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A visual representation of how Qumulo’s new QF2 product works. (Qumulo Photo)

After raising $130 million over five years, Qumulo is ready to reveal what it thinks is the biggest product launch it has made since emerging from stealth mode in 2015: its scalable file-storage system for on-premises workloads is now ready for the cloud.

Qumulo File Fabric (QF2) is now available on Amazon Web Services, giving the Seattle-based startup its first cloud entry point and allowing customers that were limited to running Qumulo’s technology on specialized appliances to have the option of running the product on the world’s leading public cloud provider. QF2 is an extension of the Qumulo Core product, a scalable file-storage system for companies running their own infrastructure.

“It’s a great next step for file storage,” said Peter Godman, co-founder and chief technology officer at Qumulo. “(Customers) have been crying out for a way to represent those datasets in a public cloud concept,” he said.

Qumulo’s products are focused on file storage, which is a different concept than the object storage systems common in public cloud environments, such as the S3 service in AWS. File storage is hierarchical, with folders and trees and links between different files based on certain classifications and definitions. Object storage is a flatter system, in which every file is bundled up with its description and can be accessed with an object ID rather than navigating through the more structured file system.

Qumulo co-founder Peter Godman, left, and CEO Bill Richter, right, a former Isilon executive. (Qumulo Photo)

Object storage is generally considered easier and cheaper to use for basic storage needs, but file storage offers better performance characteristics for certain applications. AWS and other cloud providers offer their own file-storage services on their public clouds, but Godman claimed that they can’t match Qumulo’s scalability.

For example, some teams researching self-driving cars generate as much as 14TB a day of data, and because of the complexity of that data those teams need to store it as files, Godman said. Also, a lot of legacy apps were developed around file storage, and QF2 gives them a way to take advantage of cloud services without having to rewrite their applications, he said.

There are also a lot of performance and analytics benefits in pairing elastic cloud file storage with elastic computing resources that public cloud providers can offer, Godman said. “There hasn’t until now been a quality answer for bringing file-based workloads into the cloud,” he said.

It’s a big step for Qumulo, which is looking for ways to live up to the $130 million it has raised over the last several years from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Madrona Venture Group, and Highland Capital. The company employed 160 people before a few layoffs last year, and raised a $30 million funding round led by Northern Light Venture Capital earlier this year.

The cloud portion of the QF2 service will debut on AWS, but Godman said Qumulo is “in discussions” with Microsoft Azure. QF2 is immediately available for both AWS and on-premises customers, and is available as a subscription for customers with their own infrastructure and on a pay-per-usage basis for cloud customers.

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