Startup Qumulo Opens Kimono On Data-Aware Scale-Out NAS Solution

Qumulo, which last month came out of stealth, has unveiled its solution for data-aware scale-out NAS.

Qumulo, whose founding team includes some of the top folks behind Isilon, the scale-out NAS vendor acquired by EMC in 2010, is coming to market with the first data-aware scale-out NAS platform, said Peter Godman, co-founder and CEO of the Seattle-based storage technology developer.

The company, which has already received $67 million in funding, offers software that can be deployed on commodity servers to deliver information on millions of files stored in file format, Godman told CRN.

[Related: Stealth Storage Firm Qumulo Bags $40M Funding, Hints At Technology]

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Qumulo's claim to fame is the data awareness its technology offers, Godman said.

"Once people have a scalable storage solution, the problem is no longer scalability," he said. "The biggest concern is that many tiny buckets of data have been replaced by one big bucket, but it's hard to see what's in the data."

Qumulo's file system has an integrated database that provides the ability to answer any questions about what is stored without needing to scan the data for metadata that must be separately stored and managed, Godman said.

Customers can use it to easily find out many files exist, what files have been accessed and by who, what the performance is, and what projects are consuming in terms of capacity and compute performance on an ongoing basis.

"We give storage administrators a simple point to understand their data footprint," Godman said. "We're adding intelligence to a big dumb amount of data."

Godman has done a good job with the technology because he understands not only the business but the coding behind the technology, said Steve Welch, CEO of Nascent Integrated Solutions, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based solution provider and Qumulo channel partner.

"He knows what needs to be done," Welch told CRN. "You can't [fool] a coder."

The data-aware capability of the Qumulo technology is amazing, Welch said.

"Customers have been asking for it," he said. "They've assumed it could never be done. Why is it important? They want to know who is using the data, what files, what the performance is. And they want all those answers fast. Other vendors answer those questions, but it takes too much time to get the information."

That information lets customers manage and balance storage between multiple systems and a host of other tasks, Welch said. "You can set up a 'Wall of Shame' of users who use too many storage resources," he said.

Qumulo's scale-out storage solutions start with a minimum of four nodes. Each node is a 1U appliance with two 800-GB SSDs and four 6-TB helium-filled hard drives, Godman said. Pricing starts at $50,000 for four nodes.

The solution scales to more than 1,000 nodes, although Qumulo has tested it for only 100 nodes so far. The biggest customer deployment to date was 10 nodes, Godman said.

Every sale except the first has been via a channel partner, and the company plans to use a channel-only approach to the market, Godman said.