Key advantages of true object-based storage

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 23, 2010 — Reducing storage costs is a top agenda item for IT organizations, yet data is an organization’s most valuable asset. Struggling with the performance, scalability and management complexity required to maintain conventional file-based storage systems is a losing battle if you need to store your data more than 90 days. Object-based storage delivers a better value proposition with improved performance, unlimited scalability and near-zero administration to provide businesses with unbeatable storage TCO when managing vast capacities of unstructured data, according to Caringo Inc., the leading provider of content storage software enabling clustered storage for active and archived content.

Here are six key advantages of true object-based storage that you should be aware of before making your next storage system purchase decision:

1. Object Storage Aligns Storage Costs with the Value of Data

Object storage systems remove the complexity and management costs associated with keeping an enterprise storage system in production-ready status. Object storage is based on single flat address space that enables the automatic routing of data to the right storage systems and the right tier and protection levels within those systems according to its value and stage in the data lifecycle.

2. Object Storage Delivers Better Data Availability Than RAID

In a properly configured object storage system, content is replicated so that a minimum of two replicas assures continuous data availability. If a disk goes down, another replica still exists. All other disks in the cluster join in to replace the lost replicas while the system still runs at nearly full speed. The recovery takes only minutes with no interruption of data availability and no noticeable performance degradation. Conversely, when a RAID disk fails, the system slows to a crawl while it takes hours or days to rebuild the array while impacting production application performance until the process is complete.

3. Object Storage Provides Unlimited Capacity and Performance Scalability

In object storage systems there is no directory hierarchy (or “tree”) and the object’s location does not have to be specified in the same way that a file’s directory path has to be known in order to retrieve it. In fact, its location within the cluster simply does not matter and may change dynamically as driven by optimization policies. This enables object storage systems to scale to petabytes and beyond without limits on the number of files (objects), file size or file system capacity, such as the 2 terabyte restriction that is common for Windows and Linux file systems. As new servers running on commodity hardware are added to an object storage cluster, performance scales linearly, providing both additional processing and I/O power in parallel to support the massive number of reads and writes for small files as well as the throughput – bytes per second – demanded by large files such as videos or medical images.

4. Object Storage Systems Leverage Metadata in Ways File Systems Cannot

Object storage systems can easily search for data without knowing specific filenames, dates or traditional file designations. They can also use the metadata to apply SLAs, policies for routing, distribution and disaster recovery, retention and deletion, as well as automate storage management. These are functions that file systems just cannot address. With the exception of setting a basic retention period, file systems do not provide the capability to validate the authenticity of content, manage lifecycle policies or support custom metadata.

5. Object Storage Has Industrial-Strength Archiving Built In

By some estimates, 70 percent of data that is generated is never accessed after its initial creation and remains static, while another 20 percent is categorized as semi-active and is rarely accessed, making the need for reliable archiving a must-have for any storage system. For compliance requirements, state-of-the-art object storage systems establish the authenticity of a specific content object by first creating a universally unique ID (128-bit uuid) for the location-transparent address. A digital fingerprint (hash or digest) can be combined with the uuid and these values can be stored as a content seal. By separating the uuid and the hash, the object storage system can transparently upgrade the hash algorithm even before the original one becomes compromised (which happened with MD-5 and SHA-1). This ensures that archived objects cannot be tampered with or maliciously altered.

6. Object Storage Eliminates Backups Because Content is Always Available

In a well-designed object storage system, backups are not required. Multiple replicas ensure that content is always available and an offsite disaster recovery (DR) replica can be automatically created if desired. If the primary cluster becomes unavailable, the DR replica can be used transparently since the uuid of all content is identical in both the primary and DR clusters. This operation is simply impossible in a file system, which often has to overcome the challenges of cumbersome backup windows and long and difficult restore operations.

These are just a few of the capabilities of that make object storage systems well suited to meet the challenge of reducing cost and complexity with an architecture that seamlessly scales to handle the massive volumes of digital content being created today. IT organizations of all sizes should take a serious look at object storage before making any purchase decision on a system to handle their unstructured data storage needs.

About Caringo

Caringo Inc. is a leading provider of object based storage software emphasizing content integrity, availability, performance, distribution and scalability at very low levels of TCO. CAStor has been field-hardened since 2006 and leverages the customer’s choice of commodity hardware to build a robust storage cluster that dramatically improves the scope and economics of corporate content storage. Founded on the operating principle that things should be made as simple as possible and a customer-first focus, Caringo makes object based storage affordable, scalable, fast and easy.