9.4 Using Object based Storage systems for Cloud Services

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Object based storage is a  new storage technology and designed especially for the cloud users. The capabilities or features of OSD such as multi-tenancy, scalability, geographical distribution of data, and data sharing across heterogeneous platforms or tenants while ensuring integrity of data, make it a strong option for cloud-based storage. Organizations are opting to utilize cloud based object storage services such as Amazon S3, Windows Azure, and Rackspace cloud solutions rather than building their own in-house object storage systems. With these cloud solutions, you can access and manage your data through the APIs that your cloud storage provider supports, or through a control-panel type tool. 
Enterprise end-users and cloud subscribers are also interested in the cloud storage offerings because it provides better agility, on-demand scalability, lower cost, and operational efficiency compared to traditional SAN and NAS storage solutions. 
Some public cloud storage providers also provide, or partner with, content delivery network (CDN) providers to offer faster access to your data. CDNs speed up access to your data by placing web-based servers in strategic locations around the world that cache your data. For example, if your cloud storage provider has data centers in the United States and the United Kingdom, but you are operating out of Australia, a CDN placed near Australia that caches your data set will vastly improve your overall cloud storage experience.

Cloud storage also provides unified and universal access, policy-based data placement, and massive scalability. It also enables data access through web service or file access protocols and provides automated data protection and efficiency to manage large amount of data. With the growing adoption of cloud computing, cloud service providers can leverage OSD to offer storage-as-a-service, backup-as-a-service, and archive-as-a-service to their consumers.

The major alternative to public cloud is private cloud, and a popular private cloud option is OpenStack. OpenStack is a suite of cloud platforms that includes compute, network, storage, and management functionality. OpenStack Swift is the technology that powers Rackspace Cloud Files and also underpins many of the other public cloud services available. It has extensive API access and offers all the major features of object storage, including authentication, containers, varying levels of redundancy, encryption, and more. Organizations can choose to opt for private cloud and deploy the object storage system in-house otherwise.

Cloud based Object Storage Gateway Device 

Typically service providers offer cloud-based object storage with interfaces such as REST or SOAP, but most of the business applications expect storage resources with block-based iSCSI or FC interfaces or file-based interfaces, such as NFS or CIFS so that it can be used with existing SAN and NAS infrastructure.

To overcome this challenge, some storage vendors like EMC, offer a cloud based object storage Gateway devices. The cloud-based object storage gateways provide a interface between these standard network interfaces (NIC’s and HBA’s) and cloud service provider’s REST API. The gateway device is a physical or virtual appliance that sits in a data center and presents file and block-based storage interfaces to the applications.

 
Cloud based object storage gateway
It performs protocol conversion so that data can be sent directly to cloud storage. To provide security for the data sent to the cloud, most gateways automatically encrypt the data before it is sent. To speed up data transmission times most gateways support data deduplication and compression. 

Cloud-based object storage gateway provides a local cache to reduce latency associated with having the storage capacity far away from the data center. The gateway appliances offer not only an interface to the cloud, but also provide a layer of management that can even help to determine what data should be sent to the cloud and what data should be held locally.
 

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Cloud Solutions Architect with more than 10 years of experience in designing & deploying application in multiple cloud platforms. Owner of Mycloudwiki.com and tsmtutorials.com tech blogs. Email me if you are interested in writing tech articles.

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