A partnership between the two companies will bring enhanced security to data protection offerings.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 12, 2023

3 Min Read
System integration
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Data protection provider Cohesity is integrating its DataProtect and FortKnox offerings with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI and Microsoft’s flagship security capabilities. Cohesity on Tuesday announced that it expanded its existing alliance with Microsoft.

The new pact is the latest effort by Cohesity’s new president and CEO, Sanjay Poonen, to go deeper with Microsoft. As VMware’s COO, Poonen was responsible for bringing the virtualization company closer to Microsoft when the companies were fierce competitors.

“We’re replicating much of that playbook here,” Poonen said during a webinar on Tuesday to outline the new partnership. And we’re going to do that in a way where joint customers could benefit.”

While Cohesity and Microsoft aren’t competitors, Cohesity currently has righter integrations with AWS.

“We want to be multicloud, and it’s all about helping joint customers and joint partners,” Poonen added.

De-Meno-Randy_Parablu.jpg

Parablu’s Randy De Meno

“Cohesity is still primarily an AWS shop,” said Randy De Meno, chief strategy officer at Parablu, which partnered with Cohesity last year. “Sanjay is working to help them become more cloud-agnostic and not thought of as just an AWS shop.”

The companies’ pact calls for them to collaborate on integrating Cohesity’s DataProtect backup and recovery offering with Microsoft Sentinel. Cohesity is also working with Microsoft to incorporate Azure Active Directory to provide multifactor authentication to Cohesity’s offerings. Those services include Cohesity Data Cloud and Cohesity Cloud Services.

Azure OpenAI Integration

Protecting backups is critical for companies that rely on them if a ransomware attacker gains access to an essential production system. While Cohesity emphasized that it already uses AI for anomaly detection, the company believes Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service could enable advanced discovery capabilities.

Cohesity plans to tie its AI-capable data structure with OpenAI, to advance generative AI capabilities to provide more reliable threat detection, classification and anomaly detection. It will use the Microsoft iteration of retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), the chat modeling capability added to Microsoft Bing with ChatGPT.

“RAG is super powerful for how customers are going to use this going forward,” said Eric Boyd corporate VP of Microsoft’s AI platform. “Now you can add to the power to have a really intelligent reasoning engine on top of this search data.”

Greg Stratton, Cohesity’s senior director of engineering, explained how Cohesity sees incorporating OpenAI into its offerings.

“We want to be able to enable users to drive operational efficiencies elsewhere in their environment with that data,” Stratton said. “And now what we can do, powered with tools like Azure OpenAI, is we can drive a conversational question and answer, or this retrieval augmented generation of the data that’s sitting in their backup without having to move it somewhere else in a really secure way.”

Cohesity Cloud Services On Azure

Besides the services under development, Cohesity launched two new offerings now available on Microsoft Azure. One is Cohesity FortKnox, its SaaS-based vaulting service. The other, Cohesity DataProtect backup as a service, now can protect Microsoft 365 workloads.

During the webinar, Theresa Miller, director of Cohesity’s technical advisory group, demonstrated the planned capability to enable immutable, air-gapped backups on FortKnox.

“This is giving enterprises a secure recovery point for their data,” Miller said.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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