What customers experienced from 3.0 to 4.0
This month we announced the general availability of Qumulo Core 4.0, the latest major software release of our massively scalable file data platform. Qumulo Core 4.0 wraps up the year-long journey of Qumulo Core 3.0 and kicks off another year of relentless innovation on behalf of our customers, including IHME fighting COVID-19 as just one example. That makes this a good moment to pause and take stock of what we’ve done, and where we are going together.
In the year of 3.0, customers enjoyed more capabilities, ease of use, and flexibility with our scalable file data platform. Just some of the major highlights of 3.0 include:
- Encryption at-rest, available on all our platforms, for no extra charge, to keep data secure
- Instant software upgrades, on every platform, to make it simple to take advantage of the regular innovation included with a Qumulo subscription
- Qumulo Shift for Amazon S3, enabling customers to transform file data into native objects and move it Amazon S3
- Dynamic Scale, enabling customers to add next-generation hardware to existing clusters (starting with as little as one node) and take advantage of the best value from the hardware ecosystem
- Qumulo on HPE All-NVMe systems, which offers customers a denser NVMe platform from one of the most trusted data center brands in the world
- NVMe-cache to bring NVMe performance at spinning disk prices, without having to manage a complex tiering system
- A nearly 70% reduction in the cost to run CloudQ on AWS, powered by the adoption of new AWS infrastructure and new CloudQ configuration options
As we look forward to Qumulo Core 4.0, it’s important to reflect on what we will focus on and why.
Let’s start with why.
The Complex Art of Simplicity: Building Products for Customers
At Qumulo, our “why” is simplicity. We believe simple products win because they deliver value to customers faster. It just so happens that simple products are also easier to sell and to support, which makes them the foundation of a stronger business.
In technology, that has not always been the case. Complex products, and complex licensing schemes, dominated the landscape for decades. This complexity helped vendors extract more dollars from their customers and allow them to keep selling their rickety products. But two tectonic shifts changed the rules of the game: the internet and the cloud. The internet allowed customers around the world to share their experiences, and the cloud made it easy to try a new application or service and compare it to others without a major commitment. As a result, technology customers could discover better options and are now less willing to accept needlessly complex solutions.
In the nearly 6 years I have been building products at Qumulo, I’ve spent a lot of time learning from our founder Neal Fachan and the team of engineers he and our VP of Engineering Molly Brown have built. I have also spent a lot of time with our customers. Along with our world-class Product Management, Data Science, and User Experience teams, we have learned how to make great products with powerful capabilities that our customers want, and build simplicity into the product from the very core. I’ll explain how we do that.
What makes a product simple?
First, let’s start with a definition. Simple products combine three qualities:
- Capable. Simple products offer the features and performance needed to make a customer workflow work. This includes reliability, security, interoperability, interactivity, and management.
- Affordable. Simple products shouldn’t require special budget justification. They fit how organizations pay for technology, and how much they are willing to pay.
- Delightful. Simple products surprise customers with how well they get things done. They make it easier to get started, complete a task, expand, or even shut down.
In my experience, infrastructure products routinely deliver two of these three qualities. They are capable and affordable, but painful to use. Or they are capable and delightful but require uncomfortable conversations with the budget committee.
4 Ways We Fight Complexity
Our mission at Qumulo is to deliver a scalable file product that delivers the capabilities our enterprise customers require, at an affordable total cost, and with a delightful experience that makes our customers’ lives easier every day.
Here’s how we do that:
- We start with the Qumulo File Data Platform, a forward-looking and adaptable product architecture that is software-first (reducing its dependencies on specific platforms), cloud-native, inherently scalable, and built to be iterated on (i.e. it assumes that we will ship new versions every two weeks).
- We iterate every two weeks. We surround that product with a talented group of Customer Success, Engineering, and Product Management professionals who identify the places our product causes customer friction, and relentlessly prioritize those problems.Then we empower those teams to ship constantly, closing those gaps as fast as they can.
- We hate knobs, and we work hard to keep them out of our product. Whether it’s in our intelligent caching and prefetching feature that identifies the best algorithm for customer workloads or the rebalance and re-protect systems that intelligently balance user traffic with system traffic, we seek to keep system choices our responsibility and only turn those into user-defined options when they really need to be.
- We bring new capabilities into Qumulo Core and then package that software in new ways. Take, for example, the work we did on instant software upgrades. We re-thought the way our product works with underlying resources, with it now running as a series of rapidly updating containers. That change made upgrades faster on every platform we support, from cloud instances to on-premises servers. At the same time, we brought Qumulo Core to HPE’s All-NVMe ProLiant DL server line and AWS’s EBS SC1 volume types, making it easier for our customers to get access to Qumulo—the best file platform for their datacenter or public cloud workloads.
Qumulo 4.0: Simplicity at the Core
As we kick off our 4.0 journey, simplicity is at the center of everything we will do in the year ahead. We’ll bring this focus to our customers’ problems where we believe we can help them achieve more with their file data.
- We will make it simple for customers to build file data lakes that start small and grow effortlessly.
- We will expand the ways customers can deploy Qumulo Core, adopting new architectures that make it easy to embrace next-generation data center technologies at lower cost.
- We will make it easy for customers to secure workloads, end-to-end, to meet tomorrow’s security challenges.
- We will make it easier than ever to re-invent infrastructure strategies for the public cloud, by making the best scalable file platform in the cloud truly simple.
Simplicity requires constant attention, and oddly enough, constant dissatisfaction in the status quo. Our mascot, the Grumpquat, is a symbol of that dissatisfaction. The Grumpquat sees all the ways in which our product is not simple enough yet and demands we lower our costs, expand our capabilities, or simply make the Qumulo experience a little more delightful.
My commitment to every Qumulo customer is that we will bring that relentless dissatisfaction, that devotion to simplicity, to every product we build and every workload we serve.
Understand how our data services make it simpler for you to manage massive amounts of file data.
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Ben Gitenstein runs Product at Qumulo. He and his team of product managers and data scientists have conducted nearly 1,000 interviews with storage users and analyzed millions of data points to understand customer needs and the direction of the storage market. Prior to working at Qumulo, Ben spent five years at Microsoft, where he split his time between Corporate Strategy and Product Planning.