Quantum Unleashes F2000 Storage Appliance For High-Performance Workloads


Quantum is making a play for studio editing and other high-performance workloads with the introduction of the F2000, its first NVMe-based storage array and the base of a new line featuring the company's own software-defined block storage stack.

The new F2000 is specifically targeting video and video-like data, including machine and sensor data, said Eric Bassier, director of product marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based storage vendor.

"A lot of the data related to these workloads are really big files with high resolution," Bassier told CRN. "Video data, genomic sensors, LIDAR [light detection and ranging] for autonomous vehicles, and the like can't really be compressed or deduped. They take up a lot of space and can't be replicated over the network."

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The F2000 puts up to 24 NVMe dual-ported flash drives in a 2U appliance and is available in 46-TB, 92-TB and 184-TB versions, Bassier said. It also includes 32-Gbit Fibre Channel or 100-Gbit Ethernet connectivity.

The key, however, is the Quantum Cloud Storage Platform, which is Quantum's storage operating system that strips out such enterprise storage features as compression and deduplication and focuses specifically on speed, he said.

To improve the performance possibilities of NVMe and the Quantum Cloud Storage Platform, the F2000 also implements RDMA networking technology, which provides direct access to the storage capacity over a network, he said.

"In the media space, we are seeing more and more of our users working in high-definition environments," he said. "Files are getting longer and need the extra performance. The F2000 will allow a reduction in infrastructure costs for customers moving from Fibre Channel to 100-Gbit Ethernet, but make sure they get the predictable performance of Fibre Channel."

The F2000 is the base of a future line of storage products, Bassier said.

"Soon after this, we will announce new hyper-converged infrastructure products for video surveillance and IoT," he said. "We will also offer the coming versions as appliances or as software that can run either as a virtual machine or on bare metal."

The performance offered by NVMe is crucial for clients in the rich media business, said Nick Gold, lead technologist at Chesapeake Systems, a Baltimore, Md.-based solution provider and longtime Quantum channel partner.

"Our big focus is on the rich media market, including in the enterprise, and NVMe is super-duper fast," Gold told CRN. "Large hard drives have capped out in performance. Flash storage has been pulling us into higher-performance storage, and NVMe is the next step."

Media files have been growing in size as high definition moves to 4K resolution and even into 8K resolution, creating increased pressure across the board for better ways to store data, Gold said.

"With one type of 4K process, the data rate is 1 Gbyte per second, not Gbit, but Gbyte per second, just to write," he said. "To build storage systems to deal with these big media formats, you need a lot of hard disks to build systems with really large volume to provide the performance needed. With NVMe, one rack of flash storage takes the place of several racks without the need to over-spec the capacity."

To get the right performance for rich media environments with other vendors, it is necessary to integrate the shared file system, storage capacity and RAID technologies from multiple vendors, Gold said.

"You can do it, but it is difficult to support," he said. "With Quantum, we can go to a single vendor. We get a shared file system, RAID protection, and the hardware. This feels like the most complete NVMe storage solution on the market."