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What are the most obvious object storage use cases for my system?

Object storage is latency-prone, making it a bad option for production data, but there are several areas where it's incredibly useful.

Object storage is really software. It's a software layer that sits on a commodity x86 server, which is why a lot...

of vendors call it software-defined storage. But it sits on an x86 server, takes advantage of embedded storage inside that server and creates a node.

And then that software interlinks multiple nodes to create an object storage system across Ethernet. Now, object storage adds a lot of metadata to every object. In fact, you have a lot of flexibility in what you can describe about each object. And the metadata is actually stored with the data versus, let's say, a file system where the metadata is separated from the data and is usually put in some kind of database. 

Now because of that extra layer of processing -- more metadata -- you're adding latency. You're processing between the application and the actual media you're writing on. That means you're adding latency, and whenever you do that, it's not as fast as other types of storage.

In fact, it tends to be a little slower than let's say, file storage, so it's definitely slower than SAN storage. There are ways to speed that up, but generally speaking, the best object storage use cases include archiving data, data backup and secondary data applications, but not applications that you will be accessing frequently or any kind of interactive or transactional type of application.

Replacing large, secondary storage arrays or file-based storage arrays are also object storage use cases. You can replace tape libraries because it makes a really good highly resilient, highly durable technology for both active archive and even a passive cold archive.

Here are the four chief things object storage can provide:

1. Low cost per GB of storage

2. Exceptional scalability (into the zetabytes)

3. High data resilience and durability against disk, node, or site failures, as well as bit rot

4. Easy tech refreshes

Next Steps

Object storage systems and services on the rise

This was last published in November 2014

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