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When Cloud is Very Cloudy

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And multi-cloud is really multi-pallets

Have you ever read an article you aren’t 100% sure what the main message of that article is or was? When that happens to me, I take a break, go for a walk, or get a workout just to clear my mind and read it again. Usually by this time I see the bigger picture of the article. Well, I recently read an article, actually three articles, about an announcement coming from the user conference of an old legacy storage player about its Project Alpine, or Alpine, or the Alpine Project, depending on which news outlet you’re reading. And after reading these articles several times over – I took a break and went for a long walk to clear my mind so I could come back and absorb the bigger picture of this announcement written in these articles. I ended with the same result – I couldn’t put my finger on it. As I tried to summarize what I had just consumed, the only thing that came to mind was how it felt like a story being told by the late-great Marcel Marceau, with lots of hand movements, facial expressions, and colorful paper flowers.

To sum it up:

Based on the similarities, the articles reported “news” bullets, meshed them together, which culminated in a confusing, yet-to-be-finished product that isn’t available and doesn’t appear to be close to being delivered to users. (insert paper flowers here)

There is some good news. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to research, uncover and possibly understand exactly what readers should know about the “news.” 

Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery 

We all know imitation is flattering, but is it still imitation if the mimicry is incomplete? It appears this legacy storage player is validating an architecture, messaging, and positioning that Qumulo has been doing for years, if not from our inception.

Qumulo knows customers deserve choice. With Qumulo, customers have their choice of cloud, whether it is Azure, GCP, or AWS – which is why we offer this choice to our customers and have for some time. More importantly, we have always believed that customers should focus on their business and innovations rather than their infrastructure, which is why we alleviate this burden, allowing the experience they choose, whether their storage solution is solving challenges on-premises or in the cloud, to be seamless. Qumulo customers experience the might of Qumulo without deviating from its power, scalability, performance or management simplicity (think dashboards, 24-hour customer support, etc.) regardless of whether they choose to use Qumulo in the cloud or in their own data center.

 Cloudy with a Chance of…Transparency!

I thrive on clarity. Interestingly, so do our customers. What is “new” in this “news”? Using words like “Flagship block, and file storage platform” doesn’t clearly articulate which product nor translate to what today’s customers are looking for: the ability to innovate and succeed with power, speed and simplicity. Where is Marcel Marceau when you need him? 

And, while we are talking about transparency, let’s talk about software defined. While it would appear this big oligarch would like everyone to believe they have 100% disaggregated their software from the hardware with this new announcement, nothing I have read has definitely made that statement. They are using language similar to the much older vendor in this industry by loosely using “software IP” to make it appear as such.

If you are known to be a hardware storage company and have had a major breakthrough by disaggregating your hardware from the software, wouldn’t you take this opportunity to outline that clearly? Bringing the “software IP” of the “flagship block, and file storage platforms to leading public cloud” certainly seems ‘leading’ to me as it surely lacks clarity.

Contrast this to the transparency provided by Qumulo. We announced we were exiting the hardware business and focusing on software-defined storage by expanding our partnership to not only include HPE but now Supermicro as well. When you achieve something great you don’t mince words. And we can point to our best champions to exalt our successes – our customers. 

We are so proud of our software-independent achievements that we are giving away 1PB of cloud storage for up to three months just so you can see the proof for yourself. As the only multi-cloud provider that runs on AWS, GCP, and Azure infrastructure at massive scale, Qumulo gives customers the ability to manage massive amounts of unstructured data, regardless of which cloud it is in, for instant freedom and flexibility. The best part about this is our software IP really is software and not backed by multiple pallets, like the other guy(s).

What else is hiding behind the hype?

Usable Capacity

There are still massive limitations to usable capacity. You see the “Flagship file storage platform” I think they are talking about doesn’t like to go above 85% capacity. There is even a published “best practices guide” (see page 52) by this legacy player that clearly states not to exceed 85%. If you bought something and was later told you could use it – but only up to 85% of it because at that point, you need to buy more, would you bet your company’s most precious assets on that? With Qumulo if we say you have 1PB of usable capacity, you can use 100% of that capacity without compromise. That’s called transparency.


What happens when you need to upgrade? Well, first of all the question is how long will you wait for maintenance releases and how often should you upgrade? I have recently published a blog that goes into detail about release cycles, how we differ from the masses and why it is so important for you to ask these questions. Please give it a read.

As for Qumulo, our updates take seconds to minutes versus hours or possibly days with the other legacy players. With upgrades taking 30 minutes per node on this “Flagship file storage platform” solution, a 24 node cluster could take you 12 hours, barring no issues or restarts happening. Qumulo delivers feature updates every two weeks, and gives customers the choice to install the update or wait for another time that is more convenient.

Data Visibility and Insights

You know with Qumulo you not only get a great file data platform that operates equally and consistently between on-premise and cloud, but you get everything else you need to manage and enjoy this solution so you can successfully target your business goals and outcomes. You don’t have to buy an “add-on” license for data visibility, it is included in your license. I’m guessing, since it wasn’t clearly stated in the press release, that the “Flagship file storage platform” product in question still requires you to purchase a 3rd party license to get this level of insight into who is using what data, who is consuming the most storage, etc. All of the data services you require to be successful are included with Qumulo (cloud or on-prem), and that includes any future enhancements or new feature releases. That’s called transparency.

We don’t talk about Quotas…

I could probably write an entire blog on the differences between Qumulo and “the other guy(s)” but for now, let’s just focus on the “Flagship file storage platform” solution I mentioned earlier.

Let’s talk about quotas – because we don’t fear the quota! 

When you make a change to quotas or permissions on Qumulo, it propagates right away. However when using the other guy’s “Flagship file storage platform” solution, if you make a change to quotas or permissions, it may NOT be changed right away because there is a little thing called a “tree-walk” that is required to complete this task which could take hours or days.

And since I just brought up permissions, let me be clear about what exactly I’m talking about in this section (again full transparency matched with accuracy). A quota, as you may know, is an allocation of space you are allowed to use on the storage solution. Once you meet that quota, you are “virtually” out of space until that quota is increased. Permissions are what allow you access to a file or directory. So if you are inheriting a former co-worker’s home directory for example, the permissions would need to be altered to allow you access. 

Why would you wait hours or days for this to complete when you could simply replace it with Qumulo and its intelligent, scalable block store design that has no tree-walk whatsoever? Tree-walks belong in botanical gardens, not in storage.

In Closing

The bottom line is Qumulo is in this for your success and when you as a customer are successful, we are successful. That is a very simple equation and one I have heard our CEO, Bill Richter say time and time again. Our customers are our magnetic field. There are a number of things you will get when you partner with Qumulo for your storage solution, but one of the best things I believe is our sincere openness about our company, product, solution, and the access to the great people that stand behind it. We won’t mince words, hide behind a cloudy haze, attempt to promote something that isn’t there, or distract you with exaggerated hand gestures, facial expressions, or colorful paper flowers – we say what we mean and mean what we say, and that, you can count on.

Check out our cloud giveaway promotion, learn more about how Qumulo can help you be more successful, and what customers are saying about their experience with us.

Chapa, signing off

Chief Evangelist, Qumulo

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