Kelvin Tuan, Director of Solutions & Presales, ASEAN, Hitachi Data Systems
Data&StorageAsean : In your own words - What is Object Storage?
Kelvin : Object storage provides a means to commit unstructured data to long term storage, to ensure that it will be available as data scales to petabytes across generations of technology.
An object store, allows unstructured data files to be stored as objects. An object is essentially a container that includes both file data and associated metadata that describes the data. The objects are stored in a repository and the metadata is used to define the structure and administration of the data. The objects have intelligence that enables them to automatically take advantage of advanced storage and data management features to ensure proper placement and distribution of content.
Data&StorageAsean : What are the major use cases for Object Storage Solutions?
Kelvin : The Total Cost of Ownership of traditional file storage systems is becoming unsustainable as distributed organizations seek to cut costs and have more control over data. With data accessed anytime from everywhere, organizations also need to improve service levels and Recovery Point Objective/Recovery Time Objective in case of disaster, and to increase data protection. These considerations make file services consolidation, a major use case.
Enterprise collaboration is a second major use case. Because the vast majority of enterprise end users now work on mobile devices and want to collaborate via any device, anytime, anywhere, enterprise Sync & Share gives them the same experience as consumer services like Dropbox - but with enterprise grade security and compliance with company policies.
Backup repository/data, is the third major use case. Traditional virtual tape libraries do not scale enough and are expensive, with a cost-per-gigabyte that is usually higher than public or private object stores. But large organizations rely on tape for long-term backup and archive. Object storage systems can interface directly with tape libraries via the S3 protocol and take advantage of their tiering mechanisms, with data movements that are seamless and transparent to the backup application. Cost-per-gigabyte is extremely low in this use case, and requires less management effort.
The fourth major use case, is to put in place the IoT big data lake foundation for a current or future analytics strategy. Object storage is becoming more common among enterprises who are looking at or implementing big data analytics, and they are adopting it for its low cost-per-gigabyte, high manageability of large repositories, and unmatched scalability.
Data&StorageAsean : Should object storage be on premise or in the cloud?
Kelvin : IoT and digital transformation initiatives are becoming realities. With the success of Amazon's Simple Storage Service, their S3 API has evolved into the defacto cloud API standard and therefore the number of cloud applications being developed by organizations and cloud services has exploded.
More companies are relying on cloud solutions. Once the data is in the cloud, and relatively portable, the next step is to provide search and indexing capabilities to make it more usable. When intelligent object storage is employed, analytics can be applied to metadata and an enterprise can turn what used to be a storage challenge, into an intelligent and dynamic data lake from which relevant key insights can quickly be pulled.
Frequent backing-up to on-premise or cloud object storage, also offers significant security protection as part of an enterprise approach to data protection. When conducted within an integrated content platform portfolio that brings together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and analytics, data is better protected against cyberattacks and IT managers can have greater visibility, control and governance over company data in corporate issued PCs and virtual desktop environments as well as BYOD tablets and smartphones.
For those organizations that operate under specific regulations on data sovereignty or with confidentiality requirements that may restrict them from holding their data in the public cloud, a hybrid or private cloud approach may be more suitable for their needs, depending on their line of businesses.
Data&StorageAsean : What are some of the key features people should look for when choosing an object storage solution?
Kelvin : If you are going to commit your unstructured data to long term storage and want to ensure that it will be available as your data scales to petabytes across generations of technology, the choice of storage will need to be an object storage system that can scale beyond the limitations of hierarchical file systems, does not require backup, and provides rich metadata features that enable search, analytics, and transparency for compliance. Since your object storage is a long term commitment the vendor you choose and the architecture that you implement must be there for the long haul. Availability must be a key requirement.
However, no single object storage product can do it all from mobile, to edge, to cloud, to core. There must be an integrated portfolio of object management products that can optimize and modernize the traditional core systems while activating and innovating new business processes with technologies like cloud, mobile, analytics, and big data. The lack of an integrated approach will create increased complexity and costs, while implementing smarter, more intelligent ways to distill actionable insight out of mountains of data is the ticket to the top.
Security and compliance continue as key focus areas. The security and regulatory landscapes are constantly changing. New threats such as ransomware, and new regulations such as the GDPR- EU General Data Protection Regulation will continue to arise, and new security requirements will also unfold as a result of IoT.
Protection against data loss, exposure, to maintain privacy and comply with regulations, are essential. New security considerations to protect the safety of data and systems will become paramount. Built-in encryption and advanced data protection options are therefore must-haves, to mitigate the risk of data exposure, loss or theft.
Data&StorageAsean : Is there anything unique about your company's object storage offering(s)?
Kelvin : The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio is the industry’s first and only object storage portfolio with data intelligence capabilities. It is the only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, mobility, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and analytics to create a tightly integrated, truly secure, simple and smart cloud storage solution.
The integrated portfolio offers the capability to increase profitability and productivity through cloud economics and by applying analytics to uncover new opportunities and insights. It can also reduce risk by enhancing security, availability and data protection.
HDS’ investment in object storage spans more than 10 years and 1,700 customers. The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio has generated $1 billion in revenue for HDS, seeing a significant increase in new customers, evolving use cases and industry recognition.
Compared to traditional file storage solutions, Hitachi Content Platform is more efficient and easier to use. In fact, it’s the most efficient and highest-density object storage platform available, according to Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Object Storage report (Mar 2016). HCP was also named a leader in IDC MarketScape on Object Storage in Dec 2016.
Key benefits of the recently-enhanced (June 2017) HCP portfolio include a 400% increase in usable storage per cluster, 67% more storage node capacity, a 55% increase in objects per node and simplified software licensing so customers can achieve more than 5x lower storage costs than public cloud - which leads to over 60% TCO savings than public cloud for enterprise use cases.
New benefits also include enhanced APIs to design new workflows, customize the user experience and give greater visibility to the health of the customer’s infrastructure; increased flexibility, simplified search and next-generation file sharing, collaboration and data protection capabilities; and faster file uploads, easier conflict resolution and improved file migration performance.