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What Hardware is Best for Object Storage?

Learn best practices for hardware selection and how to size your object storage solution to match your specific requirements

Table of Contents

Object storage build or buy servers comparison chart

Deciding to build or buy your object storage solution?

Once you have decided that you need to implement an object storage solution, you may consider the question of whether it would be better to build your own object storage solution starting with open source code or to buy a proven object-based storage solution such as Caringo Swarm. There are a number of considerations that come into play when making this decision.

Considerations when building your own storage solution?

  • Building a solution takes a substantial amount of work, particularly on the front end (hardware sizing & purchase, integration, etc.).
  • Think about industry, government, legal and business-specific requirements and if you need a custom-built solution to meet them.
  • Flexibility for units of purchase and licensing may be available in an “on-demand” model.

Considerations when buying a complete storage solution?

  • A ready-to-deploy solution can ease the demand on your staff.
  • Complex requirements may not be met by an out-of-the-box product.
  • This option requires a more structured approach to acquisition with longer lead time for ordering and deploying additional storage/

choosing cpu, ram, hdd or ssd and nics components for your object storage servers

Choosing your hardware components

When it comes to choosing your hardware components for running object storage software, you need to look at a number of factors including processors (CPU), memory (RAM), storage (HDD or SSD) and networking (LAN, WAN and bonding).

Processor (CPU)

  • Supports x86-64 Intel or AMD standard processors
  • Single or multiple sockets supported (and multi-core)
  • Recommended use of Intel or AMD processors which include Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI) support:
    • Used by Swarm for improved performance of Encryption at Rest (EAR)
    • Most modern server processors include AES-NI support as of the year 2010

Memory (RAM)

To run object storage, there are memory-required functions related to object count, object type and data-protection scheme. If you have a larger cluster, you should plan for additional memory for the Overlay Index or other features that may require resources.

RAM Per Storage Node for Object Capacities

GBs Server Ram 16 32 64 128
Storage Node RAM index slots 268M 536M 1073M 2146M
Immutable Objects 268M 536M 1073M 2146M
Mutable Objects 134M 268M 536M 1073M
5:2 Erasure Coded Objects 26M 53M 107M 214M

Storage Disks (HDD/SSD)

  • Direct-attached drives
  • Controllers: SAS or SATA JBOD HBAs (SAS preferred)
  • “Hot plug” connector/backplane support
  • Enterprise-class drives with 24×7 continuous duty cycle support

Networking (LAN/WAN, Bonding)

  • Ethernet (with appropriate connector type)
  • 1 Gb to 10 Gb (or higher if needed), tested all the way to 100 Gb with success
  • Bonding of multiple ports supported for throughput and redundancy (Includes 802.3ad LAG/LACP if switch redundancy is required)
  • Jumbo Frame support
  • Intel and Broadcom are typical vendor choices

Object storage minimum hardware requirements compared to recommended requirements

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Object storage can be deployed as virtual machines (VMware guests), appropriate for functional design and testing. The implementation must contain 3 or more nodes (chassis) in a cluster. You will need the following hardware:

  • 4 GB RAM
  • x86-64 Intel or AMD processors
  • 100 Mbps network interface card
  • 1 storage drive

It is typically recommended to deploy on physical servers, but object storage can be deployed on virtual machines (VMware). The deployment should contain a minimum of 4 nodes (chassis) in the cluster (scale up/scale out). Memory will depend on the object count and other factors. Here are the additional recommendations for hardware:

  • 8 GB or more RAM
  • Multi-socket/Multi-core x86-64 Intel or AMD processors
  • Gigabit Ethernet network interface(s) or 10 GbE
  • 2 or more enterprise-class SAS drives

Additional Components

For deploying Caringo Swarm, here are the recommendations to keep in mind for additional components.

Swarm Platform Server

The Swarm Platform Server is used to boot, monitor and manage the Swarm storage cluster. It can be deployed as virtual machines (VMware OVA available).

CPU x86-64 (multi-socket and/or multi-core, usually 2 cores)
Memory 8 GB RAM
Storage 80 GB Minimum (more preferred for large clusters, logging)
Networking 1 Gb Ethernet (typically)
Server Count Single

Swarm Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch (included in the Swarm software) is used to perform query and list operations on objects within a cluster and the object metadata (including custom metadata). Elasticsearch can be deployed as virtual machines (VMware).

CPU x86-64 (multi-socket and/or multi-core)
Memory 64 GB RAM per 1 billion distinct objects
Storage 1.5 TB required for 1 billion distinct objects
Networking 1 Gb Ethernet (typically)
Server Count 3-4 Minimum for redundancy and performance

Swarm Gateway

The Swarm Gateway is used to process protocols along with authentication and authorization and can be deployed as virtual machines (VMware).

CPU x86-64 (multi-socket and/or multi-core)
Memory 4 GB RAM Minimum
Storage 4 GB Minimum
Networking 1 Gb Ethernet (typically)
Server Count Scale out as needed to support client bandwidth

Buying a Turnkey Solution

There are benefits to purchasing a best-of-breed turnkey object storage solution as it can speed up deployment and eliminate much of the research and decision making that is involved in building your own implementation.

Once you have decided that you prefer to purchase a complete solution (that is, one that includes all of the hardware and software needed, you will want to make sure you pick one that complements your existing storage infrastructure and that you can easily plug into your workflows via S3, NFS, Windows or macOS. You should also look for an easy-to-use UI (user interface) and one where the metadata makes it simple to retrieve objects (files) as needed. There also may be particular features that are useful depending on the type of organization you are in. For example, Partial File Restore is valuable for those who deal with digital video workflows.

Swarm server appliance servers software integration and feature visual aid

Swarm Server Appliances

Caringo offers Swarm Servers to provide a complete, pre-integrated and easy-to-deploy hardware and software solution that starts at 168TB raw with pay-as-you-grow economics. Models include the Single Server Appliance (SSA), m1000 management server, s3000 storage server and hd5000 high-density storage server. Below, you can see how easy it is to scale from 168TB to multi-petabytes.

  • Rapid Flexible Deployment: Swarm Servers scale from 168 TB to 100s of Petabytes. Initial deployment can take as little as 2 hours and you can expand your storage in minutes.
  • Optimize Durability or Footprint: You can mix single, standard storage and high-density appliances and select any mix of replication or erasure coding.
  • Feature Rich for End Users: Swarm has built-in content management and search and secures your content for sharing and delivery.
  • Hassle-free for Administrators: 1 sys admin can manage 50+ PB. Swarm features rapid recovery and up to 25x less downtime when compared to RAID.

Object storage swarm servers reference deployment examples

Swarm Server Appliance Line

Minimum configuration is one Single Server Appliance (SSA). You can deploy an m1000 with s3000 or hd5000 appliances for enhanced performance and higher capacity.

Object storage servers - ssa and s3000 models

SSA & s3000 storage servers

Rack Units (RU) 1U
Dimensions (W/H/D) 17.6”W, 1.7”H, 37.4”D
Processors (CPU) 2 x Intel Xeon Silver Proc
Storage (HDD/SSD) 12 x 14TB Seagate Exos HDD
Raw Capacity 168TB RAW
Networking (NIC) 2 x 10GBase-T ports
Warranty 3-year Hardware Warranty
Maintenance & Support 3-year

SSA Only*

Storage (HDD/SSD) 2 x 3.84TB Seagate SSD
Additional Software KVM and Management Services

Object storage server - high density hd5000 model

hd5000 high-density storage server

Rack Units (RU) 4U
Dimensions (W/H/D) 17.2”W, 7”H, 30.2”D
Processors (CPU) 2 x Intel Xeon Silver Proc
Storage (HDD/SSD) 60 x 14TB Seagate Exos HDD
Raw Capacity 840TB RAW
Networking (NIC) 4 x 10GBase-T ports
Warranty 3-year Hardware Warranty
Maintenance & Support 3-year

Object storage management server - m1000 model

m1000 management server

Rack Units (RU) 1U
Dimensions (W/H/D) 17.2”W, 1.7”H, 23.5”D
Processors (CPU) 2 x Intel Xeon Silver Proc
Storage (HDD/SSD) 4 x 960GB Seagate Nytro SSD
Storage 2 (SSD/NVMe) 1 x 256GB Micron NVMe SSD
Networking (NIC) 4 x 10GBase-T ports
Warranty 3-year Hardware Warranty
Maintenance & Support 3-year

Included Software Components

  • KVM
  • Host OS Software (CentOS)
  • Swarm Platform Server
  • Swarm Storage
  • Swarm Gateway (S3)
  • Elasticsearch (metadata list & query)
  • Software Load Balancer (HAProxy); SSL/TLS offload happens here
  • SwarmNFS (optional)