Software Eats Complexity


Storage and Steve jobs

This week a colleague of mine from my VERITAS days and a super smart guy at all things storage, Doug Fallstrom, joined us at Coho Data. I am very thrilled and excited to have him on our team.  Doug’s joining Coho got me thinking: Could VERITAS Software succeed in today’s storage world? 

VERITAS was a great company to work for. The company had an exciting and differentiated value proposition in a world of proprietary storage hardware. Vendor independence, tight application integration, multi-platform support and superior performance made the VERITAS stack a must have for enterprise tier1 apps. But, on the other hand, it took days to setup and configure your system. This wasn’t entirely VERITAS’ fault, because in reality you had to purchase your application servers, pick an OS platform then pick your storage from a compatibility matrix and go through the painstaking process of installing and configuring all the components. This was tedious, time consuming, and error prone work.

Fast forward to the present day.  Last week, we had a Coho customer install where our appliance was online in 20 minutes.  The customer has his data stores created and ready for use in less time than it takes to eat a sandwich.  This is exactly what the customer has come to expect from good enterprise infrastructure products, and rightly so.  Sometimes I think of this as Steve Jobs’ revolution in the data center.  The consumerization of IT reflects Apple’s successes in building products that are dead simple to set up and use.  Data center admins have come to expect the same from enterprise products.

Coho Data UI


Simple, elegant user experience is only possible with an appliance model.  Combining the flexibility of commodity hardware with the power of software allows an engineering team to spend less time worrying about hardware compatibility and qualification, and to instead focus on what matters: building a great product that matches customer applications, workloads, and expectations. By using commodity hardware we leverage fast-paced technology innovation and it allows cost savings to be passed on to customers.Focusing efforts on ease of use and management means less Opex in hiring and training dedicated teams to maintain the solution.

VERITAS had a great product and a great run. But that was then. That model would have a tough time succeeding in the Steve Jobs-inspired data center. Doug knows this, that’s why he joined us.

Ramana (@ramanacoho)

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