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Quantum’s ATFS aims to classify and manage unstructured data

Quantum has announced an expansion to its storage portfolio with the addition of the ATFS (All-Terrain File System). ATFS is NAS-type file storage based around a file system, but with enhanced capabilities in terms of its ability to interrogate file metadata, tag files and provide multiple management options based on rules applied to them.

ATFS is the result of Quantum’s acquisition of Atavium in April. Atavium manages data and optimises migration of data and workflows. It provides search and policy-based tiering, which range from on-board flash to external and cloud storage. It applies so-called “zero-touch data classification” to classify files as they pass through workflow. It can also provide virtual file system views of specific datasets based on tags in metadata.

ATFS comes in hardware appliance format with a node taking up to 24 NVMe drives plus 24 spinning-disk HDDs. Base capacity starts with eight NVMe drives and 18 HDDs. Up to four JBODs can be attached to an ATFS node to give up to 4PB of raw capacity. Erasure coding lops that down by about 20% in practice.

ATFS connectivity to hosts is SMB or NFS and claimed throughput is 12GBps.

ATFS aims to target organisations’ increasing needs to deal with large amounts of unstructured data, said product marketing director Noemi Greyzdorf, and to allow for visibility into that data.

The move comes as Quantum also announced an upgrade to its StorNext file system products to version 7.

The company positions StorNext and ATFS as two potential file storage options with quite different use case scenarios in mind.

StorNext is aimed at customers that need high performance for largely sequential and parallelised workloads, such as in video production, geospatial and surveillance operations.

ATFS is for customers that don’t have the same high throughput sequential needs, but do need data classification and management, such as those in legal, life sciences, financial services and healthcare.

Having said all that, Quantum does allow for data to be moved between StorNext and ATFS according to use case during data lifecycle.

“There is an overlap between the two,” said Greyzdorf. “But there’s no question when you would use StorNext and when you would use ATFS. And they are separate products with separate code bases.”

In the Quantum scheme, StorNext and ATFS can both sit above the company’s ActiveScale object storage platform, which can provide bulk storage for the two file-handling storage environments.

ActiveScale, bought from Western Digital earlier this year, is the object storage platform that Quantum had sold under its Lattus branding for five years before that.

Licensing for StorNext and ActiveScale will now be on a capacity basis with hardware and software separated and software charged on a $/TB/year scheme.

Currently it is possible to run ATFS and StorNext as virtual machines in public cloud proof-of-concept deployments, but that will not be offered as a product until 2021, said Greyzdorf.

Earlier this year, Quantum gained approval to trade on Nasdaq after accounting irregularities had seen it de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange in 2019.

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