Object storage is one of the most important enabling technologies of the cloud era. With object storage, organizations can support virtually unlimited scalability, a level that is impossible to achieve with traditional file or block architectures. The technology has also proved to be far more durable, cost-efficient and resilient than traditional solutions. Plus, the inherent multi-tenancy found in the best object storage offerings primes your data for all cloud models—private, public, dedicated or hybrid.
Any organization looking to the cloud to address growing storage capacity requirements and maximize the value of its data—particularly unstructured data—should be considering object storage. But what should you look for in an object storage solution for your cloud deployments, especially for hybrid models encompassing both private and public clouds? Key considerations are flexibility and customization of deployment models, licensing options and interfaces.
Flexibility is essential in deploying hybrid cloud object storage because it creates a broader set of opportunities for organizations to leverage unstructured data to achieve competitive business advantage. This is particularly important in an era in which big data analytics, social media, mobile applications and the Internet of Things are driving digital transformation across all industries.
With a flexible object storage platform, organizations can cost-efficiently support data growth using industry-standard servers. Overall, a flexible model allows IT teams to balance storage cost, location and compliance control requirements across data sets and essential applications.
In evaluating an object storage solution for your cloud deployment, flexibility and customization are essential in the following three critical areas:
- Deployment models: It is important to have options to leverage hybrid cloud object storage as an on-premises solution, as a cloud-based storage-as-a-service solution, or as a mix of both models across a hybrid environment. The solution should have the same level of reliability and consistency across all deployment models and offer a range of deployment plans to suit the requirements of your organization. For example, you should have options for solutions that address archive, backup and other infrequently accessed data, as well as solutions that are designed for high-performance applications
- Licensing options: You don’t want to be locked into a specific licensing model because you need different capabilities to meet your different storage requirements. You want to be able to select the right hybrid cloud storage solution for your business needs and workloads. Your vendor should offer a variety of licensing models, including perpetual, subscription or consumption. This will enable you to buy storage capacity with the flexibility to move data between the enterprise and the cloud as your business needs change.
- Interfaces: Interface flexibility is important because it gives you the ability to deploy a data storage hub that supports both file and object workloads, enabling you to meet the requirements of traditional and Web-based applications. A flexible hybrid cloud object storage platform will support an object interface, specifically Simple Object Access Protocol, Swift or Amazon Simple Storage Service, and other major interfaces, such as Network File System and SMB. Support for these multiple APIs provides a means for traditional applications to integrate with innovative cloud object storage technologies, achieving added value through integration and economies of scale.
With the explosive growth of unstructured data, object storage is filling an important role in enabling organizations to store, access and leverage massive amounts of data at scale. Object storage has also proved to be essential to hyperscale cloud providers and fills a similar role for enterprises leveraging cloud models.
In choosing an object storage platform, flexibility is key. You have different workloads and applications that have different storage needs. If you can customize your object storage solution to fit those needs, you can achieve a wide range of benefits, including cost savings, data acumen, improved productivity and greater business agility.