Data is the new economy that organizations run on. In the cloud, how a company manages data makes all the difference between success and failure. For this reason, organizations give careful thought to the way they approach data. This includes the entire data lifecycle from data creation to storage to transfer to security to backup. Organizations can take a best-of-breed approach and leverage niche tools for each use case, or they can opt for an all-in-one data management solution. There are vendors who cater to both needs. In this post, we take a look at Qumulo, an innovative vendor that is up and coming in the cloud data management space. We look at the recent developments with Qumulo, its key features, and competition.
Qumulo is an enterprise data management solution that focuses on managing files in a hybrid setup across cloud or on-premises locations. Last month Qumulo received $125M in a Series E funding round. This ushers it into unicorn territory with a $1.2B valuation. Qumulo provides analytics on the consumption of data as well as controls to manage the files that store the data. One of the key terms it uses to describe its solution is “real-time” and this is used in the context of knowing what’s happening with your data. It provides visibility not just into the use of data, but also into who is using the data.
Qumulo is seeing traction among a variety of customers, including media companies that work with large video files, data science teams that need to process large quantities of data, and finance organizations that need to manage numerous documents. For all these organizations, the key challenge when working with data is to move files from one location to another. Typically, this means moving files from local desktops to an on-premises datacenter or to a public cloud location. Throw in the geographical distance that further exacerbates the problem, and data transfer can be a killer of an organization’s potential.
Not just the transfer of data, though, the data needs to be accessed by various applications, and the activity on the data needs to be analyzed. The security of this data is essential at every step of the process. All this taken into account, data management in the cloud is an intricate process and requires a dedicated platform that provides state-of-the-art data management across any platform.
One of the benefits of using a service like Qumulo is that it frees you from being locked into any one vendor’s storage solution. You can opt for multiple storage solutions and use different solutions for different needs. Further, you can mass migrate your data between providers if the need arises. Qumulo handles all of this and doesn’t charge for data transfer between locations. This brings great flexibility to data management. This capability was announced as part of Qumulo’s newest offering titled Shift.
Another way Qumulo makes data management in the cloud easier is that it enables to transform file data into object data that is cloud-friendly. Most enterprise data is file-centric. However, in the cloud, applications consume object data rather than file data. This is especially true of the emerging world of IoT and edge applications. As organizations grapple with these different standards, they need a way to consistently and seamlessly manage data transfer across these locations. That’s what Qumulo brings to the table.
Data backup is essential for cloud applications. Many organizations believe that if they have their data in the cloud, it is safe, and the cloud vendor guarantees full safety. However, the thing to note is that there is a shared responsibility for data in the cloud. While the cloud vendor shares some responsibility, some of the responsibility also rests with the customer organization. For example, badly configured security controls for an AWS S3 bucket can lead to a data breach. Improperly assigned IAM access and permissions could mean that bad actors gain access to data and misuse it.
Further, in the event of the data being accidentally deleted by human error, which actually happens more often than even external attacks, organizations need to have a ready backup available to get back up and running. Data management solutions should offer backup solutions of their own or integrate with a standalone backup service provider.
Recently, OwnBackup, a Salesforce data backup service provider, raised $50M in series D funding. While Qumulo doesn’t offer data backup on its own, but it does integrate with Veeam, a prominent data backup solution. These types of integrations are essential and help to make a service offering complete.
Qumulo is up against bigger players in the data management space. These include Cohesity, NetApp, and Rubrik, which are ahead in terms of market adoption. In fact, Rubrik and NetApp have partnered to offer a complete storage solution that leverages NetApp for object lifecycle policies, and Rubrik as the control plane. This offering leverages the power of metadata to better organize and access unstructured data and components like VMs and files.
Earlier this year, Rubrik announced its version 5.2 release titled Andes, which was centered around performance improvements for VMware and Oracle DBAs. Rubrik claimed 5x speed improvements in data backup and three times faster recovery of data for VMware. Indeed, speed of data transfer is critical when the cloud completely relies on data as its economy.
Cohesity, on the other hand, takes an all-in-one approach to data management by providing an entire suite of services for data storage, backup, and management. For this reason, it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison between solution providers. Some organizations prefer to go all-in with a single vendor, while others prefer to mix and match between various vendors. The price of the solution should also be kept in mind, as typically, the all-in-one solutions would have a more nuanced pricing structure and may even entice customers to pay for more than they actually use. However, if done well, there is no beating a well-integrated solution that works seamlessly end-to-end. It saves a lot of time by having pre-integrated pieces of the platform and unifies the user experience.
Qumulo will need to use every penny of its funding to expand and capture more of the market. However, with the high growth in cloud computing and forced digital transformation we’re seeing in these times of pandemic, that isn’t hard to imagine happening. With access to apps becoming more distributed, organizations need tighter control over their data to ensure it doesn’t reach the wrong hands. Not just security, but even enabling employees, partners, and users to function normally during these times requires a robust data management practice. There are numerous vendors solving this challenge, and there’s room for all. The market is wide open and big enough to support more than one big vendor.
Data management is a complex process, and what’s equally complex is being able to choose one vendor out of the entire lot of vendors available today. The choices are numerous, and there are various aspects to consider. However, what’s great is that there are solutions to the challenges facing organizations, no matter how unique their situation is. Be it data management or storage or backup, there are robust solutions for them all.
Featured image: Pixabay
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