7 Reasons to Use Object Storage

Aug 4, 2016 | Insights, Managed Services

Unstructured data is growing exponentially year after year with the advanced capabilities of modern devices. These devices generate mass quantities of emails, images and audio and video files. Growing pools of unstructured data become difficult to organize, manage and search. This is where object storage comes in. Object storage is ideal for organizing, managing and searching through high volumes (200 TB+) of diverse and unstructured data. Object storage platforms also give companies the ability to start making sense of the big data they have at hand and extract insights that aid in the development of business goals.

1. Custom Metadata & Searchability

When it comes to object storage, metadata resides in the objects themselves. There is no need to build databases to associate metadata with the objects. Custom metadata can be created about an object file based on contents, dates, user information, permissions, etc. Attributes can be changed and added over time. Because of custom metadata, object storage is highly searchable. Users can conduct searches that return a set of files that meet specific criteria, such as what percentage of files are of a certain type or created by certain owner. This allows companies to extract insights from the big data they possess within their files and identify trends.

2. Resiliency

When an object is created, it is copied to one or more nodes depending on the policies in place. Nodes are normally spread out geographically, allowing for automatic, cost-effective disaster recovery for object files.

3. Archive Management

Because of its custom metadata and resiliency, object storage systems are ideal for digitizing and storing old documents and audio and video content.

4. Automated Information Life Cycle Management

Object files can manage, repair, retire, delete and deduplicate themselves based on information provided in metadata, making information life cycle management extremely efficient.

5. Unlimited Scalability

As object storage grows, it can be scaled out horizontally by adding nodes. Metadata stays with objects, allowing for a flat system, often referred to as storage pools. In flat data environments, scalability is virtually unlimited. Unlike traditional storage, object storage does not become inefficient and difficult to manage with large volumes of data.

6. Cost-effective

Part of what makes object storage cost-effective is that less hardware is needed for large volumes of data. Also, object storage is often acquired as an OpEx solution, using a pay-as-you-go model in the cloud.

7. Convenient

Object storage fits the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce. Because of the HTTP interface, object files have a unique URL can be accessed from anywhere in the world and from any device.

In conclusion, object storage is perfect for large volumes of unstructured data that don’t need to be modified frequently. It can take awhile after updating object files to see changes in all replicas, which is referred to as “eventual consistency”. This means object storage is not the best system for data that comes from rapid read/write applications. Best types of content for object storage are media, web content, archives, documents, log files and device-generated data.

Object storage platforms and their capabilities vary by vendor. To find the best one to meet your company’s needs, check vendors’ options for redundancy, encryption and interoperability.