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Shifting The Storage Paradigm | Part Two: The Role of Object Storage

Unstructured data has traditionally been stored in file-based system

In part one of this three-part series I summed up how the way we produce and consume data has evolved over the last three decades, creating a need for new storage methodologies that can help enterprises store and effectively manage massive pools of data. I concluded that the immutable nature of unstructured data storage holds the key to solving the scalability and availability problems of traditional file storage.

Unstructured data has traditionally been stored in file-based systems, which enable users to access files simultaneously and modify them. This is great functionality for office environments, where multiple users might indeed be updating each other's spreadsheets, but it is complete overkill when storing data that will probably never be changed again. DDN developed our Web Object Scaler (WOS) solution with this "unchanging" aspect of data in mind.

WOS has none of the constructs of traditional file systems, which allows us to scale beyond petabytes as one single platform without any of the complexities file-based platforms have.

Object storage also addresses challenges associated with new data consumption patterns. File storage was designed to have users access share pools of storage through network drives. But today, we access our data through a variety of applications on desktops, laptops but increasingly on mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers.

Object storage provides simple and fast interfaces - as opposed to slow gateways - for applications to access the storage directly. This enables new use cases like geographical data distribution, worldwide collaboration, multi-site DR and online, active archives.

Stay tuned for the third part of this blog series, in which I will dig deeper into new methods of data generation and data consumption and illustrate how the new old hype, The Internet of Things (IoT), will further impact storage requirements. Thanks to a new wave of innovation, including connected devices, this paradigm - which in reality was first discussed over a decade ago - has become more actual than ever.

More Stories By Tom Leyden

Tom Leyden is VP Product Marketing at Scality. Scality was founded in 2009 by a team of entrepreneurs and technologists. The idea wasn’t storage, per se. When the Scality team talked to the initial base of potential customers, the customers wanted a system that could “route” data to and from individual users in the most scalable, efficient way possible. And so began a non-traditional approach to building a storage system that no one had imagined before. No one thought an object store could have enough performance for all the files and attachments of millions of users. No one thought a system could remain up and running through software upgrades, hardware failures, capacity expansions, and even multiple hardware generations coexisting. And no one believed you could do all this and scale to petabytes of content and billions of objects in pure software.

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