Five Key Requirements of TRUE Object Storage

by Wednesday, 05 March 2014

I recently wrote about the evolution of data – from transactional data to unstructured, Internet of Things data – and its impact on shifting the storage paradigm. I said that, amidst all this change, object storage has emerged as a new methodology to help companies store and manage massive pools of data. Today, I would take that one step further by stating that, only a true object storage platform can address challenges associated with new data generation and consumption patterns and deliver on the promise of object storage.

Today, DDN is proud to announce the next generation of WOS– the market’s first true and truly complete object storage platform designed to enable companies to build a highly reliable, infinitely scalable and most efficient storage pool for all their unstructured data needs, and aimed to deliver on the promise of object storage.

But “promise” is a vague term, so we have defined five key requirements that true object storage platforms need to meet in order to be truly complete: Scalability, accessibility, efficiency, reliability and performance. Each of the requirements also has a series of underlying “dimensions.” The requirements and dimensions can affect each other – for example, performance will always impact efficiency – but organizations should always be able to tune their architecture to meet their key requirements, without having to compromise on others.

WOS_chartScalability. Storage platforms can be scaled in three dimensions: the total volume of storage, the number of objects and the number of sites. While applications may not have high scalability requirements for all three dimensions initially, those requirements can change due to external elements so it’s important to build in all three scalability dimension from the start. Object storage platforms need to scale granularly but efficiently and provide full flexibility with respect to data protection and performance so they can be used for any mix of large and small objects and be tuned for high IOPS, high throughput or both.

Accessibility. Typically, object storage is accessed through applications, which use APIs to interact directly with the backend storage pool. A standard object interface doesn’t currently exist in the industry; therefore it is important for object storage platforms to provide wide support for many variations of protocols and applications.

Efficiency. It is almost impossible to find an object storage platform that does not promise to be the most cost efficient solution on the market. What is more difficult is to find the platform that offers the overall best efficiency, including infrastructure cost, management cost and bandwidth consumption. The latter is especially ignored by the distributed erasure coding solution providers who rely heavily on the WAN and generate a lot of bandwidth traffic for data rebuilds.

Reliability. Whether you are building a low-cost archive or a high-performance storage cloud, reliability is key. But if reliability doesn’t deliver on all three dimensions: availability, durability and integrity, you can’t call it true reliability. Most platforms provide acceptable reliability grades on 1, sometimes 2 of the above – only WOS offers the ability to build in 100% reliability, covering all three dimensions.

Performance. This requirement is measured in throughput, IOPS and latency and object storage platforms must be able to deliver performance in all three dimensions. Object storage throughput is typically measured in MB/s or GB/s – for large WOS environments, total application throughput requirements can reach hundreds of GBs per second. Most object storage platforms are not optimized for small objects, so IOPs tends to be neglected in performance conversations – but this is not the case with WOS. Similarly, most object storage platforms do not allow for latency optimization and do not mention latency in performance conversations, but we are comfortable saying that WOS reduces disk and network latency almost absolutely.

WOS 360 was designed as one single storage solution for all your unstructured data needs. We have carefully analyzed the common storage requirements and built a platform with unprecedented tuning options, enabling customers to give priority to the parameters that are most important for their data or to their customers, in all dimensions.

If you’re interested in learning more about our next generation WOS, please join us for a webinar on March 11 where we will discuss just how we’ve built WOS to become the market’s first true object storage platform, designed to help companies tune their systems to meet the five key requirements of scalability, availability, reliability, efficiency and performance.