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Quantum launches StorNext storage file system on appliance

Quantum ships StorNext storage file system on bundled appliance to serve as metadata controller; indicates more appliances coming so users don’t have to build their own systems.

Quantum Corp. today introduced its first appliance integrated with the StorNext storage file system for sharing and managing large files across networked storage and tiers.

The StorNext M330 appliance works as a metadata controller that tracks where files are located as well as who created them, manages reads and writes, and deletes files. The appliance works with any type of disk or tape.

“We don’t care what type of disk you use,” said Shawn Kline, Quantum’s senior director of strategy marketing and alliances. “You can mix and match them. We're target agnostic.”

A StorNext M330 appliance has two servers for high availability. It connects to a storage-area network (SAN) through Fibre Channel, and the metadata controller retrieves the file when users make requests.

Kline said StorNext speeds performance by separating the metadata from the actual data.

Client systems aren't required to have the same operating system to access the file system containing StorNext data. It supports Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Red Hat, Suse, Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, AIX and IRIX.

StorNext is agent-based software, so the M330 includes 10 clients that are installed on the servers for $75,000. Quantum’s StorNext Storage Manager data mover is available as an add-on.

Previously, customers and Quantum partners would purchase StorNext software and build and configure the hardware.

Quantum is following the lead of Symantec Corp., which earlier this year started shipping its FileStore software on an appliance.

Kline said Quantum is likely to bring out other appliances as part of the StorNext platform, including a Store Manager appliance.

“This is the foundation of all our appliance strategy,” he said. “Future appliances will do more than the metadata appliance. We had to start somewhere; so without the metadata controller, StorNext wouldn't exist. Now we have the ability to build on that brain. The metadata controller appliance is just a head for the StorNext appliance where we can manage the metadata in the StorNext environment.”

The M330 comes with enhancements that include new GUI software to simplify installation, advance reporting for performance auditing, and the ability to gather and view logs for faster and easier troubleshooting.

“It’s just the first step toward simply making it easier to buy and deploy the StorNext file system,” said Terri McClure, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “Here you have some preconfigured plug and play. It’s now one throat to choke for support. IT has to be more responsive. To have this system, you get an appliance that's up and running faster.”

StorNext is mainly used in rich content markets such as movie and television production and archiving, post production and graphics, science and engineering, high-performance computing, audio and video surveillance, government data mining projects and CAD/CAM. Quantum claims more than 6,000 customers, more than 50,000 file systems deployed, more than 400 archives systems and 400 PB under management with StorNext.

Quantum will likely expand StorNext’s capability with technology it picked up in last week’s $12 million acquisition of virtual machine backup specialist Pancetera.

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The way forward for NAS and SAN solution providers is to become target-agnostic and system-agnostic as StorNext. This increases adoption and leveraging of existing infrastructure.