There seems to be wide agreement across the industry that object storage has the potential to provide major value to customers, particularly as customer data scales to reach petabytes of valuable – often distributed – content across a wide range of customer environments.
So there was an interesting discussion last week at the Next Generation Object Storage Summitabout what’s inhibiting the adoption of object storage across the industry. After a day and a half of (sometimes quite lively) discussion between analysts and industry participants, the top three inhibitors were summarized as: (1) general market awareness; (2) customer education about where the technology fits; and finally, (3) the availability of ‘on ramps’ to the technology, namely applications that will write to it. There are few applications available in the market today that write to the REST interfaces that native object storage supports. And while storage service providers are motivated enough to manage the production of these interfaces themselves, traditional production customers typically don’t have the resources (or patience) to manage this activity.
This is one of the reasons, of course, why a number of the vendors in the object storage space are ‘wrapping’ their object storage in traditional interfaces, like NFS and CIFS.
But – it became clear during the summit – Quantum is unique in having gone a step further than this. Our discussions in 2012 with major active content owners revealed that it’s not just having a standard interface that matters. Object storage is extremely scalable and durable, and it is generally suited to applications that need online access and high throughput but which can tolerate mild latency in initial retrieval. This is what makes object storage a ‘best fit’ technology for either a content warehouse or – more often in traditional customer environments – a secondary storage tier. And once you say ‘secondary tier,’ this means object storage not only needs a standard interface, it also needs a way to move data to and from the primary tier, also known as a ‘data mover.’
So rather than asking all our application developer partners to rewrite their policy data movers to support this new tier of storage, we instead integrated a model of object storage (Lattus-M) leveraging Quantum’s policy data mover, the StorNext Storage Manager. In effect, Storage Manager virtualizes the interface into Lattus-M object storage with its Storage Manager-compatible interface behind the investment that our partners have already made. This means any application (media asset manager, content manager, etc.) that has been integrated (and certified) with Storage Manager is automatically enabled to work with object storage. No new development (or maintenance) on the part of the application developer; no new application software installation for the customer. Simple, non-disruptive adoption.
As we expected, this has resulted in strong interest (and ramping adoption) of Quantum Lattus-M in customer sites where certified Quantum-Application Developer partnerships were already in place. In these environments, it’s easy for customers to not only see the value of scalability, durability and accessibility that object storage offers but also actually implement it.
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Check out Quantum’s Object Storage offering, Lattus, in more detail here.