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Volume 27, Issue 3

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December 18, 2013

Top Six Reasons to use Object Storage – and Why They Matter

AUSTIN, Texas – As cloud storage technology is increasingly adopted for a broad range of consumer and business applications, the storage landscape is transitioning away from traditional disk arrays to object-based storage systems. A recent IDC report predicts that the market for File- and Object-Based Storage (FOBS) will experience an annual growth rate of 24.5% through 2017, reaching $38 billion. “Increased versatility will result in more diverse use cases for FOBS,” said IDC. 

Software-based object storage is not saddled with the cost, complexity and vendor lock-in of legacy storage arrays or the scalability limitations of traditional file system storage. 

Experts at Caringo®, the leading provider of object storage software, offer the following six reasons object storage offers the scalability, availability, resiliency and accessibility for cloud-scale storage.

1. No Single Point of Failure: 
The most efficient object storage systems are built on a symmetric architecture where all nodes run the same code, resulting in high availability and unprecedented scalability, eliminating any single point of failure. 

Why this matters: When you hear management node, controller node, or database, this means more management and the addition of additional points of failure that can critically impact performance, stability and fault tolerance. In highly available object storage solutions, all nodes do the same thing, so that if one fails the others can immediately remedy the issue. This also eliminates the need for specialized hardware that needs to be physically shipped if an issue is discovered.

2. Flexible Data Protection on a Per-Object Basis:
Data protection flexibility is critical as no one data protection scheme works for every use case. Object storage systems need both replication and erasure coding, as well as the ability to move between the two, all in the same cluster to ensure comprehensive, efficient data protection. 

Why this matters: Different environments and even different objects require different combinations of replication and erasure coding. Object storage solutions that limit the flexibility of changing from one protection scheme to the other, or lock the protection scheme to specific hardware, ultimately hinder growth and the ability to optimize resources. Support for both protection schemes on the same server means you can ensure access, data protection and resource utilization system wide – without constraints.

3. Support for Large and Small Files: 
Object stores must be designed to handle a broad range of applications and workloads without performance impact, and be equally capable of storing and accessing billions of small files, documents, and emails – or very large files like high-definition videos.  

Why this matters: Functionality regardless of file size is important to ensure performance. While compression algorithms get more efficient in making files smaller, continued technological advancements will result in larger files. An object storage solution delivers rapid access and efficient storage, regardless of file size or object count. 

4. Granular, Automated Scalability: 
Best-in-class object stores are highly scalable, allowing the addition of a single disk all the way up to multiple nodes to extend the capacity or performance.  

Why this matters: Granular scalability lets you scale as you grow and eliminates the need to over purchase hardware because of the storage system’s technical limitations.

5. Continuous Integrity Checks and Fast Volume Recovery:
Best-of-breed solutions continuously check content integrity based on both the data protection schemes in use and the integrity of the content itself. If a bad disk is discovered, recovery should be distributed, with the rate of repair accelerating as the storage solution grows.

Why this matters: Content should always be available. Unfortunately this is an area where some object storage solutions need improvement. Some only check content integrity on reads, which is not the optimal time to ensure data integrity. Others employ specialty nodes to identify and repair issues, which limits scale and creates bottlenecks.

6. Instant Content Look-up and Retrieval:
Best-of-breed solutions allow queries against the object store based on object attributes or customizable metadata “tags” stored with the object. Because metadata is stored with the object, content is self-contained and security, authentication, and all other identifying information is always available regardless of application, employee turnover, technological obsolescence or even time. 
Why this matters: As the amount of content grows from millions to billions of objects and management resources change (hardware migration and employee turnover), efficient content look-up and retrieval becomes a challenge. Some object solutions store metadata in a separate database, which introduces an additional layer of complexity between content requests and content delivery – a textbook bottleneck. Databases also become unwieldy with size and require investment in specialized management resources. 
To learn about how to evaluate cloud storage options, identify the commonalities and differences among solutions and get a cheat sheet to assist in your evaluation, click here for an on-demand webinar hosted by Caringo. 


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About Caringo
Caringo develops object storage software that gives you control over any volume, flow or size of unstructured information; dramatically reducing complexity and costs while extracting maximum value and performance from hardware. Caringo's unique benefits are delivered through a symmetric architecture that enables massive scalability, elastic content protection, and automation of management in a comprehensive software suite. The result is the industry's most efficient object storage software ideal for cloud storage, big data, and active archives in any industry.