Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked a lot about data mobility and exactly how we should get data into the public cloud from on-premises locations.  You can find links to the posts at the end of this blog entry.  Much of what I’ve talked about revolves around moving data in a relatively static way, meaning that access to the data is interrupted during the movement process.

The obvious best case is to move to a scenario where data is accessible across private and public cloud locations at the same time, making the transition of moving workloads out of the data centre almost seamless.  Last week Qumulo launched QF2, a distributed scale-out file system that gets us a step further to global data mobility.

Qumulo Background

Qumulo was founded in 2012 and came to the market with their first products in 2015.  Although essentially a software solution, the first Qumulo products were hardware appliances that implemented a high-performance scale-out file system.  The founders have prior experience, having founded and sold Isilion to EMC.  The difference with the Qumulo file system (initially called QSFS – Qumulo Scalable File System) is in the treatment of metadata.  This allows QSFS to do much more in terms of analytics on the content stored within the system and so be much more scalable.

QF2 – Qumulo File Fabric

With the release of QF2, Qumulo has introduced new features that allow the file system the ability to start the move to public cloud.  The initial QF2 implementation provides the capability to replicate clusters between locations (cross-cluster replication).  QF2 can also be run in the public cloud (on AWS) and on VMware vSphere.  Note that this first implementation doesn’t create a file system that spans multiple locations.  Instead, data can be replicated, making it easy to cut a file system from on-premises over to the cloud copy.

The Architect’s View

Building a fully geo-distributed file system is hard.  Latency and bandwidth get in the way of keeping data consistent across distance.  However, we do need to solve this problem if we want to have the ability to move workloads seamlessly between clouds.  QF2 is a step forward in achieving this goal.  I’m in the process of downloading and testing QF2 in more detail.  You can too.  There’s a trial download available, using either a vSphere OVA or AWS AMI (link).  Once I have some feedback, I will, of course, share my findings.

Related Links

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Written by Chris Evans

With 30+ years in IT, Chris has worked on everything from mainframe to open platforms, Windows and more. During that time, he has focused on storage, developed software and even co-founded a music company in the late 1990s. These days it's all about analysis, advice and consultancy.