Introduction to SmartFiles

Why deal with the complexity of maintaining separate platforms for files and objects? SmartFiles modernizes and simplifies data management, privacy, and control by providing one solution for multiple workloads. It empowers you to efficiently and securely govern data at scale, drastically reduce costs, and create limitless value from organizational data.

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Manage, secure, do more

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Manage your data at massive scale with software-defined simplicity and hybrid cloud flexibility to deploy on-premises, at the edge, or in your cloud of choice.

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Secure your data with a multilayered approach allowing quick response and recovery from emerging cyber and ransomware threats.

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Do more with your data using built-in intelligent data management capabilities and integrated Marketplace apps for powerful data management and insights.


Manage data efficiently

Efficient lifecycle management, policy-driven actions for automation, and dramatically less cost based on powerful data reduction technologies.

SmartFiles Global UI Features
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Natively multiprotocol

A unified solution for file and object workloads, with native support for NFS, SMB, and S3 that ensures broad compatibility across users and applications whether on-prem or in the cloud.

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Unified management

One UI to holistically manage, monitor, and search all your unstructured data. Machine learning-driven insights help detect anomalies and predict future needs.

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Global space efficiency

Achieve as much as 96x data reduction or more based on industry-leading capacity efficiency that’s guaranteed through global cross-volume deduplication and advanced compression technologies.

Defend your data

Integrated cybersecurity that’s easy to deploy and manage. Classify and discover sensitive data, achieve and maintain compliance and governance, identify and recover from cyber threats, and more.

Ransomware detection and recovery

SmartFiles provides AI-based threat intelligence to identify attacks and sudden changes in data over time, while dramatically accelerating recovery from unlimited immutable recovery points. Cohesity DataHawk also provides powerful ML-based detection of suspicious behaviors that could be indicators of a cyberattack, data exfiltration, or an internal bad actor.

Immutable by design

Mitigate cyberthreats and ransomware attacks with unlimited immutable snapshots and file and object-level WORM support. Securely vault your business critical snapshots to the cloud via integration with Cohesity FortKnox SaaS service.

Encryption and key management

Fortify datasets with software-based data-at-rest and data-in-flight encryption. Allow SmartFiles to manage your encryption keys with built-in key management, or use your own key management system.

SmartFiles Threat Detection

Do more with data

Extract value from data and gain actionable insights with powerful features and an ecosystem of integrated apps.

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Data insights

Protect your NAS investments with built-in features. Analyze data utilization trends on third-party devices, and automate movement of infrequently accessed data to SmartFiles or other tiers.

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Integrated virus detection

Safeguard your critical business data with integrated antivirus scanning on the same platform where your data resides.

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Audit trails and anomaly detection

Detect and get alerted on file-access patterns. Search audit and access logs to take proactive actions.

Optimize your storage capacity with Cohesity SmartFiles—guaranteed

If SmartFiles doesn’t provide greater capacity efficiency than your existing NAS solution, we’ll pay the difference.

SmartFiles Guaranteed

Cohesity has helped us modernize our data management and strengthen our security posture. We view Cohesity as a strategic partner that collaborates with us and is here to help us throughout our digital transformation.”

Guru Vasudeva, Nationwide

Guru Vasudeva

SVP and CTO, Infrastructure and Operations, Nationwide

Sky Lakes Medical Center Logo

Our organization suffered a critical ransomware attack, effectively crippling our entire infrastructure. With Cohesity, we've been able to recover machines and file shares, verify they're clean, and bring the applications back online. Cohesity has literally saved us hundreds of hours of work and I'd say it prevented us from having to actually pay the ransom note. We all still have jobs and the community has a functional hospital because we have had so much success with Cohesity.”

Sam Stewart, Sky Lakes Medical Headshot

Sam Stewart

Network Systems Analyst, Sky Lakes Medical Center

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Clauger has streamlined its data management onto a single Cohesity platform for not only backup and recovery, but also for file and object and cloud, with TCO savings of over 25%. We have greater speed and efficiency with Cohesity. For example, our file searches that previously took up to 30 minutes are now performed instantly."

Olivier Boute

IT Manager, Clauger

City of Santa Monica

SmartFiles provides a centralized way to easily manage and protect all of our enterprise files. It improves our availability, compliance, and risk management and improves business processes. We are incredibly happy with the SmartFiles solution and its high availability, even during upgrades."

Cazi Brasga

Systems Engineer, City of Santa Monica


Organizations can lower their expected total cost of storage ownership by up to 51% with SmartFiles versus continuing to operate their siloed storage deployments."

ESG Research

Recognized successes

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GigaOm Radar for Unstructured Data Management

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“Voice of the Customer”: Distributed File Systems and Object Storage"

Related products

File and Object

Harness, manage, and secure your file and object storage data so it can deliver continuous value.


Ransomware resiliency with highly secure, SaaS-based cyber vaulting.


Protect and recover against ransomware with threat protection, cyber vaulting, and ML-powered data classification—by identifying threats, assessing attack impact, and confidently recovering critical data.

Commonly asked questions about unstructured data

Although most common unstructured data consists of text, it can also feature numbers, images, and audio. Unstructured data is used within every function in business. Examples include: Finance (invoices, forms), Healthcare (medical records and images), Public Sector (documents, research data), Manufacturing (design files), Marketing (photos), IT (IoT data), Sales (emails with customers), Customer Service (social media), and more.

Although it’s changing and accumulating rapidly, much of the unstructured data that’s collected and stored is processed manually, if at all. For example, email is mostly processed by a human reading it, extracting what’s important (sometimes by copying and pasting into another email, or into an application), and taking action based on its contents.

But with advancing AI technologies such as machine learning, machine vision, and natural language processing, more of this unstructured information can be harnessed and analyzed automatically, driving faster business insight.

Structured data is data that’s stored in a fixed place within a file or record. It’s typically stored in a relational database (RDBMS) but can also be found in NoSQL databases, for example. Structured data can be text, dates, or numbers.

Unstructured data comprises file and object data and has not been defined or stored in a predefined way.

SmartFiles is a software-defined, massively scalable, and highly secure solution for unified management of files and objects.

SmartFiles enables organizations to eliminate data silos with native support for file and object protocols, including SMB, NFS, and S3, to consolidate data from:

  • Files from applications and NAS environments
  • Traditional archives, compliance, and backup datasets
  • Enterprise and custom applications that leverage S3 as a target
  • Modern IoT and analytics workloads

When you consolidate unstructured data on SmartFiles, it can be managed efficiently and securely with policy-driven actions. With simplified management via our global Helios UI, you can apply security and data protection policies to meet compliance requirements, create data lifecycle management policies to expire data, and automate data movement and placement across the datacenter and public clouds.

Reference Information

Integrated security, protection, and compliance

SmartFiles provides security and data protection levels that meet the high standards of government agencies, financial services, and healthcare organizations.

Consolidate data on a secure platform with SmartFiles

  • Protect your unstructured data from cyber threats like ransomware with unlimited immutable snapshots.
  • Detect ransomware threats with machine learning- based anomaly detection that can identify sudden changes to data over time, and analyze suspicious changes to files from encryption, renames, deletion operations, and more.
  • Recover quickly from ransomware attacks and other outages from any point in time.
  • Secure your data with the highest levels of encryption, both at-rest and in-flight.

SmartFiles controls and restricts access to data

  • Secure access and management of critical data with multifactor authentication, quorum authentication, and role-based access controls.
  • Audit trails to with proactive alerting and simplified analysis of user file behaviors

Integrated Cohesity services for threat detection, data vaulting, and more

Add-on integrated Cohesity services offer additional protection against cyberattacks.

  • Cohesity DataHawk: A Cohesity data security SaaS solution for threat intelligence and scanning, cyber vaulting, and ML-powered data classification. DataHawk protects enterprise organizations against ransomware and other threats with powerful ML-based detection of suspicious files and other behaviors that could be indicators of a malicious attack.
  • Cohesity FortKnox: A SaaS data isolation and recovery solution managed by Cohesity that securely vaults your data to the cloud for immutable protection and fast recovery.
  • Cohesity Marketplace Apps: Integrate an entire data management ecosystem on Cohesity Data Cloud for anti-virus protection, file audit, content search, and more.

You can download Cohesity-developed and third-party apps from the Cohesity App Marketplace. They allow you to integrate an entire data management ecosystem on a single Cohesity platform.

  • Spotlight App: Search audit logs to determine who is creating, modifying, accessing, or deleting files. Spotlight also flags anomalous users and entities.
  • Insight App: Perform easy and interactive text searches to gain insights for business and compliance purposes.
  • Data Insights: Scan 3rd party NAS systems, classify data as hot, warm, and cold, and analyze file information such as name, size, type, access patterns, and more. Create intelligent data lifecycle policies to seamlessly tier or move data to SmartFiles for cost-effective and secure long-term retention.

Reference Information

Our customers use SmartFiles across a broad range of use cases. Popular use cases include content management and secure digital repositories. SmartFiles can be used for managing corporate audio and video, video surveillance datasets, and machine data. It can also be used as a modern target for archive and backup data sets, replacing legacy solutions along with their associated high costs and scalability limitations. You can support multiple workloads with a single SmartFiles solution. Generally, the more data that’s managed by SmartFiles, the better your analytics-based insights will be.

The supported use cases cover a wide range of vertical markets and industries, including stringently regulated markets like Financial Services, Healthcare, Public Sector, and Manufacturing/Technology.

Reference Information:

Learn more
Analyst Report
GigaOm Report: GigaOm Sonar Report for File-Based Primary Storage Ransomware Protection
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Tip Sheet
3 reasons why SmartFiles is unparalleled for unstructured data management
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Solution Guide
Essential guide to modern data management
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Get more mileage from your NAS investment
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Isolate and recover your data from the cloud with Cohesity SmartFiles and FortKnox
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