RIP Active Storage - CLOSED

beskone's picture

Alex Grossman and the CEO left in December and last Friday Active closed the doors for good, all employees were let go and they've locked the offices and warehouse up.

Still trying to determine what ongoing support options there are for existing customers / installs.

Too bad, they made decent stuff.

mark raudonis's picture

Sad to see this. I was an early adopter of the Active Storage line and loved their stuff. It was pricey, but here we are five years later and it's still spinning away.

We had a tech support issue a couple of weeks ago and they handled it well. Guess we snuck in under the wire.

I remember when we bought our first set of raids and we were installing it on the weekend. We were missing a part and called Active. Alex himself drove the part from the south bay to our offices in Van Nuys to get us up an running.

They had a great team. I hope everyone lands on their feet somewhere else.

undercover's picture

Super sad, I was actually just inquiring about purchasing ActiveSAN. Guess mac minis really ARE the future.

savowood's picture

As one of the Active Support and Field Engineering team, I can tell you it was a surprise to all of us the way things developed. For those of you who know us, find us at NAB and we may be able to tell you the finer details by then.

Most of us are actually okay and employed elsewhere already. Details will be public fairly soon.

abstractrude's picture

Very disappointing. I always loved the Active Storage culture. Wonder if someone will buy the name/patents etc. Good luck to everyone that was at Active.

Bigger question, now that active is gone and I still don't like promise. What is the go to storage for integrators?

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

nmart's picture

This is really tragic - such awesome kit - brings back the same feelings I had when the Xserve was canned.

Lets spare a thought for the engineers who now are jobless - maybe if anyone knows of openings for guys they can post them here

matx's picture

abstractrude wrote:

Bigger question, now that active is gone and I still don't like promise. What is the go to storage for integrators?/quote

I've been setting up a lot of Rorke Aurora Galaxy for my SANs.

Kadimac Corp's picture

This is a good time to contact your resellers or VARS and build a plan to move forward. Companies like mine and Tekserve will do their best to support our users and their environments. Active made fine equipment and I expect it will keep chugging along for a good long time, but it is a good idea to plan the next step for when the time comes. Hopefully we will hear more about the Active situation in regards to support and we all can make good choices as to what to do.

Ben Greisler
Kadimac Corp
ben@kadimac.com

Disclaimer: I am a reseller for Active (well, was), Promise and Nexsan.

handygeek's picture

This stinks. I always thought highly of this little crew. Sure would be nice if another storage provider would buy up their product line at the very least. I wonder if BlackMagic Designs is buying anymore small companies out. Could be a real opportunity for them.

-oo-
HandyGeek
-oo-

carbon's picture

Subject says it all. What happens to active support contracts? How about parts?

abstractrude's picture

Thats a huge question. There a number of laws protecting consumers. I really don't see how Active's backers get out of this without some sort of compensation for customers. But I'm not a lawyer.

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

TuberMagPico's picture

Alex has have left the company he founded and I wish him all the best !

Active has great minds and people, and if you'll take a look at their linkedin profile the are with quantum now..

let's give it a day or two and wait for that press release.

a nickel

jtaylor5959's picture

mark raudonis wrote:
Sad to see this. I was an early adopter of the Active Storage line and loved their stuff. It was pricey, but here we are five years later and it's still spinning away.

We had a tech support issue a couple of weeks ago and they handled it well. Guess we snuck in under the wire.

I remember when we bought our first set of raids and we were installing it on the weekend. We were missing a part and called Active. Alex himself drove the part from the south bay to our offices in Van Nuys to get us up an running.

They had a great team. I hope everyone lands on their feet somewhere else./quote

@Mark... I remember that, Shane and I were there. It was that one incident that made me a believer too. We put in almost 2 PB of Active where I work.
(just recently too. :shock:

shawnbti's picture

Bright Tech has already been a approached by a few Active San users looking for support assistance. Bright is a technology company specializing in high-speed, low latency, SAN server appliances (MDCs). We have 60+ man years of experience with Stornext,, high-end storage devices, media applications, networking and workflow design. BTI also develops additional software layers to deliver high-speed, latency free, predictable performance critical to streaming media files.

Please give us a call if you need assistance.

http://www.4bright.com

aaron's picture

Quantum has asked me to post an [url=http://www.xsanity.com/article.php?story=20130125120037992]FAQ regarding the shutdown/url. Important points:

  • Quantum has not acquired Active Storage, their products, or their technology.
  • Quantum has already hired "a substantial portion of the Active Storage field team."
  • "Quantum is not assuming responsibility/liability for supporting Active Storage’s customer base."

Please read the full letter on our front page.

Aaron Freimark
CTO, Tekserve

This is quite a shock to us. When we first built our SAN, it was right before Apple pulled the plug on the Xserve RAID. After they did, we found ourselves with rapidly failing hardware and no source for parts. A year and a half ago, we revamped our SAN with all Active Storage hardware. It's been running great, and we've only had a few issues where we needed to get support involved. Now that they've closed their doors, though, I'm afraid we'll end up in the same place as we were with our Apple hardware. Fortunately, it doesn't look like they're using custom firmware on their drives, so as long as I can still get some that are compatible, we shouldn't be in too much trouble.

I wish all the best to the engineers and other folks from AS who were displaced. It was great working with you guys, and we're certainly sorry to see you go.

robert.herzan@av's picture

[Removed due to too much marketing.]

abstractrude's picture

How lame is that quantum press release. Such typical crap from those guys. Hey quantum ur partner failed and u put out a press release with marketing crap and say we can't help? Typical quantum nonsense.

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

Shanesky's picture

For the time being... we can help with support issues, get replacement drives, controllers, power supplies, firmware updates etc. Just incase anyone needs something in an emergency situation, feel free to reach out to us. We do not have the resources to honor active's awesome "no charge" part replacement on their warranties however we can see what we can do as far as hard drive and other RMA's.
We are still standing behind the Active Storage product.

http://skytech.tv/services/active-storage-support/

Shane Sokolosky
[b]Skytech Media Solutions, LLC /b
780 Roosevelt
Irvine CA. 92620
Office : (818) 533-8759
Fax: (760) 645-7087
shane@skytech.tv
Skype: skytech.shane

bs3375's picture

abstractrude wrote:
How lame is that quantum press release. Such typical crap from those guys. Hey quantum ur partner failed and u put out a press release with marketing crap and say we can't help? Typical quantum nonsense./quote

To be fair to Quantum, they can't support ActiveSAN. ActiveSAN is not the same as roll your own. Active altered the base code and inserted their own software layer to provide HA in a similar fashion to Xsan.

There is a whole legal aspect your're forgetting. ActiveSAN was an appliance that was password protected. That password was only available to employees of Active. Even though many Active employees now work for Quantum, if they provided Quantum with said password or an end user without permission from Active they open themselves up to lawsuit. And remember Active was privately backed. We have to assume that the privately backed investors closed Active because they weren't getting a return on their investment (aka they were losing money). If they saw a chance to recoup their losses by suing Quantum, they would. Investors care about money, not people.

My interpretation of the press release was that they want to help but don't know how and/or can't because Active's investors have roadblocked them. I believe that once integrators like myself start working with clients to convert their ActiveSANs to RYO we'll see how much Quantum is really willing to help.

FYI I am not some Quantum fanboy. I know they can be difficult to work with at times whether an end user, reseller or integrator. I am however a fan of their filesystem.

Sent from my iPhone

aaron's picture

I posted the Quantum PR on the home page because it is intimately linked to the Active failure. Not only are they the OEM partner, but they have hired a number of the former Active staff (browse LinkedIn for [url=http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1430440]an example/url or two. I've heard that around a half dozen or more have moved to Quantum. Just as important is the clear statement that Quantum has NOT purchased Active, contradicting earlier rumors. (There is marketing BS in there too, but you've got to expect that, right?)

As for the reasons for the shutdown, I'm quite curious about that. History may be a guide: anyone as old as me remember [url=http://www.macworld.com/article/1021403/micronet.html]Micronet/url?

Aaron Freimark
CTO, Tekserve

shawnbti's picture

Heard there is custom firmware on controllers (accusys) and enterprise class SATA Drives (hitachi) - so not sure if off the shelf replacements will be recognized. just FYI

hutchenstein's picture

Good luck to anyone at Active (or was at Active). All a good bunch of people to deal with. Lets hope you've not been hurt in the crossfire.

Hope this all blows over and someone buys what's left so it can be re-badged and continue being supported.
I guess we'll have to wait until the vulture-lawyers pick the bones clean to see what's left.

abstractrude's picture

Aaron funny you brought up Micronet... Anywho I disagree with quantum's stance. They are in unique position to reach out to ActiveSAN customers and help. The ActiveSAN volumes can easily be transferred to any Quantum StorNext controller or M330/660. They have people working for them that know all of Active's customers and I think an activeSAN style product will help quantum. Anyone use an M330 and want another?

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

TuberMagPico's picture

The parent company by the name of [url=http://www.intelcapital.com/portfolio/company.html?id=14633#/sector=QWxs.../url still mentions them as one of there portfolio companies..
QTM will hold a [url=http://www.4-traders.com/QUANTUM-CORP-12362/news/Quantum-Corp-Quantum-An... Conf Call/url on the 30th, got an alert on that..

aaron's picture

Not sure how I feel about this:

[b]Quantum Hires Alex Grossman to Expand Leadership in Media and Entertainment Market
/bFormer Active Storage Founder and Apple Senior Director's Appointment Is Latest Demonstration of Increased Strategic Investment in Big Data Management

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/quantum-hires-alex-grossman-to-expand-l...

Aaron Freimark
CTO, Tekserve

TuberMagPico's picture

Touché
saw Alex's Linkedin profile change to 'Experienced storage executive driven to make complex media workflow solutions easy' but not mentioning Quantum...<

gm7cadd9's picture

aaron wrote:
Not sure how I feel about this:

[b]Quantum Hires Alex Grossman to Expand Leadership in Media and Entertainment Market
/bFormer Active Storage Founder and Apple Senior Director's Appointment Is Latest Demonstration of Increased Strategic Investment in Big Data Management

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/quantum-hires-alex-grossman-to-expand-l.../quote

I didn't see an accompanying press release, but according to linkedin, Quantum also picked up Active co-founder Skip Levens.

What's odd is the timing, we're trying our best not to be too reactive and let the dust settle a bit, but the sharks (read: salesmen) smell the blood in the water and we are being cold called and courted by all sorts... including people at Quantum.

This puts us in an awkward position, Quantum is a massive company (compared to what Active was anyhow) and it seems the tail may not be aware of what the head is up to. The team I worked with at Active are ALL at Quantum and we are working towards resolutions, yet we are still being pitched by new people at Quantum. I feel a certain entitlement to keep working with my existing team, and I feel like I am being pitched by a used car salesman when Quantum sales reps enter the fray.

Currently I am leaning towards retiring our Active MDCs in favor of an M330, but keeping the mRAIDs/Expansions. Quantum is going to get our money one way or another, they are all just battling over who gets to put their name next to the sale.

method's picture

Quote:
many on the Active Storage team recognized this as a fit and approached us about joining the Quantum team. Quantum decided to add a substantial portion of the Active Storage field team to join our efforts effective immediately./quote

LOL! Yeah that sounds exactly how it must have gone down. Wow.

What do they say, victors write the history books...

undercover's picture

Hey guys, I talked with someone from Quantum the other day (looking to replace 2008 XServe MDCs), and he said that the M330 is retiring this Spring, and is basically being replaced by the M440, and the price difference between them is basically nothing.

I'm still considering Mac Pros or Mac Minis though because the price difference is like $30k + annual support.

I never got around to purchasing Active, but man, I sure am going to miss them :(

abstractrude's picture

undercover have you ever looked into doing your own stornext controllers? that said the mac minis actually work pretty well in many environments. I can never get behind the m330/m440 with building your own stornext controllers being so much less.

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

undercover's picture

abstractrude wrote:
undercover have you ever looked into doing your own stornext controllers? that said the mac minis actually work pretty well in many environments. I can never get behind the m330/m440 with building your own stornext controllers being so much less./quote

How much less are we talking, and how difficult is that process?
2x dell servers decently equipped will be around 15-20k, then you have to add licensing for StorNext. Do you buy direct or through a reseller?

Quantum mentioned an issue with Mini's that require all the clients to reboot on a regular basis, has anyone experienced that? Should minis or Mac Pros be fairly reliable for 6 clients?

abstractrude's picture

have quantum explain the issue, i have not heard of this restart bug. sounds like a software issue to me.

as for cost. you should not be paying 20k for a pair of stornext controllers. you need a fast cpu and raid 1 with fibre card.

I just spec'd a dell at 5K x2 that is perfect. Remember clock speed is more important than cores with Stornext. Think thread execution time more than raw processing power.

As for quantum costs, who knows. Matx may be better help there. I haven't looked at cost for quite a while, i was on the other side of the project.

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

ActiveSkip's picture

Folks - Skip Levens here - recently from Active.. but have now taken on a role at Quantum on the StorNext team.

It's early days yet (two to be exact :) but to sum up, the Quantum team realized that the vision that Active had for Media and Entertainment customers was incredibly important, and they moved mountains, and quickly, to make sure that the team stayed intact. Hopefully this gives an idea of how much they value the vision and product approach we had at Active.

The good wishes on this board for Active mean a lot - at Active we developed deep friendships with the people on this board - everything we built was built with your users in mind - our vision was to make the complex easy to use, and as intuitive as possible - and looking forward, the opportunity to help be your voice at Quantum is really exciting.

It was very clear to me that Quantum is committed to you and your users, the industry and that there is a verrry interesting roadmap and futures taking shape and I'm looking forward to helping drive that.

In the meantime - if you or your client haven't already contacted your former Active team to work about what the support or transition options look like for your ActiveSANs you can you can reach me at skip DOT levens AT quantum.com and I'll help any way that I can.

keithkoby's picture

undercover wrote:

How much less are we talking, and how difficult is that process?
2x dell servers decently equipped will be around 15-20k, then you have to add licensing for StorNext. Do you buy direct or through a reseller?

Quantum mentioned an issue with Mini's that require all the clients to reboot on a regular basis, has anyone experienced that? Should minis or Mac Pros be fairly reliable for 6 clients?/quote

I'm using minis with sanlinks and apple gige to thunderbolt for the public plugged in to the second thunderbolt port on the sanlink. private is going into the built in nic. We are doing growing file on that volume, so lots of extents, lots of IO, but not a ton of files compared to the other volumes. The minis have been solid. I would recommend getting a rack mount kit though to keep the thunderbolt cables in place.

abstractrude's picture

yeah i have only heard good things about minis. not sure what bs quantum is spewing about the restart thing? I like those sonnet rack mount chassis. For a small SAN why not.

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

mguzik's picture

Please contact JMR Electronics, Inc. We would be happy to help any Active Storage customers

abstractrude's picture

Quote:

Please contact JMR Electronics, Inc. We would be happy to help any Active Storage customers/quote

of course you would! you don't sell fibre channel storage. or shared storage for that matter. how will you help?

-Trevor Carlson
THUMBWAR

JSamuel's picture

mguzik wrote:
Please contact JMR Electronics, Inc. We would be happy to help any Active Storage customers/quote

Ugh, what disgusting behaviour... As someone said, sharks smelling blood. In this case shark's in the wrong tank.

Joel Samuel.
/thirtytwo - Apple Consultancy & Direction
Proud sponsor of Xsanity.com

All contributions are my own personal opinions - not those of any entity I represent.

mguzik's picture

abstractrude wrote:
Quote:

Please contact JMR Electronics, Inc. We would be happy to help any Active Storage customers/quote

of course you would! you don't sell fibre channel storage. or shared storage for that matter. how will you help?/quote

We do, please check your facts

mguzik's picture

JSamuel wrote:
mguzik wrote:
Please contact JMR Electronics, Inc. We would be happy to help any Active Storage customers/quote

Ugh, what disgusting behaviour... As someone said, sharks smelling blood. In this case shark's in the wrong tank./quote

Please check your facts

Randy's picture

abstractrude wrote:
yeah i have only heard good things about minis. not sure what bs quantum is spewing about the restart thing? I like those sonnet rack mount chassis. For a small SAN why not./quote

MK 1 Manufacturing makes a nice little 1U rack that holds 2 Mac minis and 2 SANLinks.

[url]http://mk1manufacturing.com/www.mk1manufacturing.com/SANLink.html/url

killabyte's picture

this is baffling. just a couple of day ago i was getting support and the same day i got that sudden message. i did not really understood that, i believe they went on vacations or maybe out for a while for relocation. Last year i planned to scale up my system with a lot of inversion and what for now? i will have to buy big again and twice because i need the bandwidth.

Is it allowed for such a company un the US to suddenly cease operations and leave away customers?

sad

huntson's picture

I don't think Alex should be congratulated here. I have been in many a situation where things suck and whatever the circumstances are, I always think of who I have loyalty to. A phone call at the very least would have been the proper thing.

As for support:

If they didn't go bankrupt (sounds like they didn't) then they have a legal obligation to honor the support contract or fact litigation. This is something we may want to consider.

huntson's picture

shawnbti wrote:
Heard there is custom firmware on controllers (accusys) and enterprise class SATA Drives (hitachi) - so not sure if off the shelf replacements will be recognized. just FYI/quote

Off the shelf drives have been confirmed to work.

huntson's picture

aaron wrote:
Not sure how I feel about this:

[b]Quantum Hires Alex Grossman to Expand Leadership in Media and Entertainment Market
/bFormer Active Storage Founder and Apple Senior Director's Appointment Is Latest Demonstration of Increased Strategic Investment in Big Data Management

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/quantum-hires-alex-grossman-to-expand-l.../quote

Who would follow him?

Eric Savage Ott's picture

"The report of my death was an exaggeration." - Mark Twain

gm7cadd9's picture

“Sometimes dead is better”
― Stephen King, Pet Sematary

i.e. when the dead come back to life, it's not quite the same. It'd be one thing if Active never died and this talk of going out of business was all bad rumors, but the truth is they did. The fact that a resurrection is in the works is good news but it doesn't mean they didn't die..

Barrance's picture

I wouldn't put my money in the NEW Active Storage. They are putting out a real bad vibe and I can't trust it.