The Coho DataStream
Modernizing data management

The management of enterprise-level data storage is a highly technical, granular and multi-layered service. And yet Coho Data wanted their web app to be simple, smart, and intuitive. Challenge... noted.
Web app, tablet app

View it

Coho Data
UI art direction + design (research, visual concept, style guides, layout, typography, iconography, interaction + animation samples) 

Andrew Warfield (Coho CTO) // Michael Welsman-Dinelle, Alex Bradley (developers)

Coho say what?
The product

From 2011-2017, Coho Data provided “big data” enterprise storage solutions. Its mission: bring the efficiency and flexibility of the public cloud (think Dropbox) into the big leagues of on-premise data centres (IBM, EMC), where performance and control are crucial.

Coho sought to eliminate much of the technical / hardware know-how that customers had traditionally needed, and in turn provide:

  • the invisibility of cloud-based services, where provisioning, management and optimization are largely handled for the user, behind-the-scenes
  • simple plug-and-play deployment
  • easy modular scale-out — buy what you need when you need it — rather than risky forecasting and big upfront investments in hardware

Swimming upstream
My role

My challenge was to design the software UI for a highly technical service, yet have it reflect Coho’s user experience promises: simplicity, intuition, and a degree of “don’t worry; we’ve got this.”  

But not so fast. The web app also needed to provide access to a granular behind-the-scenes level, for those times when, say, a distant hiccup in a single virtual machine was wreaking havoc on disk performance.

In a nutshell, show ease of use with power under the hood.

As such, each design sprint required a new round of education on my part — can read requests go to both flash and disk drives? what type of switch has a QSFP+ port? — so I could design for the user’s needs, expectations and ignorances.