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Qumulo: Is It Right for Your Business?

Qumulo during the 2017 Geekwire awards

Video screen capture, Qumulo, via YouTube

 

Cloud storage companies often have services that meet the needs of individuals who are looking for additional secure storage. However, some individuals and most businesses have a greater need for storage size and security than what basic cloud storage companies can provide. Companies such as Qumulo offer additional storage capacity that far exceeds the basic services.

Qumulo offers a long-term solution to storage problems without the limitations that sometimes come with scaled-up storage systems. The company has several upgraded products to meet the needs of businesses and individuals whatever their storage requirements are. To help you determine if Qumulo products are right for you, here is a comprehensive guide, including pricing information.


What Is Qumulo?


Visit Qumulo Website 

Qumulo is a storage vendor that focuses on scale-out network-attached storage, or NAS. The Seattle-based company has several products on the market, including various hybrid flash storage systems. These systems are offered as part of a package with its first product, the Qumulo Core. Core is an application that provides detailed data analysis. Yet, one doesn't have to buy the hybrid flash storage systems with Core.

The hybrid flash systems are usually targeted at businesses or individuals who have a need for more storage than basic cloud services provide. For instance, media and entertainment companies or higher education institutions often have the need for the additional storage. In fact, film production companies that specialize in animation and virtual effects are top users of Qumulo's storage systems.

Pros of Using Qumulo

Qumulo has several advantages, including the ability to expand beyond the limits of other storage systems types. In addition to this, this system helps to free up floor space for businesses. Other forms of storage systems often come with massive hardware that requires far more room than the scale-out NAS.


Another benefit of using Qumulo is that it can help save on the costs associated with storage. Larger storage systems require far more power to operate. By contrast, Qumulo places less of a strain on the power and cooling costs of a business. 

The storage system also helps to save on the costs of management staff, as less equipment means it requires fewer employees to manage the system.

Qumulo's scale-out network-attached storage is from the idea of a file storage. File storage relies on the folders, trees, and links that are between various files. One has to navigate a structured system to access data.


Although this might sound as if it would be time-consuming and complex, it is actually fast and relatively simple. With the scale-out system, additional hardware containing more storage is possible to add as needed.


Each new addition to the system not only improves storage capacity, but it can help with the overall performance of applications. The ability to add to the system over time means the demands of the user are being met at all times.

Cons of Using Qumulo

Even though Qumulo has many benefits, there are some disadvantages to consider before deciding on whether to use it. For instance, there is some functionality difference between the scale-out NAS and the more traditional scale-up systems that many companies used in the past.


Whereas a scale-up systems offer one-to-many functionality, in contrast, the Qumulo scale-out system only offers asynchronous functionality for now.

Another drawback of the Qumulo storage system is that you cannot mix nodes in the same cluster. The company offers hybrid flash and all-flash nodes. Without that functionality, a business would have to maintain more than one storage system.


However, Qumulo states that the ability to mix nodes is in development for the future.

One more potential con of Qumulo storage systems is that as more nodes are added to the initial system, there is a greater chance for points of failure. But, the system's accompanying software can help pinpoint errors when they occur, which then leads to easy handling.


The software also actively monitors the storage system and its additions to determine if there is a potential for failure. Regular maintenance of the system can help to prevent many potential issues and keep the system working on track.

The system does need manual tweaking occasional and if there is a sudden increase in the data that is added to the system, a bottleneck effect can occur.


Such a bottleneck can leave some files inaccessible as the storage system seeks to process the new data and place it in a location. However, that is rare and is easily handled with proper maintenance.


Customer support from Qumulo can help with addressing most of the issues that occur with the storage system, and assistance is available around the clock by phone and email.

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How Does It Work?


Qumulo has also partnered with Amazon to offer web services. These services give customers the ability to store files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Using the cloud-based service can eliminate the need for some of the on-site equipment that is used with the storage system. The web service is an improvement on the cloud services that were previously offered through Amazon.

Customers can upload files to the cloud service without the need to rewrite some of their applications. The same software to manage the on-site storage system can easily upload files to the cloud. The service is available as an add-on that users can subscribe to. Customers can also opt for a pay-per-usage fee when using the cloud service.

Qumulo Cloud Storage

In addition to offering the on-site scale-out system, Qumulo's storage also includes cloud storage. This combined storage amounts to the ability to store billions of files. Files are easily accessible distributed globally on a massive scale.

Qumulo's hybrid file system features four nodes in a cluster. Each cluster can manage billions of files. The system is capable of continuously replicating data in the clusters so that when there is an additional need for processing power, the space is then available immediately.

The system also offers real-time control of the stored data and visibility. With the help of the analytics provided by Core, users can quickly focus on any files they need for troubleshooting. All the data that in Qumulo's cloud is monitored in real-time for errors. If there is a failure or error detected, the system can alert users immediately and provide the information needed to find the error.


Why Qumulo is Unique?


Qumulo has a range of features that help it to stand out, but the fact it is the first universal-scale file storage system on the market makes it unique. It also accomplishes something that other scale-out systems have failed to do: It offers additional storage without causing a drag on the bandwidth available to a business.

The storage system is fast enough to mount and is capable of hosting a virtual machine disk as a central storage location that is easily managed. The features of the Qumulo storage system mean a decreased need for other storage methods. A business could operate with solely the Qumulo hybrid system and its backup without fear of losing data.

Pricing

The pricing for the Qumulo storage system varies depending on the size of the appliance needed and which additional features are added. For instance, a 4-node 100TB hybrid storage cluster starts around couple of bucks. The system comes with the Core software and other features.

Additional pricing is available by contacting the company. Qumulo also has a free trial offer that gives potential customers an opportunity to see firsthand what the system is capable of doing. This free trial can be set up as a standalone node that is usable through Amazon Web Services or a six-node cluster that is live and ready to use on a Windows virtual machine or Mac.

There is an accompanying guide to walk users through setting up the trial. Users can also contact customer support to get step-by-step help.


Others Say About Qumulo


The overall reviews of Qumulo are positive. Most web developers who used the system found it easy to setup and configure. Customer service is available to customers 24–7 to assist with helping to implement the system. In fact, many reviewers found the customer service in particular to be very accessible and helpful during the process of setting up the storage system.

Users were also impressed with the Core analytics software that was included with the storage system. The software provided details about hot spots, growth, and an expandable view of the files stored in the system.


Qumulo's scale-out model was praised for offering the ability to add nodes when additional storage was needed. The storage is immediately available after the node was installed and this was considered to be convenient.

Some users did state they were concerned that the company would not continue with the development of the storage system as its business continues to grow. However, customers who have used it for a long time believed that the company was going to remain focused and continue its development of this product.


How Qumulo Compares


Storage System

Offer scale-out abilities

Highlighted feature

Price

Qumulo

real time visibility and can manage billions of files

$

Tintri

offer storage for millions, thus suitable for smaller business

$

Pure

tied to proprietary hardware

$$

Isilon

offers scale-out abilities and toed to proprietary hardware

$$

Qumulo's main competition in the storage system market comes from systems that focus on scale-up. Scaling-up is more traditional and by some users considered obsolete. However, there are many businesses that still rely on the scale-up model.

Scale-up storage services are a less expensive option than scale-out systems like Qumulo. The cost of increasing storage is less since it relies on adding additional processors and RAM physically to an existing system. The addition of the processors and other hardware helps to maximize the capabilities of the existing storage system.

Limitations

However, there are limitations to the scale-up storage system that are not present with the scale-out system. For instance, instead of simply adding nodes to a cluster and having the files replicated easily, scale-up systems could force the user to have to copy each piece of date from an old server to a new system. Not only can this take time, but depending on how many times it has to be done, it can prove to be costly.

During the move to a new scale-up storage system, confusion and chaos can ensue. Until files are all copied over, the network can be bogged down with the data stuck in transit. When users attempt to access the files, they might not be able to find them. The loss of productivity could have a ripple effect throughout a business.

The Future of Storage Systems

Qumulo is considered to be the future of storage systems. Scale-up systems are still in use, but they do not have the ability to keep up with the demands of businesses.

Other scale-out storage systems on the market do not offer the features that Qumulo does. For instance, Tintri has scale-out capabilities but does not offer the same real-time visibility of the storage usage that Qumulo does. However, it does collect historical data and makes recommendations on how to optimize the storage.

Tinitri does not offer the ability to store and manage billions of files. It does offer storage for millions, which makes it more suitable for smaller businesses.

Other storage systems, such as Pure and Isilon, also offer scale-out abilities. However, they tend to be more expensive because they are tied to proprietary hardware. Qumulo is not and that leads to it being less expensive than its competitors.

Qumulo: Final Verdict

When it comes to storage systems, Qumulo offers one of the most expansive options on the market.


The company has a proven track record, with many big-name companies as customers. Every step of the process of obtaining the system, from buying to installing, has customer support available. The company continues to improve on the functionality of the storage system and offers several customizable features that customers can use to make it more versatile.


The simplicity of the software that accompanies most of the storage systems allows users to manage their files in real-time. For most businesses, this is a plus that makes it ideal.

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