This content is part of the Essential Guide: The evolution of data center storage architecture

Do object-based storage systems improve data protection?

Object storage has unique features, including erasure coding and multi-copy mirroring, which may make it better suited to data protection than more traditional systems.

Generally, there are three levels of data protection in a storage system. The first deals with physical failures, such as protecting against a solid-state drive failure with RAID. The second defends against software failures using snapshotting, redirect-on-write or copy-on-write technologies. The last level involves replication.

Object data storage technology allows data protection to be done faster, better and with more durability, but it's accomplished in a different manner than with traditional protection methods. For example, you don't need RAID in an object store. Instead, object-based storage systems use erasure coding, multi-copy mirroring or a combination of the two. These methods are more resilient and reliable, require less storage, and reduce the impact on the storage system when it's in operation. Erasure coding requires a lot less capacity and never affects performance.

Multi-copy mirroring uses more capacity than erasure coding, but it's even more resilient when it comes to faster data recovery. RAID isn't needed to protect against hardware failures because that protection is built in with erasure coding or multi-copy mirroring.

Some object stores do snapshotting. Others enable storage administrators to perform geographically dispersed erasure coding that allows them to access all their data during a site failure.

Learn how erasure coding provides redundancy in case of data loss or corruption in an object-based storage system.

Replication isn't needed with a geographically dispersed backup, but some object-based storage systems may offer it as an option.

From a general point of view, object-based storage systems can protect against hardware failures, malware, software corruption and other types of software failures, as well as defend an organization against site failures. However, the specific features offered will vary depending on the object storage device used.

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