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July 2014 Vol. 13 No. 5

What is object storage technology (and why should you care)?

It's unlikely that anyone old enough to remember writing code for anything other than a database or file system is reading this article. After all, it's been more than 40 years since programs accessed other types of data structures for general commercial applications. Thus, object storage represents the first major new data structure category in almost two generations that is significantly impacting data management practices. Object implementations began in the late 1990s, but mostly for niche applications. Large-scale deployments were spearheaded by cloud services, such as Amazon S3, Facebook and Spotify. Now, object storage solutions from both established and emerging vendors are reaching critical mass, and IT organizations need to consider them for their own implementations. Object storage differs from SAN or NAS systems in a number of important ways. Most noticeable to storage administrators is that the factors of LUNs, volumes and RAID are absent. Data objects are stored in variable-sized "containers" rather than fixed ...

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