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Cloudian object storage software bumps up data durability

Cloudian adds stronger data durability and resiliency capabilities to its HyperStore object software. The management software now includes an object GPS.

Cloudian Inc. today upgraded its flagship HyperStore object storage software, adding an object GPS capability,...

a proactive repair feature, smart disk balancing and support for Amazon Simple Storage Service, or S3, cross-region replication.

HyperStore is an on-premises, scale-out object storage stack that runs on commodity hardware, encrypts all its data and is fully compatible with Amazon Web Services S3 APIs. HyperStore 6.0's new user interface allows customers to manage, health-check and view systems located in data centers worldwide from one screenshot view. A capacity explorer feature helps analyze storage utilization across the globe. Nodes can be automatically added or removed while systems are clustered dynamically.

"You can quickly see which data center is consuming more than the others," said Vikramaditya Gupta, Cloudian's senior director of product management. "We give a deeper inspection on how the nodes are storing data. If there are any problems in any of the nodes, it will show up.

"You can add nodes to expand a cluster, configure the IP address and the cluster dynamically rebalances."

The object GPS capability is a tuning mechanism that allows the administrator to locate object parts wherever they are stored across geographically dispersed data centers.

"It identifies an object," said Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass. "It shows you the bucket and where the replicas live. It shows the file path and the IP address and the specific node. So, if I keep three copies of the data, I know what system they sit on."

Sinclair said a challenge for large-scale object storage deployments is keeping track of where the data resides. That is problem for data falling under compliance regulations.

"With these massive capacity environments, it's difficult to understand where the pieces of the content live," he said. "This is a challenge for global-scale environments. You have one pool of storage that leverages infrastructure in different data centers across the world."

The HyperStore 6.0 object storage software also has enhancements for data durability, which is a key to making sure environments are resilient and run smoothly, with no downtime or data loss. The proactive repair function tracks and logs signs of problems that can lead to a failure.

"It's a fast way of rebuilding data if you lost a disk," Gupta said. "The system marks and stores what has broken, and we proactively repair it. In traditional object storage software systems, you have to scan the entire system, because there is no simple way to know what data was lost. With us, Cassandra logs hints into the database, so instead of scanning, I now have a map. I now have directions."

A smart redirect for erasure coding and replication schemes keeps the systems up and running while repairs are in process. The software uses a local cache copy in the replication version, and more hot spares are available for erasure coding.

"We increase the data durability by writing to additional nodes," Gupta said. "We have increased the number of nodes the new data can write to."

A smart disk balancing feature periodically runs checks on disk usage, and if an imbalance is occurring, the software changes the tokens pointing for a disk that is in high use to one that is low use.

"This is all about performance -- balancing I/O or capacity balancing," ESG's Sinclair said. "In a scale-out system, you want to balance the most used disks with the slow-used disks. This is a background process. They are not moving data from point A to point B. They do the mapping. They shift the mapping of where applications and workloads are spread across resources."

Cloudian's new support for Amazon S3 cross-region replication replicates only new PUT commands. There is a one-to-one replication between any two regions.

Next Steps

Why object storage is a better option for growing data

Object storage software vs. software-defined storage

Object storage software benefits: More than capacity

Dig Deeper on Cloud object storage

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What difficulties are you presented with when storing data in geographically dispersed data centers?
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Well, object-based storage software vendors need to move beyond the "explosive growth in data" argument and show customers how they can easily manage the storage clusters where all of their data is being stored. This includes having a useful graphical interface to manage storage clusters. Offering a command line interface (CLI) suitable for Linux administrators is no longer acceptable. The typical storage administrator today manages approx. 300TB of data. If an object-based storage cluster contains 3000TB (3PB) of data, then having to pay for 10 storage administrators eliminates the cost savings achieved by deploying object-based storage. With a proper graphical management interface, a single storage administrator can manage up to 10,000TB (10PB) of object storage. Cloudian understands that storing more data for less means the storage administrative costs need to be less too.
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That's a really excellent point. The cost of storage hardware is really not a factor anymore. The big issue now is the total cost of ownership, and the most expensive part of that these days is nearly always going to be the skilled personnel required to run it.
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