Cogo Labs, a startup incubator based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has a proven track record of building enterprise value across multiple industries, from CourseAdvisor, a performance marketing solution for higher education; to EverQuote, an online marketplace for auto insurance; to Hopjump, an online travel booking provider driving efficiency and customer growth for travel service providers. Cogo is not a typical incubator or accelerator. It builds startups internally from the ground up, including the team, the tech, and, key to their successes: the data that drives their decision-making.
As Principal Solutions Architect at Cogo Labs, Ed Hammond’s job is to make the technology work for teams and make the 15+ petabytes of data accessible and usable to drive ROI. “We’re typically very early adopters because we have to be on our toes to launch successful companies,” Hammond says. “I’m always looking at new technology solutions to help our startups go to market faster. That’s why we adopted Pure Storage.”
Cogo currently runs more than 15 startups using Pure Storage® technology and is well-positioned for scalability with the Pure1® platform. “With the integration of Pure and Kubernetes, we’ve been able to build cloud-like one-click provisioning, allowing our startups to stand up a site and start monetizing within minutes,” says Joe Presbrey, CTO at Cogo Labs.
Pure Storage helps the incubator support an ever-growing lineup of startups in various stages of the process. The demands on storage run high as they analyze a massive amount of consumer data and run experiments on the Cogo Labs Platform—the secret sauce that allows the company to support so many companies.
Containerization Strategy Helps Startups Launch Faster
Cogo Labs startups are digital-native, building modern apps for modern consumers. For these young companies, it’s all about speed, flexibility, and scalability—time to market is everything. That’s why the incubator has long had a containerization strategy, driving rapid development and deployment, and the ability to move tools and apps anywhere as they spin out from Cogo Labs.
The company was an early adopter of Docker and recently started moving thousands of containers to Kubernetes to centralize management. Around the same time, it adopted Pure Storage FlashBlade® as fast file storage for its VMware clusters—dramatically boosting performance for application development and analytics. Cogo Labs soon realized it could do much more using the unified fast file and object (UFFO) platform.
“With Pure Storage FlashBlade’s file and object capabilities, we realized we could start to move toward a new model that would decouple storage and compute,” says Hammond. “Pure gives us the flexibility to drive our containerization strategy forward.”
Cogo Labs consolidated virtually all its workloads on FlashBlade using Pure Service Orchestrator™ to integrate storage with its Kubernetes environment. Pure Service Orchestrator brings cloud-like flexibility to storage management, with features like smart provisioning and elastic scaling, so the company can keep storage in lockstep with rapidly changing containerized workloads.
“We’re really taking advantage of Pure Service Orchestrator to optimize storage for our Kubernetes environment,” says Hammond. “It takes all the guesswork out of storage by treating every compute node the same. Since we first fired it up, it has worked great.”
Today, the incubator runs a long list of workloads on both FlashBlade and FlashArray™—workloads that are critical to quants and developers as they experiment with ideas and develop minimum viable products (MVPs). That includes 3,500 Kubernetes containers and various DevOps tools. It also includes MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Apache Cassandra databases, as well as analytics and search tools such as Apache Spark and Elasticsearch.
All the Flexibility of Cloud with Lower Costs
Cogo Labs also found that Pure offered a crucial bridge between its cloud deployments and its data center. In the past, the company was stuck keeping large, growing object stores in the cloud—and it was getting expensive. Now, because Pure offers S3 protocol compatibility, the incubator has been moving those workloads on-prem, with an immediate impact on costs.
“We’re moving some expensive, steady-state jobs off of AWS because we’re paying so much for them, we’re basically buying the hardware every three months,” says Hammond. “By keeping the data on-prem with Pure, we lowered our AWS bill 20% in one month.”
That lines up with a recent study conducted by Spiceworks Ziff-Davis on behalf of Pure Storage, which found that 44% of IT executives see cost efficiency as a top reason for supporting workloads on-prem.
Cogo Labs company is now looking at a petabyte-scale FlashArray to create a Tier 1 on-prem data lake for the S3 object storage. That means the startups at Cogo Labs can build their businesses fast, scale as needed, and tap into all the consumer data they need for targeted marketing. It’s a recipe for success as the incubator continues to generate winning ideas and transform them into profitable companies.
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