It is a manufacturer of data storage devices and systems, including tape drive and disk-based systems. The company’s headquarters is in San Jose, California. From its founding in 1980 until 2001, it was also a major disk storage manufacturer, and was based in Milpitas, California. Quantum sold its hard disk drive business to Maxtor in 2001 and now focuses on integrated storage systems. It got its start when executives and designers from Shugart Associates, IBM and Memorex came up with an idea for an 8-inch hard drive that would achieve decent performance without the cost or complexity of using a full closed-loop servo system — a difficult task before the advent of dedicated servo ICs and readily available DSPs. Early on, the company designed smaller ST-506-compatible versions of its hard drives, the Q500 series, using the same servo system. In 1985, it introduced the Plus Hardcard, which was essentially a smaller version of the Q500, designed to fit in an ISA slot. In 1986, Quantum entered the then-new SCSI market with the Q280 80MB drive, which was one of the first mass-market drives to use embedded servo. Later on, Quantum combined the Q280’s embedded controller design with the servo hardware from the Q500 series, and developed the ProDrive range, which was also its first drive family to support the ATA interface. When the company was started, low end drives generally used stepper motors, which were slow, noisy, and prone to reliability problems. Quantum developed an optical positioning system to guide the actuator arm in “gross motor” movements, using only the closed-loop servo for precisely aligning the heads to a specific track. This “glass scale” solution saved quite a bit of hardware as it only required a single 8-bit microcontroller to handle the entire servo system. The Q2000 and Q4000 were the first drives to use this technology. Later on, as track pitch narrowed, diffraction became a problem, and the decision was made to discontinue the system in favor of a fully magnetic embedded servo. The last drives to use the optical assist system were the ProDrive LPS 120 and 240 “Gemini” models, released in 1991. The Fireball brand of hard drives were manufactured between 1995 and 2001. In 1995, 540 MB Fireball hard drives using ATA and SCSI were available. In 1997, the Fireball ST, available in 1.6 GB to 6.4 GB capacities, was considered a top performer, while the Fireball TM was significantly slower.After some success with the Fireball AT 1080 and Fireball AT 1280, Quantum skewed briefly toward drives that concentrated more on capacity than speed or performance. Later versions of the Fireball series reversed this trend, and eventually a 7200 rpm Fireball Plus ATA version was released. The first of the Plus series was the Fireball Plus KA, a drive available in sizes up to 18.2 gigabytes, and equipped with the new Ultra DMA 66 interface. The Fireball brand of hard drives were manufactured between 1995 and 2001. In 1995, 540 MB Fireball hard drives using ATA and SCSI were available. In 1997, the Fireball ST, available in 1.6 GB to 6.4 GB capacities, was considered a top performer, while the Fireball TM was significantly slower.After some success with the Fireball AT 1080 and Fireball AT 1280, Quantum skewed briefly toward drives that concentrated more on capacity than speed or performance.
Later versions of the Fireball series reversed this trend, and eventually a 7200 rpm Fireball Plus ATA version was released. The first of the Plus series was the Fireball Plus KA, a drive available in sizes up to 18.2 gigabytes, and equipped with the new Ultra DMA 66 interface. In July 1994, Quantum purchased DEC’s data storage division. This gave Quantum access to the DLT streaming tape system, as well as Digital’s design team in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, which previously designed the RZ72 SCSI disk. The StorageWorks brand of disk arrays was not included in the deal. After the acquisition, Quantum tasked the Shrewsbury design team with developing the Atlas series of SCSI disks. Quantum’s Milpitas design team created the Viking, Phoenix and Katana designs. Due to widespread Y2K fears, and the associated desire to safeguard data, the DLT product line had a large increase in sales in the late 1990s. As a result, Quantum split the company into two parts, one for the DLT products, and one for hard disk drives. By 2000, the hard drive market was becoming less profitable. Quantum decided to sell its hard drive division to Maxtor at this time. The transfer took effect on April 1, 2001. Although Maxtor systematically eliminated much of the staff of Quantum’s former hard drive division during the following year, it continued most of Quantum’s disk storage products and brands until it was acquired by Seagate Technology on December 21, 2005. Since 1994 when it acquired the Digital Linear Tape product line from Digital, Quantum has sold tape storage products, including tape drives, media and automation. In 2007, Quantum discontinued development of the DLT line in favor of Linear Tape-Open, which it began selling in 2005 following its acquisition of Certance. Quantum’s tape automation portfolio includes SuperLoader autoloaders and Scalar tape libraries. Its Scalar line, originally developed by ADIC, includes entry-level, midrange and enterprise products. Quantum’s Scalar libraries incorporate iLayer management software and the Extended Data Life Management feature, which automatically evaluate the integrity of tape drives and media within the library.
Quantum’s tape libraries are sold under the company’s own brand as well through OEM partners, including Dell, HP and IBM. In 2012, Quantum introduced its Scalar LTFS appliance, which offers new modes of portability and user accessibility for archived content on LTO tape. They introduced its first disk-based backup and recovery product, the DX30, in 2002 and has continued to build out this product line. At the end of 2006, shortly after its acquisition of ADIC, Quantum announced the first of its DXi-Series products incorporating data deduplication technology which ADIC had acquired from a small Australian company called Rocksoft earlier that year. Since then, Quantum has expanded and enhanced this product line and now offers DXi solutions for SMB, midrange and enterprise customers. In 2012, Quantum also announced a virtual deduplication appliance, the DXi V1000. DXi-Series products incorporate Quantum’s patented data deduplication technology, providing typical data reduction ratios of 15:1 or 93%. The company offers both target and source-based deduplication as well as integrated path-to-tape capability. DXi works with all major backup applications, including Symantec’s OpenStorage API, and supports everything from remote offices to corporate data centers. Quantum includes all software licenses for each model in the base price. In addition to its DXi-Series of disk backup products, Quantum also offers its RDX removable disk libraries and NDX-8 NAS appliances for data protection in small business environments. The company introduced these products in 2011. Quantum’s vmPRO software and appliances are used for protecting virtual machine data. vmPRO software works with DXi appliances and users’ existing backup applications to integrate VM backup and recovery into their existing data protection processes. It auto-discovers VMs and presents a file system view, allowing users to back up VMs or files within VMs without adding VM-specific agents. When data is read through the vmPRO software, inactive data is filtered out, reducing backup volumes by up to 75% and boosting deduplication rates. To support fast recovery, vmPRO software augments traditional backup with a simple VM snapshot utility that creates native-format VM copies on secondary disk, allowing restore at a VM or at a single file level. In March 2012, Quantum announced that its vmPRO technology and DXi V1000 virtual appliance had been selected by Xerox as a key component of the company’s a key component of Xerox’s cloud backup and disaster recovery services. In August 2012, Quantum announced Q-Cloud, its own branded cloud-based data protection service, which is also based on vmPRO and DXi technology. Q-Cloud provides backup of both physical and virtual infrastructures for capacities ranging from 1 TB up to 1 PB of protected data. Quantum’s acquisition of ADIC in 2006 included ADIC’s StorNext File System and archive product line. SNFS delivers high-performance file access in environments where large files must be shared by users without network delays, such as analyzing real-time satellite image data, or where a file must be available for access by multiple readers starting at different times, such as on-demand access of a movie stored on disk. SNFS also supports heterogeneous environments across Linux, Mac, Unix, and Windows operating systems. Now in its fourth generation, StorNext has been in use for almost two decades in a number of vertical markets, including media and entertainment, government surveillance, oil and gas, and life sciences. In 2011, the company added the StorNext appliance offerings to its product family. In addition to the StorNext Archive Enabled Library, the company added a metadata controller, a scale-out gateway appliance, and several scalable storage systems. In February 2012, the company bolstered the StorNext appliance family with the addition of the QS2400 Storage System, followed in July by the M660 metadata appliance.