Qumulo Shift opens up scale-out NAS to AWS S3 in the cloud

Qumulo Shift will automatically convert file data on its NAS arrays to S3 object storage format in the AWS cloud. The functionality will be free to customers from July

Distributed scale-out NAS/file system provider Qumulo has launched Shift, which converts file data held in its physical and virtual arrays into objects in Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 storage in the cloud.

That makes that data available to applications developed to use on-site NAS and those developed for the web.

“Enterprise data is basically file data,” said cloud director at Qumulo, Barry Russell. “And enterprises today want to use applications that they have developed natively for the cloud where the format is usually object. We are offering to our customers, without any extra cost, a way of having their data in both formats,” he added, in a presentation to the virtual edition of the IT Press Tour last week.

“The object storage format is not just about good practice in the cloud,” said Russell. “It’s the format expected for use with IoT [internet of things], cartography or analytics in the cloud and that enterprises want to integrate with their applications. But enterprises don’t want to lose file format, which is in use for the majority of their workloads.”

A particular focus for Qumulo is media production, for which fast and expandable disk is needed for video rendering. The logic for Qumulo is that these types of workload can benefit from being able to burst to complementary services in the cloud. The company gives as examples AWS’s Elemental MediaConnect, Amazon Elastic Transcoder and AWS Elemental Live.

Previously, Qumulo had re-factored its physical arrays to virtual versions in the AWS cloud. It explained that this would allow video production customers access to hundreds or thousands of virtual machines (VMs) in the cloud to carry out their processing workloads. But this only allowed for traditional video processing, originally developed to function on-site.

Shift aims to open up workloads to a new range of web services. Having said that, the new functionality, which will come with the next operating system update, is limited for now.

So, while files created or modified on Qumulo NAS are automatically converted to S3 objects, the reverse is not yet possible. Initially, customers will have to manually recover data written in S3 for web applications if they want to use them in local applications.

Use of S3 can’t, therefore, be considered an integrated tier of storage in Qumulo NAS.

Besides AWS video services, Qumulo hopes to target organisations that want to use artificial intelligence services available on AWS.

“With Shift, we are the only file system that formats and sends your data to online services while allowing you to continue to process it locally,” said Molly Presley, head of global marketing at Qumulo, who also spoke of an oil and gas sector organisation – Shell – that is particularly interested in this functionality.

As well as converting files data into a format useable by cloud-native applications, Shift also functions as an automatic archiving system that retains the contents of Qumulo arrays in S3 format, which offloads data from the NAS that’s not currently in use.

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