10 Things to Know About Object Storage

November 20, 2017
IT Services, Storage

If it seems like the US Signal blog has focused a lot on object storage lately, there’s a good reason for it. It offers many benefits for our customers and can be used for numerous use cases. Here are 10 things to know about object storage to help you determine if it could benefit your company as well.

1.  It’s Scalable.

Expanding file or block storage comes with high costs and durability issues. Not so with object storage. It can be scaled out linearly and almost limitlessly. It’s as simple as adding more nodes to the storage cluster.

2.  It Simplifies Management.

Object storage manages a namespace instead of a rack of storage. Whether the namespace is a rack of storage or multiple racks, it can be managed in a single pane of glass. As such, you get a broader view of your storage resources. Because each object carries its own administrative and descriptive information, object storage also eliminates the need for administrators to perform storage management functions such as using RAID to deal with failures or dividing the disk into logical volumes.

3.  It's Resilient

Object storage employs erasure coding, a data protection method that breaks data into fragments that are expanded and encoded with redundant data pieces. If one or more nodes fail, the data can still be made available without affecting the application or end user. This addresses common issues such as bit-rot, server and failures, and power outages.

4.  It Protects Data and Its Integrity.

As disk drives grow, so do RAID rebuild times — and the possibility of data loss. RAID protects data by rebuilding a disk drive’s information. When a RAID disk fails, the system slows down. It can take takes hours or days to rebuild the array while affecting production application performance. As mentioned in #3, object storage uses erasure coding instead. This protects the data by rebuilding chunks of data instead of a physical device. In addition, object storage employs self-healing to make sure data has not been corrupted. 

5.  It’s Cost Effective.

Object storage is designed to store large amounts that have lower performance requirements. That means it can use less expensive architecture. There is no need for an expensive flash tier and continual tuning of cache to get the best performance. The cost for object storage typically runs just pennies per gigabyte per month. Object storage also generates savings because data protection is built into the object architecture, so less-expensive commodity hardware can be used.     

6.  It Allows for Anytime, Anywhere Access.

Object storage uses a REST-based interface that employs simple read and write commands. That means applications can access data via the Internet anytime, from anywhere and from any device simply by using the object IDs or metadata. These applications can also run seamlessly even when objects are moved or distributed across on-premises and externally hosted environments. This enables an organization to build-out a private cloud while maintaining the ability to move data into a public cloud environment.

7.  It Leverages Metadata.

With object storage, metadata is linked to each object and can be used for many purposes. For example, application- or user-specific information about an object can be captured and used to improve indexing. The metadata can also be used in setting data management policies and centralizing control of storage.

8.  It Facilitates Storage Tiering.

Because object storage captures extensive metadata about each object’s context and content, it provides insight into where those objects should be stored and protected. Rather than relying on file types or access histories, object storage can tell you which files are used together. This results in much more effective storage tiering decisions and more efficient data movement.

With object storage, you don’t need to know an object’s exact location or rummage through file structures. That makes retrieval much faster. The metadata is unrestricted, so storage administrators can implement their own policies for data preservation, retention and deletion.

10.  It Can Be Part of Your DR Plan.

The multiple replicas that are inherent with object storage ensure that data is always available. It also means an offsite disaster recovery (DR) replica can be created if needed. If the primary cluster becomes unavailable, the DR replica can be used transparently since the data is identical in the primary and DR clusters. That can’t happen with a file system, which must deal with cumbersome backup windows and long restore operations.

Ready to Try Object Storage?

Learn more about object storage and how it can benefit your organization. Call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected].  You can also find out more about US Signal’s object storage service here.