What are the Best Use Cases for Object Storage?

As part of our “2019 Strategies Series”, Storage Switzerland is hosting a live panel discussion “What’s Your Plan for Object Storage”, to help organizations create and implement an object storage strategy. Experts from Caringo, Cloudian and Scality will join Storage Switzerland for a live panel discussion in which we will cover the basics of object storage, what to look for in a solution and how to get started. In this column we will detail some of the initial use cases that we find pay the biggest return on investment.

Object storage is the answer for the massive growth that most organizations are experiencing in their unstructured data storage. It scales, it is cost effective and object storage can be the backend for many unstructured data tasks. Object storage vendors have made it easier then ever to get started with object storage. Most vendors either directly or through partnerships provide turnkey hardware and software to solve specific problems. They all have also lowered the bar to entry; no longer do you need hundreds of petabytes of capacity in order to justify the startup cost.

High ROI Use Cases for Object Storage

The first step is deciding where the organization can most benefit from object storage. Two of the most popular first use cases that Storage Switzerland sees is using object storage as a compliment to NAS storage or using object storage to compliment backup storage.

Using object storage to compliment backup storage is potentially the simplest starting point because depending on the data protection software there is often no additional software requirement. Several data protection solutions can communicate directly with object storage and can leverage it to move old backups to it, dramatically lowering the speed at which primary backup storage needs upgrading. If the backup software does not support object storage directly then most object storage solutions can provide a file system mount point like NFS that the backup software can access.

The second use case is off-loading old file data from network attached storage (NAS) systems like NetApp Filers. Object storage vendors either directly or through third party relationships can provide turnkey solutions that automatically move older data from the primary store to the object store.

Offloading old data from primary storage has multiple benefits beyond the most obvious, cost savings. Moving the data from primary storage reduces backup complexities because there is less data to protect — properly configured object stores are essentially self-protecting. Depending on the software used, moving old data off the production file server also enables the data movement software to organize and better track the data it is now managing. The information about the files managed by the data movement software puts the organization in an excellent position to comply with either current data privacy laws like GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act or to be prepared to comply with new regulations as they come about.

There are of course other use cases for object storage like using it to directly capture IoT data or using the object storage system as a backend to an enterprise file sync and share solution but augmenting NAS and backup storage are excellent places to start and the provide an almost instant return on investment.

To learn more about object storage and how to create a plan for 2019 join us for our live panel discussion “What’s Your Plan for Object Storage.”

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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