According to Marc Staimer, there are four object storage use cases that outweigh the rest -- and they all point back to storage in the cloud.
Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, said during a presentation at TechTarget's Storage Decisions conference that active archiving, business intelligence and backups are all well suited for object storage. Those object storage use cases take advantage of the technology's notable qualities: it stores data in a single namespace, is highly scalable and it is more customizable than other types of storage due to the ability to store granular metadata.
Active archiving. Object storage can provide the large volume of capacity an active archive needs, and the single namespace and granular metadata allows archived data to be easily located. Archiving software can help the data migration process. "[Active archive] software -- like Veritas Enterprise Archive [and] IBM archiving software -- will move data from where it is in block or file because it goes through the application, and move it to the object storage and maintain chain of ownership," Staimer said.
Business intelligence. Object storage's ability to store large amounts of unstructured data makes it a good fit for business intelligence. While Hadoop is the most obvious business intelligence application that works well with object data storage, data warehouses and NoSQL databases can also take advantage of object storage's scalability and low cost, according to Staimer.
Backup. Many of today's backup providers, such as Commvault and Veritas, back up directly to object storage in the cloud using an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) interface. In such cases, users can choose to spin up apps in a disaster recovery site or in the cloud.
Storage in the cloud. Whether storage in the cloud is used for backup, archiving or big data, there's a good chance the technology behind it all is object-based. Most major cloud service providers such as Amazon S3, Azure and Google use object storage on the back end. "The reason they went with object storage is because of cost," Staimer said.
Transcript - Majority of object storage use cases point back to the cloud
Marc Staimer, founder of Dragon Slayer Consulting discusses four object storage use cases during a presentation at TechTarget's Storage Decisions conference. The text has been edited for clarity.
Marc Staimer: Let's start with active archiving. That's another software -- like Veritas Enterprise Archive [and] IBM archiving software -- [that] will move data from where it is in block or file because it goes through the application, and move it to the object storage and maintain chain of ownership. So you can use archive software in that fashion, and they'll write directly to an [Amazon] S3 interface. That's good because active archiving allows search [and] e-discovery, and archiving software will take care of the data movement issues I brought up earlier. So think about that for a moment.
A second really good application for object storage is business intelligence. We talked about Hadoop, and that's great, but there's more -- data warehouses, NoSQL, all work really [well] with object storage. Again, key terms [are] eventually consistent, a lot of data, unstructured data, easily scalable, works with NoSQL, Hadoop. It even works [with] data warehouses, which are SQL-based, but essentially you aren't being transaction-oriented -- it's online analytical processing, not online transaction processing. So you have a really good fit for the application.
Storage in the cloud [is another object storage use case]. Most people don't realize this, but the biggest part of storage in the cloud is object storage. [For example], S3, Azure Blob and Google Cloud Storage all tend to be object-based, not block-based. You can get block in the cloud, you can get NAS in the cloud, but the majority of storage in the cloud is object storage. So it's a good form of low-cost storage in the cloud. That's why it's in the cloud. You have to remember something about cloud services: All cloud providers are like the supermarket of IT services: They have a low margin and make it up in volume. So the reason they went with object storage is they can provide low cost. That's why it's there.
Let's look at the best object storage application conclusion. Generally speaking, you're talking about active archiving, business intelligence and backups. Players like Commvault, Veritas [and] Arcserve all have the ability to back up to the cloud or directly to object storage with an S3 interface.
So these are the best [object storage use cases]: active archiving; business intelligence; backup applications; and, of course, cloud storage.