Unstructured data continues to grow exponentially in volume, and it is playing a strategic role in fueling business intelligence and analytics. As discussed in a previous Storage Switzerland blog, object storage has emerged as a solution well able to address capacity-oriented, distributed unstructured data pools, with massive scalability alongside centralized access, management, analysis and protection.
The value proposition of object storage continues to become solidified, and storage managers have a host of options. When evaluating solutions for purchase, storage managers should keep two key things in mind. First, that unstructured data will still coexist with more traditional structured data, necessitating support for file protocol access. Second, that object storage exists as a component of hybrid and multi cloud ecosystems, creating the need for common, API-driven unstructured data storage, management and protection.
On-premises File Support
Enterprises are storing and leaning more on unstructured data, but traditional structured data streams such as transactional financial data have far from gone away. At the same time, the network-attached storage (NAS) systems that this file data is typically stored on has more scalability limitations and is typically more expensive when compared to object storage. As a result, there is demand to bring support for standard file protocols, including SMB and NFS, to object storage with the objective of centralizing on a common, distributed, scalable and searchable data pool. Storage managers should look for the ability to deliver file services directly to an underlying object storage implementation.
Hybrid and Multi Cloud Support
Multi and hybrid cloud is today’s reality as data and applications are tiered according to capacity, compliance, cost, functionality and security requirements. In the object storage realm, Amazon’s S3 API has become the commonly accepted standard utilized by a host of hardware, service and software providers as well as applications; as a result, for many enterprises it is the basis of cross-cloud object storage connectivity.
The S3 API is commonly supported by object storage vendors, but many solutions support only basic create, remove, update and delete S3 programming functions. Buyers should look for more advanced capabilities, including:
- Multi-tenant provisioning, cloud portability and tiering, and support for the OpenStack private cloud infrastructure framework.
- APIs and extensions for capabilities such as access control lists, location constraints, server-side encryption and key management and client-side encryption to bolster data protection.
- Lifecycle data management capabilities including object versioning, which helps to avoid unintended overwrites or deletes, and bucket lifecycle expiry, which provides policy-based asynchronous data removal.
- Metadata APIs for enhanced data management and search.