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Qumulo storage parts the clouds with its K-Series active archive

Qumulo introduces the K-144T archive appliance to complement its scale-out NAS systems. The K-Series starts with six nodes, and customers can scale storage in 144 TB increments.

Scale-out NAS startup Qumulo has added a dense cloud archiving appliance to help companies find hidden value in idle data.

Known as the K-Series, the product is an entry-level complement to Qumulo storage with C-Series hybrid and all-flash NVMe P-Series NAS primary arrays. The K-144T active archive target embeds the Qumulo File Fabric (QF2) scalable file system on a standard 1U server.

Qumulo, based in Seattle, didn't disclose the source of the K-Series' underlying hardware, but it has an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to package the Qumulo Scalable File System on HPE Apollo servers. Qumulo storage customers need a separate software subscription to add the K-Series archive to an existing Qumulo primary storage configuration.

"It's routine for our customers to be storing billions of files, either tiny files generated by machines or large files generated by video," Qumulo chief marketing officer Peter Zaballos said. "We now have a complete product line, from archiving up to blazing high performance."

Analytics and cloud bursting

Customers can build a physical K-Series cluster with a minimum of six nodes and scale by adding single nodes. That allows them to replicate data from the K-Series target to an identical Qumulo storage cluster in AWS for analytics or cloud bursting. A cluster can scale to 1,000 nodes.

"There's no need to pull data back from the cloud. You can do rendering against a tier of storage in the cloud and avoid [the expense] of data migration," Qumulo product manager Jason Sturgeon said.

Each Qumulo storage K-Series node scales to 144 TB of raw storage. Each node accepts a dozen 12 TB HDDs for storage, plus three SSDs to capture read metadata. QumuloDB analytics collects the metadata information as the data gets written. A nine-node configuration provides 1 PB of usable storage.

Qumulo said it designed the K-Series arrays with an Intel Xeon D system-on-a-chip processor to reduce power consumption.

Exploding market for NFS, object archiving

Adding a nearline option to Qumulo storage addresses the rapid growth of unstructured data that requires file-based and object storage, said Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Qumulo is positioning the K-Series as a lower-cost, higher-density option for large-capacity environments," Sinclair said. "There is a tremendous need for cheap and deep storage. Many cheap-and-deep workloads are using NFS protocols. This isn't a file gateway that you retrofit on top of an object storage box. You can use normal file protocols."

Those file protocols include NFS, SMB and REST-based APIs.

Sturgeon said the K-Series can ingest reads at 6 Gbps and writes at 3 Gpbs, per 1 PB of usable capacity.

To eliminate tree walks, the QF2 updates metadata of all files associated with a folder. Process checks occur every 15 seconds to provide visibility on the amount of data stored within the directory structure, allowing storage to be accessed and queried in nearly real time.

Qumulo has garnered more than $220 million in funding, including a $93 million Series D round earlier this month. Qumulo founders Peter Godman, Aaron Passey and Neal Fachan helped develop the Isilon OneFS clustered file system, leading the company to an IPO in 2006. EMC paid $2.25 billion to acquire the Isilon technology in 2010.

Godman is Qumulo CTO, and Fachan is chief scientist. Passey left in 2016 to take over as principal engineer at cloud hosting provider Dropbox.

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In attacking demand for cheap and deep storage for cloud workloads, what are Qumulo's foremost challenges in the cloud-object space?
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