June 30, 2021

The modern use cases driving an evolution in data protection and recovery

In our previous post, we looked at what’s driving the increased interest in Cohesity and introduced a few use cases that are behind this new interest. In this article, we want to further expand on these use cases to show how Cohesity is changing the way we think about data protection by making your secondary data more productive and secure, and processes more effective for:

  • File storage
  • Backup and archive
  • Secondary data management.

Use Case 1: Existing Backup Target

Example – Retain existing backup vendor and adopt web-scale backup target for short and long-term retention

This first use case is becoming increasingly common in today’s technology projects. You have an existing backup target that is in need of refresh and are looking to improve ingest rates, data reduction efficiencies, restoration times, security and resilience.

What can you do with Cohesity?

  1. Efficiency benefits from the deduplication and compression capability within the platform
  2. Add security components to your existing backup with immutable targets and encrypted data at rest
  3. Improved backup and restore times
  4. Provide web-scale capability to expand as your business grows
  5. Archive to cloud, Azure or AWS (for example) for long-term archive

Flexibility of target or hardware options

Cohesity’s data reduction efficiencies through deduplication and compression, removes the overhead from your existing solution with the potential to reduce hardware and backup window durations. The hyperconverged Cohesity platform provides the scalability for the cluster to support storage or throughput growth, as well as the opportunity to reduce the cluster as the business needs.

Quick restore

Cohesity is deployed to a minimum cluster of 3 nodes and is then scaled to increase storage and performance. As a result, ingest rates are simultaneously improved for both backup and restore functionality due to the distribution of the workload across the cluster nodes. The secondary driver is the additional consolidation of NAS workloads with smart files or a fully integrated backup solution that can take over the existing solution with Cohesity.

Cohesity brings this all into one platform with a great user interface (UI). The Cohesity Marketplace then provides published applications that can be overlaid on your platform, giving you more control and choices for uplift with your data from one location.

Use Case 2: Consolidate and Enable Every Cloud

Example – Multi-modal target environments and long-term object storage

You have a multi-modal target environment that you want to unify with Microsoft 365 and enable ease of long-term archive.

What can you do with Cohesity?

By placing a Cohesity cluster on-premises, you can perform a backup from Microsoft 365 and position an archive in a solution like AWS.

While Cohesity allows you to replicate your workloads into the cloud environment, using the Cohesity cluster in this way allows you to push workloads, from on-premises to Azure or AWS – changing the native format.

Changing the format provides additional benefits as you also get the actual virtual machine (VM) within that cloud instance, rather than the data going into the object store. For this particular use case, it is less about the data itself and more about managing the drive formats, the virtual machines, and which virtual networks connect into the cloud.

By changing formats, it is no longer just cold data – you have the capability to power on and use these machines as if they were on-premises.

Cloned workloads can then be used as an approximation of the live production environment for your disaster recovery with fast business recovery, or for testing your dev workloads.

You can pull data down and use it in the archive cluster, AWS, or Azure cloud for a long-time archive, or as fast restore locally if you need to. Simply spin up and tear down when no longer required.

In the event of a loss of the on-premises data, you can use Cohesity as a cloud model that allows your VMs to fire-up and recover your business quickly.

Use Case 3: Ransomware Protection

Example – Embedding ransomware protection without replacing existing systems

The recent global media coverage of high-profile ransomware attacks has really embedded them as a serious threat to all businesses. Complacency has fallen and organisations are actively looking for solutions to prevent the loss of data and/or the payment of huge ransom fees. A sobering stat from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) emphasises this point as they reported a 150% increase in ransomware attacks in Australia in the first half of 20201 . By using Cohesity, you automatically get ransomware protection capabilities that you can take advantage of.

So how can Cohesity help?

Cohesity uses a multi-layered approach to:

  • Protect your backup data with Cohesity’s combination of immutable backup snapshots, Data Lock, and multi-factor identification to ensure your backup data cannot be encrypted, modified, or deleted.
  • Detect any anomalies within your backup data that may indicate a ransomware threat.
  • Recover rapidly using instant mass restore to recover virtual machines, files, and objects.

Cohesity has two distinct capabilities for ransomware protection – Helios and Cohesity backup and snapshot.


Helios is intrinsic to the Cohesity platform itself and does not need to be enabled for a particular policy. Helios monitors unlimited clusters for ransomware, determining what it is, where it has occurred and what has happened regarding the backup component.

For example, you may have two data centres with two clusters, and you perform a backup. Helios constantly monitors for changes in the backup data behaviour in your snapshots and identifies potential ransomware, alerting you to where it’s attacked. Helios then gives you the specifics of the attack, whether it occurred in you backup and when.

With Cohesity, you automatically get the protection of Helios’ native gold-class ransomware monitoring support across your Cohesity footprint.

Snapshot Immutability

Helios also acts like a layer across your data. Snapshots can then be enabled for specific policy-based workload backups so you can restore capability to the specific point in time before ransomware was detected or flagged in your backup data by Helios.

Immutable snapshots support the broad protection of Helios with a more vertical approach to your protection and recovery by enabling specific workloads locations, or policies. If you enable immutable snapshots, it remains immutable for the length of that policy.

Use Case 4 – Unify and Consolidate your Workspace

Example – Use Cohesity SmartFiles in place of your NAS functions

What can you do with Cohesity?

Cohesity SmartFiles can be used to replace, or work in conjunction with your NAS type functions for increased scalability and reduction in hardware and costs.

Cohesity SmartFiles have native multiprotocol support for NFS, SMB, and S3. This ensures broad compatibility across users and applications whether on-premises or in the cloud. The Cohesity cluster itself has several views that you can present to users – NSF, SMB or S3 itself – in the one easy-to-use UI.

By using a Cohesity cluster and Helios, you can either combine Cohesity with your current NAS functions and object storage, or you can use SmartFiles and use only the Cohesity platform itself. This allows you to reduce the number of storage devices, vendor applications and unify your workspace to:

  • Reduce overhead by harnessing leading capacity efficiency and reducing hardware requirements
  • Increase scalability by adding additional nodes at your own pace
  • Consolidate your storage with a unique distributed file system within one platform to ensure dependability and resilience.


With data fragmented across multiple servers, VMs and cloud services, using and protecting your data has never presented a greater challenge.

What we need from our backup and restore technology has changed and become more complex. As a result, we’ve seen first-hand how the Cohesity platform has evolved as a leader for data protection and recovery today and into the future.

The modern use cases examined in this article highlight just a small section of the needs we are seeing emerge within our customers from their backup and restore solutions.

As a Cohesity partner, Data#3 has the experience and knowledge to help you take advantage of this new architecture in your own environment.

To see Cohesity in action for yourself, we can also facilitate a 30-day cloud trial based on VMware and Microsoft workloads. Contact us to register your interest.

Register for a 30-day free trial

1 OAIC, Notifiable Data Breaches Report: January–June 2020 [ONLINE]. Available here.