LAS VEGAS — Santa Clara-based Coho Data has recently revamped itself from a scale-out converged storage vendor selling a box into a software-defined storage player. That transformation led it to intensify its relationship with HPE, to the point where it has made it essentially its entire route to market. That route will now see Coho Data’s software packaged on an HPE Apollo server with Arista switches, and sold through HPE and its channel through the HPE Complete program as an enterprise private cloud solution.
Coho Data came out of stealth in late 2013. The core of the company was originally from XenSource, which was acquired by Citrix in 2007. Most of their engineering team is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. This year, however, they made a major strategic pivot, moving away from their original model which leveraged off-the-shelf commodity hardware in a flash-optimized scale-out enterprise storage solution.
“Until this year, we were a standard storage vendor selling our software on a SuperMicro platform,” said Garry Olah, Coho Data’s VP of business development and the lead on their HPE partnership. “In that role, we were basically pushing a rock up a hill. So we changed this year, to become a software-defined company.”
Both HPE and Intel had been investors in Coho Data, and with the change in focus, the company also decided to better leverage its powerful partners.
“We considered what we could do to double down on those relationships,” Olah said. With Intel, they are heavily partnered around NVMe flash, which Olah said they expect will come on strong as it starts to be delivered by Intel. With HPE, the investment is even more significant. The old Coho Data had both a small direct sales force and a select reseller channel, and leveraged distribution. The new Coho Data has decided to rely completely on HPE and its channel to go to market.
“Our channel strategy has changed dramatically,” Olah said. “Before, we were just too small to go to market effectively. Now, we don’t have a channel. We have HPE and their channel. We are putting all our eggs in the HPE basket.”
The HPE Complete Coho Data platform provides a turnkey scale-out solution that combines compute, storage, network and software into one data platform. It is optimized for virtualized workloads, and is extremely simple.
“We took the controller out of the unit, which makes it super-simple,” Olah said. “There are no LUNs or volumes to configure.”
Coho Data leverages OpenStack, does a lot of work with containers, and goes after VMware shops. Their main competition has been Pure Storage and Tintri, and to a lesser degree, NetApp and Dell EMC’s ScaleIO.
Following three months of testing on HPE hardware, Coho Data signed the agreement with HPE two months ago.
“At that time, we did a private launch of the solution, where the SKU wasn’t publicly available but could be obtained by special request,” Olah indicated. “Now we are going to public launch, and the solution is fully available to HPE and its partners.”
Out of the gate, the HPE Complete Coho Data platform will be available on HPE Apollo high-density servers.
“We chose that, because they were almost identical to the SuperMicro servers we were already certified on,” Olah said.
With Coho Data basically betting the future of their company on HPE, HPE is also betting heavily on Coho Data in the converged segment of their go-to-market strategy, positioning it to the HPE sales force as the ideal converged offering alongside their own Nimble, 3PAR and SimpliVity products in other segments.
“They have turned us into a converged swim lane in their go-to-market strategy,” Olah stated.
The offering is available now.