Quantum DXi6900 backup box includes StorNext, utility pricing

StorNext 5 and pay-as-you-go pricing included in Quantum DXi6900 backup appliance; challenges four EMC Data Domain configurations.

The Quantum DXi data deduplication backup appliance that launched today is based on its StorNext 5 file system and offering pay-as-you-go pricing.

The DXi6900 will eventually replace the Quantum DXi6000 midrange and the DXi8000 enterprise backup appliances. Quantum is banking on the improved performance from the latest version of StorNext and the utility pricing to enable the 6900 to better compete with EMC's market-leading Data Domain disk backup platform. The DXi6900 scales from 17 terabytes (TB) to 510 TB.

Quantum DXi has always gotten its power from the StorNext file system, but the DXi6900 is the first to take advantage of the improvements in StorNext 5. Quantum rolled out StorNext 5 last December, claiming it can scale to five billion files and boost performance 10 times from the previous StorNext version. StorNext 5 uses multi-threaded CPU operations.

"StorNext 5 was built from the ground up with a lot of performance and scalability improvements," said Casey Burns, Quantum marketing manager for DXi. "It also has better performance with flash and supports batch backups and streaming files."

This Quantum DXi does not use flash, which has not made its way into backup appliances yet.

The DXi6900 ships with a minimum of 34 TB in the box, but customers can start with a 17 TB license and upgrade to 34 TB by activating a license key. Upgrades beyond 34 TB would also include extra capacity that does not have to be licensed. List pricing ranges from $88,000 for 17 TB to $1.5 million for 510 TB.

Quantum also offers pay-as-you-go pricing with its DXi4700 appliance.

Quantum claims the dual-controller DXi6900 can achieve throughputs of 12 TB per hour with a virtual tape library interface, 14 TB per hour with NAS and 16 TB per hour using Symantec OpenStorage Technology (OST).

Dave Simpson, senior analyst for The 451 Group, said Quantum is trying to bring the benefits of StorNext's technology into backup. Quantum sells StorNext appliances for primary data and archiving, and in aLattus family of object storage systems. Its main markets are media and entertainment and life sciences.

"StorNext 5 is the key [to the DXi6900]," Simpson said. "The things StorNext has to do for media and entertainment can translate into potential advantages for backup. It handles a lot of small blocks and streaming files. StorNext also has native support for flash. Nobody's using SSDs for dedupe appliances yet, but if prices keep coming down, you'll see SSDs in backup devices. StorNext 5 may give Quantum some advantages there."

Because it scales from 17 TB to 510 TB of usable capacity, Quantum positions the DXi6900 as competitive with four Data Domain models, ranging from the midrange DD4200 through the enterprise DD990.

"We give customers a single model while with Data Domain, it's 'Which of four models do I choose from?'" Burns said.

Quantum has not had much success going against Data Domain. According to IDC, Quantum's $15.2 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2014 placed it in a fifth-place tie with Barracuda with 2.3% of the purpose-built backup appliance market share. Quantum's revenue declined 18% from the previous year compared to an overall 2.5% drop in the market. EMC was the clear leader with 60% market share, followed by Symantec, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Next Steps

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