Object storage has consistently offered distinct benefits and advantages over traditional storage protocols. Much of this was illustrated in the May 2016 article in Red Hat Perspectives, Using Object Storage To Deliver The Agility Today’s Big Data Apps Require.
In recent years, features have been added to make object storage more than just a single protocol solution. In fact, object storage offerings are now capable of serving as the storage platform for vast data center workloads across different protocols and workloads. Object storage has progressed beyond cheap and deep archives and applications born in the cloud to a de facto common storage platform for multiple data center use cases.
Extending object storage to traditional workloads
With products like Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.3, object storage can now satisfy a broad range of workloads, including file access, big data analytics, and global data distribution. While object storage is the de facto choice for new applications that are born in the cloud, the availability of object storage in a container deployment format may also lead to it serving as the de facto standard for internally-developed applications and hybrid cloud deployments.
Better connections to file-based data
Most object storage products now offer a file system interface for Network File System (NFS) file access. The interface enables file-based applications to run on an object storage system so that customers can realize the benefits of object storage in their file workloads without having to change their applications. Most of these same products also offer dual access so that the same dataset can be accessed from the object interface as an object and from the file interface as a file. This gives users the flexibility to transition file-based applications to object storage when applications are ready and to use both modes of access and for as long as needed.
Big data analytics
Big data workloads can take better advantage of object storage scalability and the resilience of its distributed nature. The availability of the open source S3A client in Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.3, for example, enables applications that run on HDFS storage to read and write data to an object storage offering that supports the S3 protocol. The S3A client is included in the Apache Hadoop distribution and in most Hadoop vendor distributions. With the right object storage platform, it allows the compute and storage layers of big data infrastructure to scale independently, providing easier storage and data management.
Global content distribution
Content and data distribution to remote and branch offices across the globe can now be better tackled with object storage, too. Many object storage products now offer the native functionality to build global clusters and to replicate data across different sites spread around the globe. This will help users build a global content distribution network (CDN) according to the “follow-the-sun” model without the need for third party and potentially costly and complex replication software in the stack. Companies can store their data anywhere in the world at any time and have users work from a common source.
Last but not least, the availability of object storage offerings in a container format makes it much easier for consumption by applications. Developers can create a container in OpenShift or Docker and run apps on top of it. The ability to containerize object store applications in a single container makes it much easier to spin up a container without having to request that the hybrid cloud administrator provision storage. The result is that object storage can now be used to provide not just temporary storage but also permanent, persistent storage to applications in need, thereby adding to its increasing appeal over traditional storage offerings.
Learn more about the new breadth of object storage opportunities
These new developments in gateways, plugins, and more, are happening today with Red Hat and offer far more value to users of object storage than ever before, enabling them to take fuller advantage of their investments. To learn more, contact your local Red Hat or authorized channel representative or check us out at redhat.com/storage.Uday Boppana has been in the data center and storage areas for 12+ years in different roles and has worked with a variety of technologies. He is currently a principal product manager at Red Hat, responsible for storage solutions with a focus on Red Hat Ceph storage and object ... View Full Bio