How-to guide: Object storage system implementation

Learn why IT shops are turning to an object storage system to increase scalability, and simplify data protection and capacity optimization tasks.

Object storage systems have become a recognized alternative to file- and block-based systems, especially for public and private cloud storage infrastructures. Traditional file systems suffer from limited scalability and metadata due to their hierarchical structures, slowing performance and making tasks like data protection and capacity optimization more difficult. Object storage relieves both of these problems, providing enough metadata to ease security, optimization and data resiliency processes, while offering an indexed file structure that's ideal for unstructured data and allows files to be dispersed over wide geographic areas with a minimized effect on performance.

While the advantages of using an object storage system instead of a traditional file system may be clear, the many details of successfully implementing this technology are not. The way object storage deals with protocols and metadata -- plus its lack of standards -- can create a learning curve for those unfamiliar with the technology. The following SearchCloudStorage.com object storage guide is designed to keep data storage administrators informed of the advantages, disadvantages and new product offerings surrounding object storage.

Table of contents:

Object storage architecture gaining momentum

Due to their simplified flat file structures and the way they use metadata, object storage systems are becoming a popular choice among those looking to increase scalability and simplify data protection and capacity optimization tasks. Cloud storage providers have been among the most eager adopters of the technology, using it to improve performance and scalability on the back end, and ease access for users on the front end through multi-tenancy features. Storage admins and users are not only likely to run across object storage in cloud-based storage, but in systems that handle unstructured data as well. As data sets scale, the hierarchical structure of file-based systems tend to cause performance issues, a problem that can be solved by implementing an object-based storage architecture. With cloud-based storage adoption and unstructured data storage requirements both on the rise, object-based storage is proving a viable option for unstructured data.

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Object storage vendor offerings continue to grow

Vendors who want to increase scalability, provide geographic independence and multi-tenancy, and offer commodity components for their back-end infrastructure have had a hard time overlooking the use of an object storage system as their file structure offering. In the last year alone, Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and NetApp Inc. have each made announcements regarding their object storage offerings. With major players and startups like Amplidata and Cleversafe Inc. entering the space, this guide aims to help you stay abreast of the object storage vendor landscape.

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Object storage system use cases are adding up

While traditional NAS file systems are still the most popular file system structure, users have become more open to implementing object technology to store large amounts of discrete files. Read the following use cases for object storage systems to find out how storage decision-makers are implementing the technology in their environments.

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Watch and listen: Object storage podcasts and videos

If reading about object storage isn't enough, here are the latest podcasts and videos discussing object technology featuring data storage expert Marc Staimer, president of Beaverton, Ore.-based Dragon Slayer Consulting.

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