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New object-based storage products target the cloud
For companies like Amazon, Flickr, Google or YouTube, whose intellectual property and differentiation comes from offering Web-based applications, programming their own interfaces isn't such a big deal. But for companies with dozens or hundreds of applications, cobbling code to make each app work with object-based storage is likely to be an onerous and uneconomical task. There are, however, some storage vendors that offer pre-built but flexible architectures that do the job.
Caringo Inc. was first to position a content-addressed storage (CAS) system for nearline rather than archival storage, where CAS systems like EMC Corp.'s Centera (designed by the same engineers who later founded Caringo) historically played. In May 2008, the company claimed that its CAStor product can take the place of a file system or global namespace in traditional clustered storage products. CAStor runs CIFS or NFS using a file system gateway that can also be clustered (although no global namespace is available on the gateway), as well as HTTP access natively. According to the company, CAStor can be installed on nearly any x86 hardware with direct-attached storage (DAS).
EMC entered the market in November 2008 with its Atmos system, which it dubbed cloud-optimized storage (COS). Atmos uses object-based metadata to allow users to set policies that determine where to store data, which services to apply to it, and
DataDirect Networks Inc. announced Web Object Scaler (WOS) in June 2009, and was expected to ship the system before the end of 2009. EMC said Atmos can scale to multiple petabytes and billions of files, but DataDirect Networks said WOS can handle more than 200 billion files and 6 petabytes (PB); the company also claims a performance advantage over Atmos because its system holds object metadata in memory on its server nodes. Atmos metadata is partitioned and stored in a collection of databases spread across many disks in the system.
Cleversafe Inc. brought its dsNet Object Store out of the beta testing phase in September 2009. Cleversafe's SliceStor storage nodes can break a single file into as many as 11 pieces for redundancy, creating a hash that's appended to each slice for reconstruction. Cleversafe provides built-in encryption and previously offered the product with a block-level iSCSI or WebDAV interface. It's offering APIs for object-based access to the dsNet based on the Java software development kit (SDK) or using REST.
More recently, NetApp Inc. cloud czar Val Bercovici revealed in a blog post that the company best known for network-attached storage (NAS) will also be offering a native object storage interface "in the not too distant future."
This was first published in December 2009