Modernizing NAS Instead of Replacing It – Qumulo Briefing Note

Organizations are almost universally struggling with storing and managing their unstructured data. From a storage system perspective, vendors offer legacy NAS systems, object storage systems and cloud storage services, all trying to convince IT professionals that they are the best place to store their corporate assets.

Today unstructured data is a critical asset of the business. For some industry organizations, like media and entertainment, it is the business. In other organizations unstructured data is part of an analytics, artificial intelligence or machine learning process that helps the business make better decisions or products. Processing these unstructured data sets quickly is critical for these organizations.

At the same time, most organizations have a segment of their unstructured data set that is not active but needs to be retained for years for future needs or to meet a data retention regulation. IT needs to store these data sets on cost effective storage that is also easy to search.

Finally, most organizations need a path to the cloud. The majority of storage systems on the market don’t have a run-in-cloud option and require the organization to adopt a different unstructured storage solution in the cloud. IT needs to look for solutions where the file system can run either on-premises or in the cloud so data can seamlessly move between the two.

The problem facing organizations is that each of the available unstructured data storage solutions gives IT reason to pause. Legacy NAS systems may indeed be at the end of their technological rope. Object storage systems may require too much change. And cloud storage gets too expensive to rent instead of own.

Qumulo Family Overview

Qumulo, founded in 2012, as a next generation NAS company – a scale across architecture to enable data management across public and private computing environments – provides a portfolio of solutions designed to enable true hybrid storage. The Qumulo portfolio contains numerous storage offerings all running Qumulo software. Qumulo’s software provides the ability to scale to trillions of files within the file system to accommodate modern operating environments, spanning data across private and public clouds. The file system is global so moving data from one storage type or location to another is seamless to the users and applications. It also provides unprecedented visibility and control of file data through advanced analytics.

From a hardware perspective Qumulo offers several solutions under its own brand and several others from major server platform manufacturers.

Production storage is where Qumulo started. The workhorses of the offering are the QC series, which provides high performance and high capacities. The systems leverage SAS, flash and hard disk, to cost optimize data storage based on access patterns and user policies. Nodes provide capacities ranging from 166TB to 1.4PB (raw).

For extreme performance, Qumulo’s newest member in its portfolio is the QP series, which is an NVMe based all-flash array ideal for artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads. A starting four node QP cluster can deliver over 200,000 IOPS and each node provides up to 369TB of raw capacity.

Earlier this year, Qumulo expanded beyond production workloads and introduced a secondary storage solution focused on archive use cases, the QK series. Each 1U node uses 3 800GB SSDs for rapid access to recently archived data and uses 12 12TB hard disk drives for long term near-line storage. The nodes use system-on-a-chip technologies to deliver solid performance and excellent economics.

Qumulo software runs on a variety of hardware platforms to give customer maximum choice and flexibility. On partner platforms like HPE and Dell, Qumulo helps to meet the new demands of unstructured data.

And all of these density and performance configurations can be run natively in the public cloud. The same software that runs on standard hardware runs in the public cloud, so IT organizations can choose where their data is most productively put to use – in a private data center or the public cloud.

No matter the hardware choice for on-premises environments, customers can also scale to the public cloud using Qumulo software in Amazon AWS. AWS customers can use the AWS instance exclusively or move data between on-premises and the cloud seamlessly using native file protocols.

StorageSwiss Take

Most vendors are answering unstructured data demands by forcing their customers into new storage categories for block, file or object storage on-premises and, increasingly, in cloud environments. The problem is, these solutions require the customer to migrate their data and change applications to support the new environments. Qumulo is taking a different approach by creating a modern file system that supports traditional file protocols without the limitations of legacy NAS solutions. It can extend that file system into the cloud, enabling organizations to run their applications in the cloud with minimal (If any) code changes. The offering is evolving from a single workhorse NAS system to a complete portfolio of scale-out NAS solutions appropriate for all unstructured data use cases.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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