Newcomer Qumulo Launches ‘Universal-Scale’ File Storage System

QF2 is new-generation file storage system that creates a single file domain spanning both the data center and the cloud.


Enterprise storage admins need to wake up and smell the coffee: They are trying to handle the growing onslaught of data from all directions by using a set of file systems that were invented long before any of the IT trends we care about today came into being.

That’s like a third baseman trying to field line drives and grounders with his glove hand tied behind his back.

Scale-out network-attached storage maker Qumulo has its own ideas about how to solve this data stream and storage overload problem. The Seattle-based company on Sept. 19 introduced to general availability its Qumulo File Fabric, something it describes as the “world’s first universal-scale file storage system.”

QF2 is new-generation file storage system that creates a single file domain spanning both the data center and the cloud. Qumulo claims that enterprises using this will have the freedom to store, manage and access their file-based data in any operating environment, at petabyte and global scale.

File Storage, Not Block or Object

Please note: This is not object or block storage; it’s file storage. A lot of discussion in the storage industry lately has been around the rise of object storage, but that’s not where the world works, CTO and co-founder Peter Godman told eWEEK.

“Most software developers have no way of working directly against object storage, particularly,” Godman said. “Discovery, innovation—these things don’t happen against object storage. They happen against file (storage), and they scale to enormous degrees. We really feel that part of our job is to explain that.”

The company also said that QF2 includes real-time analytics and capacity quotas, as well as continuous cross-cluster replication and real-time snapshots. The QF2 file system includes a state-of-the art data management system called QumuloDB that is optimized for the specialized needs of file-based data.

QF2 includes both software and services, the latter of which include support, proactive cloud-based monitoring, and trends analysis, Godman said.

A global operating model for businesses has created new requirements for scale. These include the number of files stored, the ability to manage enormous data footprints in real time, the global distribution of data, and the need to take advantage of the cloud. These requirements require an entirely new class of storage solution, Godman said.

The Next Frontier for Storage Systems?

QF2 runs on industry standard hardware and was designed from the get-go to meet all requirements for scale. It has built-in, real-time diagnostics that enables administrators to manage data--no matter how large the footprint or where it’s located globally, Godman said.

QF2 includes new replication features, and its cross-cluster replication enables data to move where it’s needed, when it’s needed, on premises and on the cloud. Other features of QF2 are real-time quotas, advanced directory-level snapshots and real-time visibility into large data sets, which allow enterprises to manage file-based storage at massive scale.

QF2 offers the following key business features:

  • Billion-file scale: With QF2, enterprises can use any mix of large and small files and store as many files as needed. There is no practical limit with Qumulo’s advanced file-system technology. Many Qumulo customers have data footprints in excess of a billion files.
  • High performance: QF2 is optimized for standard hardware with SSDs and HDDs, which cost less than proprietary hardware. Its built-in block-based tiering of hot and cold data offers flash performance at hard-disk prices.
  • Real-time control at scale: QF2 provides real-time visibility and control for the data footprint at scale. QF2 replaces slow and cumbersome manual administration with the ability to see real-time usage, activity and throughput at any level of the unified directory structure, no matter how many files are in the file system. Administrators can pinpoint problems and instantly control how storage is used.
  • Freedom to store and access data anywhere: Enterprises can transform storage into a service that allows global collaboration. Data sets can be placed anywhere, in data centers and on the cloud. QF2 can be implemented across multiple operating environments that are connected using replication relationships, allowing companies to place data where it’s needed, when it’s needed, regardless of location.
  • Cloud-based monitoring and trends: QF2 lets users proactively detect and prevent problems on premises and on the cloud before they happen with cloud-based monitoring that enables fleet management. Access to historical trends helps lower costs and optimize workflows for best use of the storage investment.

Qumulo users currently include FuseFX, Hyundai Mobis, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and Sinclair Oil Corp., which are all using QF2 for mission-critical file-based workloads.

Qumulo also launched QF2 on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which became available starting Sept. 19.

Availability and Pricing

F2 is immediately available. For on-premises data centers, Qumulo offers subscription-based pricing that includes software and support. QF2 clusters on AWS have utility pricing that is based on hours of use, capacity and performance. QF2 can be used for free in non-clustered, standalone mode on AWS. For more information on QF2’s free usage tier, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...