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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Qumulo Talks Universal-Scale File Storage, Qumulo File Fabric (QF2) and Amazon Web Services


Scale-out filer startup Qumulo recently announced its Qumulo File Fabric (QF2), a highly scalable file storage system that spans a company's data center and the cloud.  Not to be out done, it also launched QF2 on Amazon Web Services (AWS).  To learn more, I spoke with the company's co-founder and CTO, Peter Godman. 

VMblog:  You recently introduced a new market category, "Universal-scale file storage," along with brand new product, Qumulo File Fabric (QF2). Can you tell us more about that?

Peter Godman:  QF2 is the world's first universal-scale file storage system. It runs on industry standard hardware and was designed from the ground up to meet all of today's requirements for scale. QF2 is a modern, highly scalable file storage system, creating a single file domain that runs in the data center and on the cloud.

With QF2, for the first time, enterprise customers have the freedom to store, manage and access their file-based data in any operating environment, at petabyte and global scale. In addition to providing billion-file capacity at one third the cost of legacy storage appliances, QF2 is also the highest performing file storage system on premises and on the cloud. Its built-in, real-time diagnostics let administrators easily manage data no matter how large the footprint or where it's located globally.

VMblog:  What are the key features of QF2?

Godman:  QF2 is about providing and connecting quality file services everywhere. We have extended QF2 so that our customers can deploy in the public cloud the same quality file experience that they have deployed in their data centers. With the launch of QF2, Qumulo is also introducing new replication features. The solution's cross-cluster replication enables data to move where it's needed, when it's needed, on premises and on the cloud. Other key features are real-time quotas, advanced directory-level snapshots, and real-time visibility into large data sets, which allow enterprises to easily manage file-based storage at massive scale.

VMblog:  And what industry trends and challenges does QF2 address?

Godman:  A global operating model for the modern data-defined business has created new requirements for scale - including the number of files stored, the ability to manage enormous data footprints in real time, the global distribution of data, and the need to take advantage of the cloud. These modern requirements require an entirely new class of storage solution, which is why we built QF2 to serve the needs of the world's largest companies so they can focus on data, instead of hardware.

VMblog:  Who are the primary users of QF2, and how are they using it?

Godman:  QF2 allows leading businesses and organizations in data-intensive industries where innovation is the name of the game - such as media & entertainment, scientific computing, telecom, life sciences & medical research, automotive, just to name a few - to unlock the value of their data anywhere by flexibly scaling file storage across geographies, the cloud and in the data center. We have hundreds of customers, including FuseFX, Hyundai Mobis, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and Sinclair Oil Corporation, who have adopted QF2 for mission-critical file-based workloads with breakthrough innovation. You can read all about our customers here.

VMblog:  QF2 is available on Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Can you talk about the importance of the public cloud as it relates to universal-scale file storage?

Godman:  This reminds me of Joy's law: "no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else." There's an analogy in the era of the cloud: "no matter where you compute, most of the smartest services live somewhere else." By making QF2 available on AWS, we're bringing the cloud's elasticity and services to workloads previously denied them.

Businesses are looking for solutions that can help them move and share file-based workloads between the data center and the cloud, and between clouds. We recognized an opportunity to fill this gap in the market with a more intelligent file storage system designed for the demands of the modern enterprise by scaling both performance and capacity on the cloud, with no hard limits. QF2 is the only unified fabric to span on-premises and public cloud storage for customers at petabyte scale. With QF2, our customers can now leverage the cloud work with globally distributed data sets across time zones and locations, and up to billion-file scale, to access to such advanced technologies as GPU arrays, machine learning, microservices and serverless computing.

VMblog:  How do you see enterprise storage changing and evolving over the next few years?

Godman:  There's a category of data storage that exists that reaches all the way from disk drives, SSDs, and tapes, up through systems, RAID controllers, storage networks and filers, that is completely abstracted away in public cloud environments. The part that doesn't change at all is the data, and the applications, and the way that applications need to access data. Storage will be about powering data-defined organizations' use of their data, at global scale. That is to storage what financial services is to safes. Safes are valuable, but the names of the top five safe manufacturers don't roll off the tongue. There will be the Goldman Sachs and Bank of America of data, and storage companies that think about this the right way still have a shot at being one of them. That's a bigger problem than any cloud or any data center.


Published Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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