Quantum bringing public cloud into virtual storage fold

Its cloud services will extend the Quantum data management system to Amazon's cloud

Data management specialist Quantum wants to make it easier for enterprises to combine two of the major trends in storage: virtualization and public clouds.

Over the coming months, the company plans to launch cloud services that will extend its StorNext 5 data management platform so customers can take advantage of public-cloud storage without changing their hardware or software.

Though based on Amazon Web Services, Quantum's Q-Cloud Archive and Q-Cloud Vault will be managed by Quantum and will use the company's own automated, policy-based system for moving data across tiers of storage. As with StorNext systems within an enterprise, the cloud services will fall under a single namespace so applications can continue to find necessary files wherever they may be, the company says.

Enterprises are starting to virtualize storage to get the same kind of flexibility they gained from server virtualization, and they are warming up to public clouds as a cost-efficient way to expand available capacity, Taneja Group analyst Jeff Byrne said.

Quantum focuses on virtualization for industries such as media production, cybersecurity and satellite image analysis that have to deal with high volumes of very large files. Companies in those fields have spent millions of dollars on sophisticated file-handling procedures that are at heart of their operations, said Dave Frederick, senior director of marketing at Quantum.

"They can't change their practices just because they want to use the cloud. They won't do it," Frederick said.

Quantum's upcoming services will take storage space on Amazon's cloud and deliver it under the StorNext umbrella as an extension of the capacity customers already have. They can move data in and out of the cloud just as they would with any other tier of storage, Quantum says.

Q-Cloud Archive, based on Amazon's S3 service, will provide quick, on-demand access to data, though it's not really designed to be used as primary storage, Frederick said. There's an extra charge for pulling files out of Q-Cloud Archive, though not if it's less than 5 percent of the total data. Q-Cloud Vault uses Amazon's Glacier archiving and backup system.

Q-Cloud Archive will be available immediately for less than US$70 per terabyte, Frederick said. That's roughly twice the cost of pure Amazon S3 capacity but includes primary support by Quantum, the data management system and other enhancements, he said. Q-Cloud Vault will be available in the second quarter, and pricing hasn't been set for it yet. It will cost less per bit than Archive, just as Amazon's Glacier costs less than S3.

Also on Tuesday, Quantum is announcing Q-Cloud Protect for AWS, which will let users of the company's DXi deduplication appliance -- either a physical or a virtual one -- replicate to a virtual DXi instance in Amazon's cloud. The service will be sold by subscription through Amazon Marketplace starting in the second quarter of this year. Pricing hasn't yet been set.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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