Qumulo releases NVMe all-flash P series

Qumulo’s P-series NVMe flash offering that was announced last fall now hits the market, initially targeted at the most demanding of use cases of workload-intensive sectors like media and entertainment.

Ben Gitenstein, Qumulo’s VP of Product Management

Seattle-based file storage vendor Qumulo has launched its all NVMe, all flash array. The Qumulo P-series, which was announced last fall, combines the Qumulo File Fabric [QF2] software with high-speed NVMe, Intel Skylake SP processors, high-bandwidth Intel SSDs and 100GbE networking.

“This is the general availability of the new offering – the NVME all-flash array,” said Ben Gitenstein, Qumulo’s VP of Product Management. “Our file system is natively built for billions of files. That scalability is where we really shine. The challenge for us is bringing that file system to platforms that are relevant for these different workloads. This product is built for the most demanding of workloads. Not every workload needs this.”

Workloads that do include next-generation genomic sequencing and analysis, uncompressed 4K editorial, scientific computing and large-scale datasets for machine learning applications. The Qumulo P-series has throughput of 4GB/s a node, to deliver 16GBs per second in a four-node system with what Qumulo says is the world’s highest performance file storage system. It does this while providing all the core features of QF2, avoiding the problem that plagued early NVMe of lacking enterprise services that customers now expect. These include real-time visibility and control, real-time capacity quotas, continuous replication, support for both SMB and NFS protocols, complete programmability with REST APIs, and ultra-fast rebuild times.

The first wave of modern NVMe technology products that came to market also had to deal with what was then a significant price premium for NVMe. Today, that has pretty much disappeared.

“We have found that it is now actually the same price as regular SSDs because the cost of NVMe has fallen precipitously in the last six months,” Gitenstein said. “We expected the price to come down, but not as fast as it has. The price has come down because the hardware vendors are moving to NVMe, because it became clearer that the legacy interfaces for flash in the hardware ecosystem would not be adequate to support NVMe. If you aren’t there now, you are on the wrong side of history.”

Gitenstein indicated that the fall in the price of NVMe has impacted how they will sell the product.

“Our go-to-market became much crisper in the last three to four months because of this,” he said. “We always knew that we would be selling into demanding workflows. It is totally possible now that we will sell this to customers who never buy anything else from us, who want this just for the most demanding parts of the workload.”

Gitenstein said that in any event, their price-performance ratio is far superior to systems with conventional SSDs, and their pricing is less expensive that competitors in the NVMe space.

“We can be price competitive with Pure and [Dell EMC] Isilon on any deal, and do it at very healthy margins,” he said.

Gitenstein said that ultimately, because of its technology proficiency, without a price premium, NVMe will become standard throughout the industry.

“Will the P-series be our flagship product? Definitely. We don’t know how long that will take, however.”

The Qumulo P-series is generally available now in 23TB and 92TB node sizes, with at least four nodes being required for a QF2 cluster.

One of the use cases for the Qumulo P-series will be in media entertainment industry, which has those very demanding workloads where the solution is used to best advantage.

“We are focused on visual effects for post-production/ animation rendering and editorial/video editing, which are enabled in part by NVMe,” said Jay Wampold, Qumulo’s VP of Marketing. “Media and entertainment have been early adopters of emerging platforms and especially distributed file systems. We didn’t focus there first – but we are now at a point of maturity where we are becoming the standard for this. Eight of the ten largest Hollywood studios now use us. We will be showcasing a number at the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters show this week [April 7-12, in Las Vegas], and also announcing a number of new customers as well.

The new customers include 9 Story Media Group, Falcon’s Creative, Pure Imagination and RodeoFX, Existing M&E customers include alter ego, Ant Farm, Atomic Fiction, Awesometown, Blind Studios, Crafty Apes, The DAVE School, Deluxe VR, DreamWorks Animation, Eight Solutions, FotoKem, FuseFX, Intelligent Creatures, Mr. X, MSG Networks, Pipeline Studios, Sportvision, and ZOIC Studios.