Is CDMI ready for prime time?


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Making multilingual systems

Cloud service providers and object storage software vendors publish object storage APIs that enable users to code applications to manage data objects. But most IT applications use block and file storage formats, not object formats. IT teams are loathe to spend money to rewrite their application interfaces to “speak object” so they can use software or cloud services, never mind spend the money to test and maintain those custom integrations.

Key CDMI functions

• Discovers the capabilities of a cloud storage offering.

• Manages containers and the data placed in them.

• Allows metadata to be set on containers and their contained data elements.

• Exposes the capabilities of the underlying storage and data services so clients understand the offering.

This situation has given rise to cloud storage gateways. A gateway system is a local virtual or physical appliance that offers IT a standards-based interface (iSCSI, CIFS or NFS) and translates standards-based storage operations into the object software or service provider’s API language. Many gateway systems do much more by offering encryption, data deduplication and compression to reduce bandwidth and transaction costs, and caching to mitigate latency associated with remote hosting.

Most of these systems are multilingual, speaking the API languages of multiple cloud

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providers. That way, if one vendor shuts down a service or a portion of one (as Iron Mountain did last year), IT can use gateway offerings to move data transparently to another provider. By the time Iron Mountain shuttered its service, Nasuni had already quietly migrated most of its Iron Mountain subscribers to other service providers.

This was first published in September 2012

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