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SwiftStack 3.0 object storage software gains feature parity

The SwiftStack 3.0 upgrade adds an active secondary controller, as well as lets users mix and match erasure coding and RAID data protection schemes within a cluster.

SwiftStack Inc. this week upgraded the controller for its OpenStack Swift Object Storage software, enhancing compatibility with Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (S3), as well as the ability to mix and match erasure coding and RAID data protection schemes.

SwiftStack, located in San Francisco, sells and supports a commercial version of its open source object storage software platform, OpenStack Swift. Version 3.0 was formally made available during the kickoff of the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo.

SwiftStack software turns standard servers and hard drives into an S3-compatible, on-premises cloud. The vendor said its enhanced S3 emulation uses Amazon's recommended naming configuration to support tens of millions of object buckets in a single cluster. SwiftStack 3.0 lets customers access file and object storage with S3, OpenStack and REST-based APIs, as well as standard file system protocols.

"The extra features enable all your applications to use us in the exact same way you would use Amazon cloud storage, except you keep custody of data on equipment  in your data center," said Mario Blandini, SwiftStack vice president of marketing.

Unlike file storage, object storage does not use a file system to organize objects in a hierarchy. Each object has a unique identifier that lets the end user retrieve the object, without having to know its location.

Flexible data protection, authentication options 

Previous iterations allowed customers to deploy the SwiftStack controller either behind their own firewall, or as a service via SwiftStack's multi-tenant cloud. Version 3.0 includes Active Secondary Controller for redundant failover of the primary controller.

The upgrade adds an active secondary controller, which Blandini said provides 15 nines of availability. SwiftStack 3.0 addresses implementation by including auto ingest and hardware profiles that automatically configure new servers and add them to a cluster.

The latest release lets customers flexibly set policies to use RAID replicas or erasure coding within the same cluster. SwiftStack uses a pluggable architecture that supports any commercially available erasure coding library. Product shipments natively include the erasure coding library that Intel developed for the OpenStack Swift engine.

SwiftStack has supported Microsoft Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) permissions authentication since version 2.0. The latest release extends support to multiple Active Directory groups or LDAP endpoints.

Other authentication features include auto ingest and hardware profiles, which automatically configure new servers and add them to a cluster.

Version upgrade aims for feature parity with larger players

The enhancements come amid a shakeup in the object storage market. IBM in October said it was buying object storage vendor Cleversafe, and HGST in March went from investor to buyer of Amplidata.

Marc Staimer, chief analyst at Dragon Slayer Consulting in Beaverton, Ore., said the latest release brings SwiftStack's object storage to feature parity with more established competitors.

"I have been very critical of the Swift open source community, in part, because it always felt like a science project," Staimer said. "What Swift has done is take open source and make it more commercially hardened. You've got to give them credit for that. They've taken a science project and turned into a commercially viable product -- a lot similar to what Red Hat did with Linux."

Blandini said SwiftStack 3.0 is licensed on a 12-month subscription priced on usable capacity.

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