Object storage has been the ugly duckling of data storage architecture for a long time. However, as unstructured data becomes more important, object storage will increasingly underpin the next generation of IT.
What is Object Storage
Object storage is a form of data storage architecture used to manage vast amounts of unstructured data that is written once and read once or multiple times. Whereas storage architectures such as files systems manage data as file hierarchies, and block storage manages data as blocks inside sectors and tracks, object storage manages data as objects.
Object storage is used to store objects like music on Spotify, photos and videos on Instagram or files within collaborative systems like Dropbox.
Why Is Object Storage Becoming So Important?
The shift to digital is not just about businesses evolving how they operate and deliver their products and services. It is also about how consumers consume those products and services. The nature of the internet is that it creates and propagates data. With more consumers going digital, businesses are faced with an unprecedented opportunity and an unprecedented problem: figuring out how to harness all this data to gain valuable insights to drive value creation.
In order to tackle this problem, businesses have to deploy storage architectures that allow them to manage vast amounts of data and can power data intensive analytics across different data types. Object storage is particularly good at this.
The last reason driving the growing importance of object storage is the rise of cloud-native apps. Cloud-native apps have become popular in the last decade and are often data intensive, and dependent on having adaptable, portable, efficient solutions, much like pods portable storage, and this implies the use of object storage.
The popularity of object storage in the cloud, as well as data centers and edge computing, is making object storage an important tool in AI.
Important Trends in Object Storage
App modernization: the cloud is becoming the default home of apps. Apps are either built on the cloud or being shifted in some way toward the cloud. Often, these apps are running inside a Kubernetes environment. Typically, they have a model that revolves around API and is used to access storage and to automatically provision storage.
App workloads are growing: new workloads are emerging with the evolution in technology. With more applications and workloads come new data types as well as sizes. That means that storage has to meet new performance demands. It means that protocols and systems must be able to efficiently enable the management and sorting of vast amounts of metadata.
Flash economics are almost as good as HDDs: in the past, object storage meant using legacy data storage architecture with economical data archives, with very slow processing speeds. These days, we have flash-based data storage architecture. This has unleashed the potential of object storage architecture.
Object storage is growing with cloud-native apps: with cloud-native apps, object storage is now the default primary storage option in many use cases. Cloud-native environments require adaptable, portable, efficient solutions. Traditional data storage options are insufficient to meet these needs.