Seattle-based Qumulo, which describes itself as “the simple way to manage exabyte-scale data anywhere,” recently announced a new version of its Scale Anywhere platform.
The solution, which can run on commodity hardware or in the public cloud, seeks to help enterprises vexed by unstructured data. The company says that Scale Anywhere uses a unified approach to improve efficiency, security, and business agility.
In a briefing with ZK Research, Qumulo CTO Kiran Bhageshpur gave me some background on the platform. “We look at this as being the third era of unstructured data,” he told me. “The first era was NetApp with scale-up, dual controller architectures, and millions of files. It was really a sort of analysis box, if you will. The second era was Isilon, then EMC Isilon, now Dell EMC Isilon, which is scale-out storage, hardware appliances, on-premises, lots of them together to form large single volumes.”
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Cloud-Based Qumulo Competes with Legacy Systems
Kiran said that Qumulo started in the cloud computing era, looked at the world, and realized it was no longer the scale-up or scale-out era.
“This is the scale-anywhere era of large-scale data,” he said. “It’s not only lots of data in the enterprise data center—there is incredible growth in the cloud and out at the edge. And Qumulo, with a pure software solution, can now present a solution for all of this data—cloud, on-premises, and the edge in one consistent way.”
Qumulo says that Scale Anywhere introduces a way for enterprises to use on-premises storage in a similar way to cloud storage.
The company jointly developed Azure Native Qumulo (ANQ) with Microsoft. This cloud-native enterprise file system helps eliminate the tradeoffs that often come with balancing scale, economics, and performance.
Qumulo is trumpeting a number of advantages to the approach, including:
- Affordability: Qumulo says that ANQ is about 80% cheaper than competitive offerings and compares well to the costs of traditional on-premises storage.
- Elasticity: Qumulo says that ANQ separates the scalability of capacity and performance so they can operate independently.
- Cloud configurable: Qumulo says enterprises can use the Azure service portal to configure and deploy ANQ quickly.
- Data services: Qumulo says that ANQ provides several data services, including quotas, snapshots, multi-protocol access, enterprise security integrations, and real-time data analytics.
The company also announced Qumulo Global Namespace (Q-GNS), which acts as a unified data plane for unstructured data.
“This is the core feature of the underlying Qumulo file system, and it allows the customer to access remote data on a remote Qumulo cluster as if it were local,” Kiran told me. “Think of two, three, or four Qumulo clusters talking to each other. You can connect to the local one. And as long as it’s configured correctly, you can access data on a Qumulo cluster in the cloud or on-premises halfway across the world, and it feels as though it were local.”
In the announcement, JD Whitlock, CIO of Dayton Children’s Hospital, said that his hospital uses Q-GNS.
“We are rapidly adopting cloud to store our long-term radiology images while keeping new images on-premises,” Whitlock said. “Qumulo’s Global Namespace makes it easy to bring our file-based workloads to the cloud without refactoring any applications.”
Bottom Line: Storage for the Cloud Era
Legacy storage vendors like Dell EMC view data storage as an entitlement and haven’t delivered innovation in years. Many believe storage to be a commodity with little room for new features and functions, but that’s not true. The announcement by Qumulo modernizes storage for the cloud era. The company has a lot of work ahead of it, but the approach is innovative and might just make a dent in the defenses of the legacy players.
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