December 9, 2016

Quantum is back

Quantum ( | NYSE:QTM), the leader in data protection founded in 1999, participated for the 3rd time to The IT Press Tour, and it was a good session. We have learned a lot of things, Jon Gacek, CEO, and Molly Rector, VP Global Marketing, have covered multiples aspects of the company and products.

First and it’s pretty interesting to notice, Quantum positions itself as a Data Protection and Scale-Out Storage player covering Backup, Archive and File System/Data Management. It’s more than secondary storage and this is what Quantum has promoted for several quarters thanks to StorNext adopted by more than 120,000 clients.
Second, company is now for a few quarters in a better financial situation thanks to the quality of the product and strong market penetration especially in Media and Entertainment (M&E) and more recently in Video Surveillance. The revenue grows 15% y-o-y, scale-out storage revenue is up 56% across all key verticals and the profitability is improved as well.
Quantum timeline and key milestones
Six products were covered in that order: StorNext (SN), Xcellis, Artico, DXi, QXS and Scalar and the order means something at least for me. SN is the flagship product for sure and Xcellis and Artico are two recent solutions of course less known but really interesting, QXS recent as well but more common I should say.
Do we really need to present SN ? The product is famous, well adopted and deployed for 10 years in the M&E and really is the reference for SAN File Sharing System or SAN File System for that usage. Quantum have made a good decision to change the message from these two previous terms to Scale-Out Storage much more aligned with market trends and users demands. SN has two components – File System and Storage Manager – that both have progressed a lot since the MountainGate acquisition in 1999 by ADIC and then since Quantum/ADIC acquisition in 2006. SN SM is a key piece to articulate globally an end-to-end tiering approach providing the policy engine for data management within the enterprise and to optimize TCO. With the different technologies and prices, this multi-tier model is fundamental for all enterprises to control and manage fast rowing data volume and storage devices heterogeneity.

TCO of 1PB over 3 years
Quantum has also realized that historically two pieces were missing in the portfolio represented today by Xcellis and Artico:
  • Xcellis represents the high performance disk – block and files – answer from Quantum, also integrated by SN.
  • Artico is the Archive NAS Gateway Appliance that unifies cloud, tape and object storage namespaces transparently and represents the natural choice for on-prem access to remote high capacity storage units.
  • DXi is still a key revenue contributor for Quantum even if the competition is more active in that market segment with Dell EMC Data Domain (…), HPE StoreOnce or NEC HYDRAstor. The company continues to introduce new flavors with more power and density with SSDs, 8TB HDDs… especially with DXi6900-S last quarter.
  • QXS is a hybrid storage with Flash and HDDs exposed as block storage with embedded tiering, offering up to 1.9PB of capacity and flexible SAS, FC and iSCSI connectivity.
  • Scalar is still an important revenue component with 13% Y-o-Y in the 1st half of fiscal year. Jon Gacek confirmed that tape for backup is declining but is growing for archive, still having the best TCO among storage devices. Quantum also adds two remarks: 75% of QTM customers are still using tapes and LTO-7 is a revenue driver. Interesting. I wrote about the recent Scalar announcements here.
The only surprise was the total absence of Lattus, Quantum object storage offering, during the meeting. I even asked a question about that and the presentation shared with us doesn’t have Lattus written in it. It invites us to question ourselves about the object storage strategy and The Castle project is probably the answer to that. Finally, this session at Quantum HQ was really an interesting one, we have learned a lot of things about the product and market strategy to maintain leadership in M&E, penetrate Surveillance segment and keep position in data protection globally.

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