Qumulo Core updated, 10 TB helium drives supported

Qumulo's data-aware Core 2.0 supports 10 TB helium hard drives, erasure coding for faster drive rebuilds and analytics to solve capacity bottleneck mysteries.

Qumulo advanced its data-aware scale-out NAS platform today with erasure coding, capacity trends analytics and support for 10 TB helium hard disk drives.

The new features are part of Qumulo Core 2.0, and HGST Ultrastar He10 10 TB helium drives will be offered in the 1U QC40 and 4U QC260 hybrid appliances. Qumulo also launched the QC104, a 4U system that uses 4 TB drives. The new appliances will be available around mid-year and give Qumulo five appliance options.

Qumulo sells storage with real-time data analytics built into the file system to detail data footprint, usage and performance. The first version of Qumulo Core launched in March 2015 used mirroring for data protection, but 2.0 includes Reed-Solomon erasure codes for faster drive rebuilds -- a necessary feature with 10 TB drives. Jeff Cobb, Qumulo's vice president of product management, said erasure coding allows up to a 33% increase in usable storage. He said 10 TB and 8 TB drives in Qumulo systems can be rebuilt in less than an hour, and can tolerate two concurrent drive failures or one complete storage node without data loss.

"We separate the file system from the internal transactional block storage, and do all the protection on block storage," Cobb said. "We divide raw storage into sizeable chunks that get moved and stream when drives fail. We take full advantage of the sequential performance of drives when we re-stripe and reconstitute missing data into a new copy spread over an entire cluster. When restoring, we read data from the rest of the protection stripes in a parallel way and take advantage of all spindles in a cluster to read and write."

The new capacity trends analytics use real-time trending to show how storage usage has changed over the past 72 hours, 30 days and 52 weeks. If performance slows because of a spike in capacity usage, administrators can click on the time when the change occurred and see which files grew and which got smaller at that point.

"Customers ask, 'Where did all the capacity go?'" Cobb said. "That can really stop a business cold because people can't work. Until now, that problem has been solved by sending email or by shouting. Now we can answer that question with facts. We're taking all the mystery out of the equation."

The new QC40 Hybrid Storage appliance has 40 TB of capacity per node and 400 TB per cluster (240 TB usable with erasure coding) and the QC260 has 260 TB per node, 2.1 PB per cluster with 1.7 PB usable. The QC104 holds 104 TB per node and 1.04 PB per cluster with 690 TB usable. Qumulo Core previously supported up to 8 TB drives.

Qumulo's other appliances are the 1U QC24 and the 4 QC208. Pricing starts at $50,000 for an entry-level four-node QC24 cluster.

Qumulo Core deals with data growth

While Qumulo is often compared to DataGravity and other data-aware storage, the two compete in different markets. DataGravity is used frequently for data governance and security and Qumulo is aimed at traditional scale-out NAS markets such as media and entertainment, oil and gas exploration and health care. Qumulo's competitors are usually EMC Isilon -- a platform Qumulo's founders developed -- and Net App's Data Ontap FAS arrays, as well as object storage systems designed to replace scale-out NAS.

Qumulo claims more than 50 customers, ranging from 96 TB to more than 4 PB of storage deployed.

George Crump, president of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said Qumulo's appliances can meet object storage's scalability while performing better. "To have a high-performance NAS again is interesting," he said. "The world to some extent had given up on NAS for scale-out and gone to object. Now we're seeing several companies invest significant research to revitalizing scale-out NAS, like Qumulo and InterModal Data."

Crump said Qumulo's support for high file counts, erasure coding ,and massive scale give it features that make object storage popular. Qumulo has object capabilities including API support but is primarily a file system accessing data through NFS and SMB protocols.

Arun Taneja, president of the Taneja Group consulting firm, agrees that Qumulo has features that stack up against object storage. He said the 10 TB drives add to its scalability, but erasure coding was required to support them.

"Their product is file-based NAS but it caters to the world of big data and the Internet of Things," Taneja said. "When dealing with those things, you're dealing with massive amounts of data. The 10 TB drives can help but only if your architecture is designed to deal with high capacity drives. You can't have 10-day rebuilt times. Qumulo says they can do one-hour rebuild times. With 10 TB drives, for all practical purposes, one hour is instantaneous."

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