Qumulo running its own race, not looking over its shoulder

Executives and office life at Qumulo in Seattle, WA July 20, 2018. Photo by Andy Rogers Images

Qumulo says its sales have not been impacted by Pure Storage and VAST Data and are still growing.

The company, founded by ex-Isilon people in 2012, builds Core software – scale-out parallel filesystem storage – running on Qumulo and third-party hardware and in the AS, Azure and GCP clouds. It has raised $351 million with the last round bringing in $125 million in 2020. 

Ryan Farris, Qumulo’s VP for product, speaking at an IT Press Tour briefing, was asked about any Pure and VAST sales influence on Qumulo and said: “We have not been impacted by that at all.” What about WEKA? “We hardly ever lose to WEKA. They target different workloads and do something specific.”

Hasn’t the VAST HPE deal affected Qumulo? Farris said: “The VAST HPE partnership is part of the natural order of things. Our partnership with HPE is still strong. I would only see it getting stronger.”

It seeems to us that the file and object storage market must be growing so fast that suppliers like Pure Storage, Qumulo, VAST Data and WEKA can all grow at a good clip without eating into each other’s customer bases.

We asked about profitability and Farris said: “We want to be cash flow positive by Q4 FY2024.” The biz has plenty of financial runway and doesn’t need to raise any more cash. Its sales are increasing, with Farris mentioning that a prominent rocket business is a customer.

He said: “Medical imagery is our fastest-growing vertical.” In the PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) market, file is primary storage, often with an S3 cloud backend for long-term storage. In Farris’s view, pure-play object storage for PACS is giving way to a file-object bridge like Qumulo.

He said that Philips’s PACS system runs very well on Qumulo, helped by an SMB multi-channel feature giving it a performance boost.

We were told that Qumulo’s S3 code its own software, developed to replace a prior MinIO gateway.

The product roadmap could, we understand, include a global namespace and the ability to provide file access at edge sites. Farris said: “The edge is a pretty big opportunity for us,” and discussed edge caches without copying all of a file to the edge site.

We think this means that Qumulo could move into the remote/edge site file access market currently dominated by suppliers such as CTERA, Nasuni and Panzura with their cloud-centered file systems based on underlying object storage. We understand that data movement could become easier and that there could be a Scale Anywhere launch by the end of the year providing such functionality.

Another roadmap item concerns more multi-tenancy features being built on VLAN separation – again by the end of the year.

One more development direction is the Nexus Qumulo.com idea to have one pane of management glass across a Qumulo cluster. This could arrive in the second half of the year.

Farris said an average Qumulo customer has more than 1PB of Qumulo storage. He also said Qumulo’s conversations with enterprise customers are around scale and cloud – not AI. We dare say Qumulo will move into supplying AI-type NAS in the next couple of years, and its customers will take it there.

Qumulo says it has excellent performance and pricing in the cloud. Right now it is focussed on serving files to virtual machines – but there is no reason it couldn’t do containers as well.