Qumulo follows Silk and VAST Data — exits hardware business

Scale-out filer supplier Qumulo is exiting the hardware business, adding Supermicro to its hardware supply partners, and betting its SW will lift its business to success.

After supplying combined hardware and software filers for seven years, Qumulo is now a software-only scale-out filesystem company with an all-inclusive subscription business model.

Craig Bumpus, its Chief Revenue Officer, issued a statement saying: “Our customers want flexibility and choice when building enterprise file storage solutions. Qumulo’s new go-to-market strategy with Supermicro gives our customers a high-performance option in an ultra-dense footprint that addresses a huge span of workloads from edge to analytics.”

The company’s Core software can store and serve billions of files and Qumulo is rated as the top scale-out file system supplier by GigaOm. It is available on premises, on Qumulo’s own all-flash and hybrid SSD/HDD hardware as well as on HPE and Fujitsu servers via deals with those companies, and on a Commvault data protection appliance. 

Qumulo filer.

Core also runs in the AWS, Azure and GCP clouds, proving a consistent hybrid multi-cloud experience.

Customers can buy all-NVMe Qumulo systems from Supermicro with first-level software support from Qumulo. Sales can be made direct by Supermicro through its channel, or by VARs with distributor Arrow Electronics integrating the Supermicro hardware and Qumulo software. 


Privately-owned Qumulo, founded in 2012 and with five VC funding rounds, launched its first products in 2014. Qumulo doesn’t release its financial performance but does say it is a growing company. For example:

  • It extended its geographic operations to the Asia-Pacific region in April, with an expanded HPE relationship as part of that.
  • In June it said it saw a significant increase in customer adoption among healthcare organisations with over 150 per cent year-over-year growth in its customer roster. 
  • It said it’s had seen a significant increase in both the file data needs of media and entertainment (M&E) customers and in customer adoption in March. It was managing more than an exabyte of data and more than 235 billion files for customers around the world.
  • It raised $125 million E-round funding in 2020.

Silk and Kaminario

Storage system suppliers Silk (rebranded Kaminario) and VAST Data have both exited the hardware business — VAST after barely being in it, launching product in early 2019.

There is a perception that suppliers exit the hardware business — doing a Blackberry — because they are failing in one way or another. They’re either failing to grow fast enough or needing to free up capital. In the case of both Silk and VAST, the pivot away from hardware was accompanied by a move to software subscriptions and away from perpetual license sales, which tends to lower revenues in the short term.

Silk, in its Kaminario days, was an all-flash array vendor that didn’t make it to IPO or acquisition by another vendor. It transitioned to a software-only company, with its wares running both on-premises and in the cloud, and is now transitioning again to a database-in-the-cloud acceleration company.

VAST Data says it has been growing at a rate of knots since product launch and in no way is it a failing company.


If we view scale-out filers as basically being servers with storage expansion trays, then we can say the server business is a mass-manufacturing, high-volume commodity component business and Qumulo has no business being in it at all. 

In fact, its manufacturing was limited — taking in white box servers, adding its own software, bezels and other bits, and then shipping the kit. Now it has stepped back from that.

Qumulo can also get valued as a software company, and that may help its IPO prospects.