An object storage system is a perfect place to keep data that needs storage for a long time. It also works in concert with a tape system if a customer wishes to do so. Why and how you might do that is the subject of this blog post.
An object storage system, by design, stores and retrieves data primarily with its metadata. In contrast to a file system hierarchy, the location of where the object is within the system is irrelevant. What is relevant is the identity of the object, where it came from, what its purposes are, how long to keep it, and how to protect it.
For example, an object might be a video clip of an interview of the latest Super Bowl winner. Bob Costas interviewed the coach, the winning quarterback, the losing quarterback and the MVP in a 4K video format using a two camera setup. Bob Costas’ home network wants to keep this video forever. To do so, it should store the video in at least three places. All of the data about the content becomes metadata stored with the object. That allows us to search for things in a variety of ways. Examples of such searches include show us all the videos of:
- Winning quarterback in 4K format
- Winning quarterback in same interview with MVP
- Anything at the Super Bowl
- Interviews by Bob Costas
Depending on the type of object, the random retrieval speed may be unimportant or paramount. If it is paramount, then a random-access device is most appropriate. This would lead a customer to purchase a purely disk-based object storage system. A disk-based object storage system can also use deduplication and compression, which can make replication easier, as well as save on bandwidth and storage costs.
An object storage system with tape as a component can also do things that a disk-based system can’t do. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of data tapes. Companies that create significant amounts of data that must be transported to another location find tape very convenient. An object storage system is still helpful in that IT can use the system to store and retrieve the data on tape, making the data more valuable.
A movie shoot with 36 red cameras that can jointly generate a petabyte of data in a single day of shooting is probably not going to use replication to get the data from the movie shoot to the studio – tape is a better fit.
The object storage system will make storing and retrieving the data for long periods of time much easier. Marrying object storage with a tape system can help provide an additional copy for backup purposes at a fraction of the cost of having a second replicated object storage system. But again, it is best to have the Object Store system act as the parent system for both the disk portion and tape portion of the system. Objects on unmanaged tapes are even harder to find than objects left on unstructured filesystems.
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Object storage systems provide a management system for storing and retrieving objects with their associated metadata on both disk and tape. Customers needing a high speed of random-access should store their data primarily on a disk-based system, and customers creating significant amounts of data might find transferring their data much easier via tape. Tape can also act as a secondary copy of the data from the object storage system at a fraction of the cost of the alternatives. As is always the case in IT, your mileage may vary and what is most appropriate for you is up to you.
Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) provides a scale-out object-based platform that can serve as an on/off premise cloud archive for backup, LTR and Near-line workloads. ECS D-Series is their solution to replace tape media, offering unparalleled storage density with 4 and 6PB max raw capacity options. Dell EMC offers the highest possible storage density per floor tile at very cost efficient price levels.