk cost, but the cloud is really different where you pay for every compute cycle. When building a platform in the cloud, functional computing drives benefits of efficiency along with parallelism. This results in lower costs, faster backups and restores, and extension into use cases beyond backup.

Creating a cloud native architecture has substantial benefits which are detailed in Not All “Cloud-Native” Solutions Are Created Equal”

#3 It is a Multi-Cloud World

Enterprises today look to leverage whatever cloud can drive benefits and value. AWS has awesome services, but so does Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). At Clumio we started with AWS for our initial platform but we are not stopping there. We believe customers should be able to protect all their clouds along their journey with one common platform.

Cohesity, on the other hand, seems to be all in with AWS. When we first heard about the announcement, we actually thought that AWS was endorsing Cohesity as a preferred vendor backup, but after hearing more it is clearly the other way around. During their event, Cohesity’s CEO announced, “AWS is going to be our preferred cloud vendor, for running what we call data management as a service.” That sure sounds like Cohesity is locked into a single cloud vendor for a while. It will be interesting to see how this impacts their relationships with Microsoft Azure and GCP.

Closing Thoughts

We are excited to have more competition in this space, and even more excited to see what could evolve from yet another term: Data Management as a Service. We suppose we will wait for the next product announcement to find out.

Until next time, take care and stay SaaSy my friends! And Cohesity…you stay DMaaSy…whatever that is!