Cohesity adopts RHEL for Data Cloud

Red hat logo on building
Red hat logo on building

Data protector Cohesity is adopting IBM-owned Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as its Cohesity Data Cloud’s foundation OS.

The Cohesity Data Cloud software includes products/services such as DataProtect, FortKnox, DataHawk, SmartFiles, and SiteContinuity, accessible through a single interface and running on CentOS Linux. It’s available as a Cohesity-managed, self-managed on certified platforms, or partner-managed service. The certified platforms include VMware, Nutanix and Windows Hyper-V. Cohesity set up a data security and resiliency collaboration with IBM in March.

Sanjay Poonen, Cohesity CEO and president, said: “Cohesity forged a strategic partnership with IBM earlier this year, and we are thrilled to now also collaborate with Red Hat. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, our engineering teams can innovate faster.”

Red Hat President and CEO Mike Hicks implied RHEL is more secure than CentOS: “This foundation provides greater confidence that the Cohesity Data Cloud is working to address security at a fundamental level in support of modern hybrid cloud infrastructure.”

Cohesity’s CentOS engineers can now do other things, no longer having to bother with maintenance and patching burdens. It also says that by using RHEL, it will get a faster response to security vulnerabilities because Red Hat’s product security and security incident response teams are constantly analyzing, addressing, and mitigating Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) as they emerge. The underlying message here is that Cohesity is getting closer to IBM, and Red Hat is mopping up a competing Linux user.

There will be a straightforward migration process, with Red Hat tools designed to help make the transition to RHEL. Cohesity has already embedded RHEL into its Data Platform software.


What’s interesting to us is the ever closer relationship between IBM and Cohesity, with this latest arrangement being called a strategic collaboration. Perhaps Cohesity will have a role to play in IBM’s Cloud Object Storage (COS) service in the future, where Rubrik markets its involvement.

CEO Advisory Council

The company has also set up a CEO Advisory Council to advise Poonen on what to do. Cohesity likes councils. It previously set up a Security Advisory Council in September 2022.

Indra Nooyi, Jim Snabe, Ken Denman and Tami Erwin of the Cohesity CEO Advisory Council
From left Indra Nooyi, Jim Snabe, Ken Denman and Tami Erwin

There are four members:

  • Indra Nooyi: Former chair and CEO of PepsiCo. Current board director at Amazon, Philips, and the International Cricket Council. Named in the Top 10 of the Fortune Most Powerful Women List for several years.
  • Jim Snabe: Chairman at Siemens and Northvolt. Current board director at Former co-CEO of SAP. Member of Board of Trustees at the World Economic Forum.
  • Ken Denman: General partner at Sway Ventures. Current board director at Costco, VMware, Motorola Solutions. Former CEO of iPass, Openwave, and Emotient.
  • Tami Erwin: Former CEO and EVP of Verizon Business. Current board director at John Deere and York Space Systems, a member of Aptiv’s Strategic and Technology Advisory Council, and an Operating Partner at Digital Gravity. Named in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List.

What role will this quartet play in Cohesity’s CEO discussions? The company says they’ll help guide its CEO and executive staff in AI-powered data security and data management, and offer business insights to Poonen that inform and influence the company’s strategy. Poonen said: “I believe the advice and insight provided by Indra, Jim, Ken, and Tami will help us advance our strategies and scale our business globally.”

Perhaps they’ll help guide Cohesity towards an IPO.