In today’s computing environment, more and more companies are beginning to work with massive datasets, ranging into the hundreds of petabytes and beyond. Whether it’s big data analytics, high-definition video, or internet-of-things applications, the necessity for companies to handle large amounts of data in their daily operations continues to grow.
Historically, enterprises have managed their data as a hierarchy of files. But this approach is simply inadequate for efficiently handling the huge datasets that are becoming more and more common today. For example, public cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, that must service many thousands of users simultaneously, would quickly become intolerably unresponsive if every user data request meant having to traverse the folders and subfolders of multiple directory trees to find and collect the information needed for a response.
That’s why modern public cloud platforms, and other users of big data, use object storage in place of older file systems. And as the use of private clouds grows, they too are employing object storage to meet the challenges of efficiently handling large amounts of data.
What Is Object Storage?
With object storage, there is no directory tree or folders. Instead, there is a flat global namespace that allows each unit of stored data, called an object, to be directly addressed.
Each object contains not only data, but also metadata that describes the data, and a global ID number that uniquely identifies that object. This allows every object in the storage system, no matter where it might be physically stored, to be quickly retrieved simply by providing its unique identifier.
Why Object Storage is Well Suited To Private Clouds
When it comes to handling massive datasets in a cloud environment, object storage has a number of unique advantages. Let’s take a look at some of these:
- It’s infinitely scalable. Because of its flat namespace, an object storage system can theoretically be scaled without limitation simply by adding objects, each with its own unique ID.
- Metadata makes searching easy. The metadata that accompanies each object provides critical information about the object’s data, making it easy to search for and retrieve needed data quickly and efficiently without having to analyze the data itself.
- It’s highly robust and reliable. The VPSA Object Storage differs from a traditional RAID redundant storage using a distributed “Ring” topology policy under the hood. Zadara Object store allows for a 2-way or 3-way replication as options which the customers can choose at creation time. By the use of erasure coding (instead of RAID) to achieve continuous and efficient replication of data across multiple nodes, an object storage system automatically backs data up, and can quickly rebuild data that is destroyed or corrupted. Nodes can be added or removed at will, and the system uses Swift’s underlying Ring replication to ensure that new objects are incorporated, or removed ones are rebuilt, automatically and transparently.
- It simplifies storage management. The metadata of an object can contain as much (or as little) information about the data as desired. For example, it could specify where the object is to be stored, which applications will use it, the date when it should be deleted, or what level of data security is required. Having this degree of detail available for every object allows much of the data management task to be automated in software.
- It lowers costs. Object storage systems don’t require expensive specialized storage appliances, but are designed for use with low-cost commodity disk drives.
Zadara VPSA Object Storage
Zadara offers an object storage solution that incorporates all the advantages discussed above, and then some. VPSA Object Storage is specifically designed for use with private as well as public clouds. It is especially suited to storing relatively static data such as big data or multimedia files, or for archiving data of any type. VPSA Object Storage provides anytime, anywhere, any-device remote access (with appropriate access controls) via HTTP.
The VPSA Object Storage solution, which is Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift compatible, features frequent, incremental, snapshot-based, automatic data backup to object-based storage, eliminating the need to have separate backup software running on the host.
If you would like to explore how Zadara VPSA Object Storage can help boost your company’s private cloud, please contact us.