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Quantum StorNext file system gateway collapses into Xcellis

Quantum goes after video workloads with Xcellis, a converged system that combines Quantum StorNext, metadata, data management, NAS and cloud gateways into a single system.

Quantum Corp. today launched Xcellis Workflow Storage, which converges several Quantum StorNext-based appliances into one hardware configuration.

Xcellis places compute and the Quantum StorNext file system gateway in one appliance. It is aimed mainly at applications with complex workflows and used in industries such as media and entertainment, video surveillance, satellite imagery, and gas and oil exploration.

An Xcellis rack consists of a pair of Xcellis Workflow Directors, metadata and user storage. The Workflow Directors run StorNext and handle SAN, NAS and Distributed LAN Client (DLC) connectivity. Previously, StorNext customers needed separate appliances for metadata, user storage and StorNext, plus a DLC Gateway and an optional NAS gateway.

Quantum describes Xcellis as a converged system. "By converged, I mean a combination of capabilities that were historically separated," said Dave Frederick, senior director of Quantum product marketing.

The user storage consists of Dot Hill AssuredSAN 4000 arrays through an OEM deal with Quantum. The arrays support 248 drives, which can be a combination of SAS performance, nearline and solid-state drives.

Customers scale capacity by adding drives and shelves. Xcellis Workflow Storage starts at 48 TB. Pricing starts at $45,000, which includes 48 TB of capacity, StorNext and the StorNext Connect management application. Xcellis storage is scheduled to start shipping in November.

"The system scales simply by adding storage," Frederick said. "There are no other components to add. We can protect customers' initial investment and allow them to scale from the smallest system up to petabytes of storage."

The system is used for primary storage, but can move data off to Quantum Lattus object storage and the cloud.

The Xcellis systems run Quantum StorNext 5.3, which also includes a Q-Cloud Vault that serves as an Amazon Glacier-based cloud tier. Quantum will bill customers directly for the Amazon subscription if they decide to use the vault option for placing long-term archived data in Glacier.

Previous StorNext customers need StorNext 5.3 to upgrade to the new Xcellis hardware platform.

Frederick said the Xcellis was designed for "customers who never tried this multitier approach because it required too many tools, data movers and other things that made it untenable."

StorNext is the fastest-growing product line for Quantum, which also sells tape libraries and DXi disk backup appliances. The vendor is looking to become a major player in video management, as the market goes to new formats, such as 4k video resolution and, eventually, 8k resolution. The new formats more than double the file sizes from previous formats.

"Quantum has taken a number of appliances and software-based products and converged them to the point where they're easier to deploy, and can be targeted into popular and fast-growing market segments," said Scott Sinclair, storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., based in Milford, Mass.

Quantum faces competition in these markets from the likes of scale-out NAS vendor Isilon, object storage vendors Scality and IBM Cleversafe, as well as other converged media products, such as DataDirect Networks MediaScaler, and Spectra Logic BlackPearl and ArcticBlue.

Sinclair said Quantum's history as a tape vendor could be a differentiator for workflows that require a mixture of disk, tape and cloud for long-term archiving.

"Integration of tape is a big part of this," he said. "Typically, these archives and data formats will change and grow over time. You need to provide access to a variety of media types -- tape, on-premises disk, the public cloud -- and each one of these has different costs and different benefits in retention and protection. Now, if I have a giant pool of storage and put StorNext data management level on top of it, I can combine all these kinds of media types, so users can get access to data and control it all through StorNext."

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