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Object storage as common denominator

Conversations at the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference led me to the conclusion that object storage is becoming a common denominator between block and file storage within companies in this vertical market. I noticed a separation in the storage systems used for different business groups in a company.

That separation is happening because storage systems have different requirements among the groups. Block storage has a variety of performance, capacity, and resiliency needs. File storage — either on block storage system or with NAS systems — are different in scale and performance and economics.  The businesses have evolved separately and the accounting for storage expenses has never moved to a service model.

Broadcasters at the conference talked using object storage to build a hybrid cloud or private loud. The distinction between hybrid and private cloud was that hybrid clouds also include the use of public clouds.

The different use cases are the same situation as other industries that have deployed object storage systems faced previously. Broadcast and entertainment companies use object storage for content distribution, content repositories and to share data with file sync and share software along with high performance file transfer software.

Ultimately, there were no real differences in the characteristics of the needs from the different groups.  Their storage characteristics include massive scale of capacity and number of files stored. Object storage has the capabilities to address these needs, and can be deployed as a common solution to provide economies both in the acquisition and in the operational costs.  And the object storage system could be deployed as a service, charging users through a capacity-on-demand model. The economics overcame traditional parochialism.

This could be thought of as “technology as the unifier.”  Not exactly, though, because there remains the need for “special usage” storage to satisfy other needs.  Block systems and NAS systems with certain characteristics are still required and that is unlikely to change much.  So could be said that object storage is the common denominator for meeting new storage demands.

(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).

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