Cohesity’s platform lets enterprises run a range of secondary data workloads across on-premises and cloud infrastructure. These capabilities include long-term data retention and archiving, backup, disaster recovery, and test and development.
Because Schneider Electric is also a Microsoft Azure customer, the global energy management and data center company used Cohesity’s cloud backup service that integrates with Azure Archive blob storage. This provides low-cost archiving for long-term retention of data that’s unlikely to be accessed in the near future.
Using Cohesity’s technology helped Schneider Electric eliminate its reliance on legacy backup, including tape storage, and shift to a hybrid cloud approach. This saved money, and it also improved backup snapshot frequency and recovery times, said Gary Jackson, global IT leader, energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric.
“We’re an Azure partner, so it made perfect sense that all of our archive data would go to Microsoft Azure, and Cohesity was able to meet all the encryption requirements we had,” he said. “It was an easy move for us.” He cited Cohesity’s deduplication and change-block tracking data protection features as a couple of the capabilities that made the process easy and kept costs low.
No More Tape
Before moving to Cohesity, Schneider Electric used traditional backup and recovery systems from Veritas and Quest Software. The IT team felt frustrated by slow backup times and wanted to replace tape storage and older distributed file systems, Jackson said.
“Ninety percent of our environment was virtualized, but we were backing up with a solution that wasn’t made for virtualization,” he said. “Our data footprint was getting much larger, but the technology doing our backup was still old school. We were feeling a lot of pain around that.”
The company originally looked into Cohesity and its main competitor, fellow secondary storage provider Rubrik. “We liked Rubrik better from first look, but [at the time] they wouldn’t support physical environments and we didn’t want two backup platforms.” (Rubrik’s platform now provides backup and other data management services for virtual and traditional on-premises workloads.)
Cohesity’s platform, however, did have a virtual and hardware form factor, so Schneider Electric chose it.
Schneider Electric first deployed Cohesity devices in its North American data centers in 2016 before moving on to Belgium, Australia, and Budapest. Cohesity is now deployed in all of its six data centers globally.
The company is also rolling out Cohesity virtual appliances in its 22 other sites — these are smaller offices and remote facilities.
Cohesity Got Creative
Upon choosing Cohesity, the SD-storage startup’s customer support quickly became a top benefit, Jackson said.
“A big thing that got us heavily motivated to move forward with Cohesity was the support we received from their sales engineers,” Jackson said. “We have 28 locations globally and Cohesity being a new company wasn’t in a lot of those markets. But that didn’t stop them from making it happen. They just got creative.”
Cohesity didn’t have a presence in Australia, for example. So a Cohesity sales engineer flew to Australia to help Schneider Electric network administrators deploy the platform at the data center in that region. “Those things that go above and beyond make us feel like this is a partnership,” Jackson said.
Of course, cost savings played a major role as well.
At its Australia data center alone Schneider Electric now saves $3,000 a year just on tape storage and about $7,000 a year in total costs. That figure jumps to $15,000 annually for the company’s two U.S. data centers.
“Without all the tape maintenance, and refresh, we’re saving $50,000 to $60,000 a year,” Jackson said, adding that the company will see a five-year return on investment from its Cohesity deployment.
The technology and cost savings is enough to make an IT team feel jazzed up about secondary data storage, Jackson said: “Backup solutions are not exciting solutions, but we’re excited about Cohesity.”