Quantum simplified things considerably for customers this week, with the announcement of the new Xcellis workflow storage system, which manages SAN, NAS, and distributed LAN client connections — and consolidates its line of disparate StorNext Pro appliances into just a few matching components.

The new converged architecture supports mixed drive profiles and supports up to 10 billion unmanaged files or 1.4 billion managed files in as many as 64 virtual file systems, Quantum said, allowing larger clients to have up to 64 different projects running simultaneously on the same storage system but in completely separate, independent areas.

The most basic Xcellis system takes up just 4RU, Quantum said, compared to the minimum configuration of previous generation hardware, which demanded 8RU. The metadata controllers are housed in two Xcellis Workflow Director nodes, which take up 1RU each for a total of 2RU for the pair. The Workflow Directors control shared client access privileges as well as client connectivity over Fibre Channel and IP for LAN, SMB and NFS sharing.

Xcellis combined user data and metadata storage nodes can have a maximum of 72 TB in a 2RU chassis or up to 336 TB in a 4RU chassis. Dedicated metadata storage can be had in a 2RU unit with up to 19.2 TB of capacity on 2.5-inch SSD drives.

Of course, the system scales up from there — and Quantum says it does so easily and painlessly when extra storage is connected, rather than requiring the addition of storage accelerators or client-side caching. 

"If you bought one of our [previous] systems and then grew as an organization, it was possible that, at one point or another, you would have to do a forklift upgrade, selling or trading in the old system and moving to a new one," Quantum VP of Media and Entertainment Alex Grossman told StudioDaily. "That was disruptive, and it was a fult of the way the hardware was being used, because we had to build it in pieces. But now, we've eliminated those gaps."

Along with the converged architecture comes a reduced footprint, lower power consumption, and lower heat output, Quantum said. 

Quantum also has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to file acceleration. Grossman noted that Xcellis achieves fast file transfer speeds over Ethernet by separating the metadata from the file data for distributed LAN clients. "It builds an Aspera- or Signiant-like accelerated file transfer in your regular facility by separating the metadata path and the data path," he said.

Xcellis runs on the latest release of Quantum's StorNext file system, version 5.3, an update that includes the Q-Cloud Vault (a tier of cloud storage built on Amazon Glacier), client-side encryption for cloud services, support for the upcoming LTO-7 tape format, offload to long-term archives like disk, tape, or Lattus object storage.

Xcellis will start at $45,000 for the entry-level 4RU system with 12 drives. It's expected to ship by the end of November.