Qumulo unveils disruptive entry level offering for archive file storage

Qumulo combines their extreme scale-out Qumulo File Fabric software in a dense 1U box with dense 12TB drives powered by a system-on-a-chip, to provide a new lower-cost offering designed to make archives much more accessible to users than has been the case until now.

Seattle-based file storage vendor Qumulo has introduced the Qumulo Active Archive K-Series, a new offering which delivers the company’s  QF2 Qumulo File Fabric software in a 1U commodity box. It becomes their entry level product, and with several clear objectives. It is specifically designed for the archive market, to offer nearline performance at archive prices. It also offers the full features of their scale-out software in a less expensive form factor, which they calculate will expand Qumulo’s total addressable market to a new set of customers.

“We have taken the same software that runs our file storage system, and used it to introduce a low-end member of our product family,” said Peter Zaballos, Qumulo’s brand new Chief Marketing Officer. “We think that it pretty fundamentally disrupts the whole idea of archive, by delivering it in a form factor that combines nearline performance and archive pricing. It will give customers much easier access to data that, until now, they have had to keep in a cold archive.”

The idea behind the Archive K-Series is to make archive products much more powerful and able to make better use of innovation in the market for server components by designing a high-end product without the need for expensive custom hardware. It uses high density 12TB drives, and system-on-a-chip performance and economics. The supplier of the box is not identified, other than as a well-known supplier of boxes for hyperscale data centres.

“The approach of the hyperscale cloud vendors is to take commodity hardware and put smart software on it, and that is what we have done here,” said Jason Sturgeon, Product Manager at Qumulo. “We wanted to put our software on a platform that would be able to hit a good market point, so we looked at a variety of form factors, from 4-6 U boxes down. We found a 1U system that is highly serviceable, and with its system-on-a-chip design, it has very low power consumption as well.”

Qumulo is a software company, and while the hardware form factor facilitates scalability and delivers cost economies in a small footprint, the not-so-secret sauce is the capabilities of their QF2 software. Qumulo bills it as the world’s first universal scale file storage system, with a single file domain that encompasses both the data centre and the public cloud and delivers extremely scalable performance.

“We have increased the performance by 250 per cent over the last two years, and now have the fastest all-flash performance in the market,” Zaballos said. “It will greatly improve the performance of whatever form factor it is on.”

Qumulo is emphasizing that the software capabilities of the Archive K-Series is the same as its other products, with no sacrifice of performance.

“Hitting a new price point often means compromising on features, but it’s the same experience whether on this nearline archiving system or on our fastest tier in the cloud,” Sturgeon said.

The company is also emphasizing that because of Qumulo’s technology, most notably their real-time aggregation of metadata with analytics built directly into the file system, it can provide functionality that other archive products just can’t do.

“Our real-time aggregation of metadata within the file system itself gives the user the ability to instantly see what’s available and understand what’s in the archive,” Zaballos said. “Competitors in the archiving space don’t have the technology to make that apparent. In contrast, we can make the archived data instantly available to customers.”

Qumulo thinks that the Archive K-Series will both sell to existing customers looking for a purpose-built archiving solution, as well as customers not presently using Qumulo, but the real key is increasing their penetration lower in the market than their enterprise software has been selling.

“We think it will open up the entry point,” Sturgeon said. “Almost every organization has some need for a product like this, and the combination of our price and performance, and being able to make a large repository instantly accessible, will make this attractive.

Qumulo sells through the channel, leveraging a key partnership with HPE in addition to a channel of their own that is independent of that, and that independent channel will be taking this non-HPE offering to market.

Zaballos also indicated that other products in a hardware form factor like this one are likely in the future.

“The scalability comes from our software, but will the form factor permeate other parts of our product line? Probably.”

The Qumulo Active Archive K-Series is available now.