Data Management Partners Unite to Provide Comprehensive Object Storage

We just announced our Data Management Partners program to help our customers solve more capacity management problems in less time. The program combines technology, testing, and support to make it easy to put object storage to work. Inaugural members of this program are Rubrik, Komprise, Evolphin, and CTERA Networks.

Here’s why this program is exciting: object storage has the potential to solve many capacity management problems in the data center. It’s 2/3 less costly and infinitely scalable. In a recent survey, Gartner found that capacity management was the #1 concern of Infrastructure and Operations managers, so these are important benefits.

The question is how to get started with object storage? You can piece together solutions on your own, but that can be risky. We’ve done the homework for you and proved out these solutions.

The Solution for Unstructured Data Consolidation

These solutions solve capacity-intensive challenges where Cloudian’s scalability and cost benefits deliver huge savings. Cloudian consolidates data into one big storage pool, so you can add as many nodes as you want. With one set of users, groups, permissions, file structures, etc, storage managers see still only see one thing to manage. This cuts management workloads by 90% and makes it possible to grow with less headache and cost.

Solution areas in this program include:

  • Data protection: Rubrik and Cloudian together unify and automate backup, instant recovery, replication, global indexed search, archival, compliance, and copy data management into a single scale-out fabric across the data center and public cloud.
  • Data lifecycle management: Komprise and Cloudian tackle one of the biggest challenges in the data center industry, unstructured data lifecycle management, with solutions that offload non-critical data that is typically 70%+ of the footprint from costly Tier-1 NAS to a limitless scalable storage pool.
  • Media active archiving: Evolphin and Cloudian help media professionals address capacity-intensive formats (e.g., 4k, 8k, VR/360) with the performance to handle time-pressed workflows.
  • File sync and share: CTERA Networks and Cloudian provide enterprises with tools for collaboration in capacity-rich environments.

Reducing Risk with Proven Partners

This program is 100% proven solutions. All are deployed, with customers, in live production data centers, right now. They solve real capacity management problems and do not create new problems along the way.

Object storage is seeing rapid adoption. It costs significantly less than traditional storage and fixes the capacity problem with infinite scalability. If you’re looking into object storage, make sure you’re getting a complete solution, though. Learn more about our Data Management Partners today.


An Introduction to Data Tiering

All data is not equal due to factors such as frequency of access, security needs, and cost considerations, therefore data storage architectures need to provide different storage tiers to address these varying requirements. Storage tiers differ depending on disk drive types, RAID configurations or even completely different storage sub-systems, which offer different IP profiles and cost impact.

Data tiering allows the movement of data between different storage tiers, which allows an organization to ensure that the appropriate data resides on the appropriate storage technology. In modern storage architectures, this data movement is invisible to the end-user application and is typically controlled and automated by storage policies. Typical data tiers may include:

  1. Flash storage – High value, high-performance requirements, usually smaller data sets and cost is less important compare to the performance Service Level Agreement (SLA) required
  2. Traditional SAN/NAS Storage arrays – Medium value, medium performance, medium cost sensitivity
  3. Object Storage – Less frequently accessed data with larger data sets. Cost is an important consideration
  4. Public Cloud –  Long-term archival for data that is never accessed

Typically, structured data sets belonging to applications/data sources such as OLTP databases, CRM, email systems and virtual machines will be stored on data tiers 1 and 2 as above. Unstructured data is more commonly moving to tiers 3 and 4 as these are typically much larger data sets where performance is not as critical and cost becomes a more significant factor in management and purchasing decisions.

Some Shortcomings of Data Tiering to Public Cloud

Public cloud services have become an attractive data tiering solution, especially for unstructured data, but there are considerations around public cloud use:

  1. Performance – Public network access will typically be a bottleneck when reading and writing data to public cloud platforms, along with data retrieval times (based on the SLA provided by the cloud service). Especially for backup data, backup and recovery windows are still incredibly important, so for the most relevant backup sets it is worth considering to hold onsite and only archive older backup data to the cloud.
  2. Security – Certain data sets/industries have regulations stipulating that data must not be stored in the cloud. Being able to control what data is sent to the cloud is of major importance.
  3. Access patterns – Data that is re-read frequently may incur additional network bandwidth costs imposed by the public cloud service provider. Understanding your use of data is vital to control the costs associated with data downloads.
  4. Cost – As well as bandwidth costs associated with reading data, storing large quantities of data in the cloud may not make the most economical sense, especially when compared to the economics of on-premise cloud storage. Evaluations should be made.

Using Hybrid Cloud for a Balanced Data Tier Strategy

For unstructured data, a hybrid approach to data management is key with an automation engine, data classification and granular control of data necessary requirements to really deliver on this premise.

With a hybrid cloud approach, you can push any data to the public cloud while also affording you the control that comes with on-premises storage. For any data storage system, granularity of control and management is extremely important as different data sets have different management requirements with the need to apply different SLAs as appropriate to the value of the data to an organization.

Cloudian HyperStore is a solution that gives you that flexibility for easily moving between data tiers 3 and 4 listed earlier in this post. Not only do you get the control and security from your data center, you can integrate HyperStore with many different destination cloud storage platforms, including Amazon S3/Glacier, Google Cloud Platform, and any other cloud service offering S3 API connectivity.

Learn more about our solutions today.

Learn more about NAS backup here.


Object Storage vs. File Storage: What’s the Difference?

Object storage has only been around since the mid-90s. As the relatively new kid on the block, there can be some confusion as to how it differs from other storage types, such as block or file storage. This post is the first in a series looking at these key differences, focusing on Object Storage vs. File Storage.

What is Object Storage?

Object-based storage essentially bundles the data itself along with metadata tags and a unique identifier. The metadata is customizable, which means you can input a lot more identifying information for each piece of data. These objects are stored in a flat address space, which makes it easier to locate and retrieve your data across regions.

This flat address space also helps with scalability. By simply adding in additional nodes, you can scale to petabytes and beyond.

A Primer on File Storage

File storage has been around for considerably longer than object storage and is something most people are familiar with. You name your files/data, place them in folders, and can nest them under more folders to form a set path. In this way, files are organized into a hierarchy, with directories and sub-directories. Each file also has a limited set of metadata associated with it, such as the file name, the date it was created, and the date it was last modified.

This works very well up to a point, but as capacity grows the file model becomes burdensome for two reasons.  First, performance suffers beyond a certain capacity. The NAS system itself has limited processing power, making the processor a bottleneck. Performance also suffers with the massive database – the file lookup tables– that accompany capacity growth.


Object Storage vs. File Storage


Now that you know the basics of both object-based storage and file storage, let’s look at some of the key differences separating the two.

To start, object storage overcomes many of the limitations that file storage faces. Think of file storage as a warehouse. When you first put a box of files in there, it seems like you have plenty of space. But as your data needs grow, you’ll fill up the warehouse to capacity before you know it. Object storage, on the other hand, is like the warehouse, except with no roof. You can keep adding data infinitely – the sky’s the limit.

If you’re primarily retrieving smaller or individual files, then file storage shines with performance, especially with relatively low amounts of data. Once you start scaling, though, you may start wondering, “How am I going to find the file I need?”

In this case, you can think of object storage as valet parking while file storage is more like self-parking (yes, another analogy, but bear with me!). When you pull your car into a small lot, you know exactly where your car is. However, imagine that lot was a thousand times larger – it’d be harder to find your car, right?

Because object storage has customizable metadata and all the objects live on a flat address space, it’s similar to handing your keys over to a valet. Your car will be stored somewhere, and when you need it, the valet will get the car for you. It might take a little longer to retrieve your car, but you don’t have to worry about wandering around looking for it. All of these features and advantages also extend to object storage in the cloud.

Object Storage vs File Storage

Object Storage Metadata

For a real-life example of why metadata makes a difference, we can look at X-rays. An X-ray file would have limited metadata associated with it, such as created date, owner, location, and size. An X-ray object, on the other hand, could have a rich variety of metadata information.

The metadata could include patient name, date of birth, injury details, which area of the body was X-rayed – in addition to the same tags that the file had. This makes it incredibly useful for doctors to pull up the relevant information for reference.

If you want a more straightforward side-by-side comparison, take a look at this table that compares object-based storage vs file storage:


PERFORMANCE Performs best for big content and high stream throughput Performs best for smaller files
GEOGRAPHY Data can be stored across multiple regions Data typically needs to be shared locally
SCALABILITY Scales infinitely to petabytes and beyond Potentially scales up to millions of files, but can’t handle more
ANALYTICS Customizable metadata, not limited to number of tags Limited number of set metadata tags


This was only a general overview of the differences between object storage and file storage, but it should give you a clearer idea of the advantages of each type.

Object Storage and File Storage Together

Now Cloudian offers a way to get the goodness of object-based storage for your files: Cloudian HyperFile, a scale-out file storage system that provides NAS features together with the scalability and cost of object-based storage.

For more, download the Object Storage Buyer’s Guide.

Shifting Technology Habits and the Growth of Object Storage

Technology is, for many of us, a vital and inextricable part of our lives. We rely on technology to look up information, keep in touch with friends and family, monitor our health, entertain ourselves, and much more.


However, technology wasn’t always so ubiquitous – it wasn’t too long ago that our wireless phones had limited features and even fewer users actually using these features. Here’s the breakdown from 2004, according to a study from the Yankee Group:

This means that just over 10 years ago, less than 50% of cell phones had internet access and less than 10% had cameras. Even with 50% of phones having internet access, only 15% of users took advantage of this feature.

pew research center

By contrast, look at this survey conducted by Pew Research in 2014:

Among the 18-29 age group, text messaging and internet are more frequently used features than phone calls, which is indicative of the tremendous shift in technology use over the past few years. This study doesn’t even cover a major feature that many users use their phones for: pictures. As younger users turn almost exclusively to smartphone cameras for their photos (and, of course, #selfies), they turn to photo-sharing sites to host and display their images.

Photos are just one type of the ever-growing deluge of unstructured data, though. For enterprises, unstructured data also includes emails, documents, videos, audio files, and more. In order for companies to cost-effectively store this data (while keeping it protected and backed up for end-users), many of them are starting to turn to object storage over traditional network-attached storage (NAS).

Some of the benefits of object storage include a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and the ability to easily scale up as data needs grow. That by itself is not enough, though. With a solution like our very own HyperStore, in addition to the affordable price (as low as 1c per GB per month) and infinite scalability (from tens of terabytes to hundreds of petabytes), we offer easy management and access control, plus strong data protection with both erasure coding and replication settings. You can read about all of HyperStore’s features and benefits here.

Unstructured data use is only going to continue to grow. Smartphones and other data-intensive technologies will only become more prevalent, and you’ll want to be prepared to meet that growth. Learn more about Cloudian’s hardware and software solutions today.