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Technical Insight: Object Storage Update

The basic purpose of storage systems is to store and retrieve information based on access from applications executing on hosts.  The method of how data is accessed can be important in dealing with the organization of data and in performance demands.  Storage systems manage access to information in different forms: as blocks of data of a pre-defined size, as files within a file structure, or as objects stored with metadata describing the information. Block storage systems and file-based Network Attached Storage systems are pervasive in Information Technology environments.  Object-based storage systems have been deployed previously but a new generation of object storage systems are now gaining increasing usage because of particular characteristics they provide.  The most important aspect for understanding object storage is not the underlying technology or detailed implementation but what problem is being solved by object storage that is not effectively addressed with more familiar block or file storage.

The most pressing problem is the amount of data that must be handled.  Information capacity increases are primarily in the form of unstructured data.  The growth comes from a number of sources which can be reduced to a few general categories:

  • Information from ongoing operations continues to increase. There is a reluctance to set deletion policies for information no longer required which leads to maintaining data for a very long time.
  • Non-traditional sources of data from sensors, social media, and other external sources used for new analytics applications are increasing the information to be managed.
  • Applications are being developed which use multi-media and drive large storage capacity needs.

The interest in object storage is focused on dealing with capacity demands and can be summarized in two primary areas even though there are many other advantages.

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Related to this document:
Object Storage Comparison Matrix, Object Storage Evaluation Guide, Object Storage Product Selection Guide

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Technology:

Date:

September 28, 2020

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