There’s no question that the enterprise is starting to use object storage, even if you only consider the use of the various public cloud storage vendors, as they all use object storage interfaces. Of course, many people storing their corporate data on such services are doing so via a gateway. There are a few reasons why that is the case.
The biggest reason many companies are using NFS and SMB gateways to store data in the cloud is simply that most applications do not know how to write to an S3 API. The gateways give customers a POSIX compliant interface that they are familiar with and converts the stored files to S3 objects that are stored in the cloud. If someone wanted to use object storage in their data center, it should go without saying that it should have the ability to accept and deliver information through NFS and SMB.
Another big issue with many private objects storage products is they do not have access control figured out. Microsoft has done a great job with centralizing identity verification and authentication as well as managing who has access to what file. Object storage products that want to run in the data center need to interface with Active Directory so authentication and authorization can work hand-in-hand with customers existing infrastructure. Customers already using Amazon S3 will want an object storage vendor to interface with their Identity and Access (IAM) module.
Some customers also want data encrypted both in flight and at rest. Customers interested in encryption have probably already invested in key management systems that need to be interfaced with as well. Encryption is only as good as the key management system, and object storage systems wishing to implement encryption are probably best to interface with existing key management systems rather than going beyond their core competence and creating their own.
Finally, the bigger an enterprise is the more likely they are to use features like chargeback. Someone can argue that chargeback is the only way to truly drive user behavior. Object storage vendors that implement chargeback will have an advantage in such organizations.
Scality is releasing all of the above functionality and more with the release of Ring 6.4. Scality already supports NFS and SMB access to their high-speed scalable ring architecture. It is now adding support for AWS IAM and Active Directory, encryption using third-party key management systems, and other features such as chargeback, health checks, and support for SEC compliant WORM storage.
Scality is also announcing that Scality’s S3 server is available in the Amazon Marketplace. S3 Server is a free open-source version of its product that runs on a single node. It is written in Node.js and is a single docker container. It uses docker volumes for persistent storage. S3 Server is a fully-functioning S3-compliant object storage system that can be used to experiment with object storage or to test your application’s ability to write to S3 storage.
The more companies, like Scality, add features that the enterprises expect, the more likely we are to see private object storage in the enterprise. Ring 6.4 adds a number of important features that many enterprises would consider necessary to an already impressive product. The totally free S3 server should be a great way to get the Scality name in front of anyone considering object storage.