Organizations around the world are struggling to cope with the current data explosion. A vital characteristic of this data is that it is unstructured and represents things like email, images, and videos. Storage of this form of data is typically in an object format which differs significantly from the database norm. Databases housed data grows very slowly because most of it is structured. Object storage formats are now being used to optimize access to large amounts of non-transactional files across a growing number of vertical markets. These markets include:
- Media and Entertainment – video Pre- through Post-Production which requires secure distribution and hassle-free scalability on a mix of standard hardware
- Retail Consumers - HTTP accessible Photo and Video Sharing that offloads SQL databases to custom metadata which significantly reduces web applications complexity and latency
- Research (images, raw datasets) – Which requires robust multi-tenancy for shared access to large datasets and integrated metadata customization.
- Digital asset management (unstructured files) - A global scale-out storage repository with integrations to Alfresco and other S3-based asset management solutions.
One more critical example lies in the healthcare industry where PACS [picture archiving and communication system] systems store images derived from MRIs. In most cases, law or by policy requires retention of this data for up to 30 years. Although the customer may be charged for the image when taken, the healthcare provider is responsible for the ongoing cost of storage.
Another crucial industry vertical that is feeling the data storage squeeze is law enforcement. Many agencies are now using cloud computing services for delivering mission-critical information to officers in the field. Standard applications include digital video evidence storage, management, and cataloging; crime mapping and analytics; records management; and backup for disaster recovery. Mike Donlan, Microsoft Vice president of State and Local Government Engineering Sales estimates that the average United States city or county now owns between four or five petabytes of data, with that requirement expected to double every two years.
Object storage is perfect for tackling these unstructured storage business requirements because:
- Scalability - Object storage does not face the same file count and capacity limits of file-based NAS systems.
- Interoperability - Object storage has better interoperability with various protocols with the flexibility needed to move data across a global namespace.
- Data Backup - Continuous data backup protection that reduces the risk of data loss and can reduce data restoration time after a system failure.
- Pay-as-you-grow pricing – Avoidance of substantial capital expenditures for storage acquisition through a pay-as-you-go economic model.
- Searchability – More effective and efficient use of metadata
According to PC World, one of the more exciting object storage providers is Wasabi Technologies. To meet these growing industry vertical challenges, they are offering an object storage solution that offers six times the performance of Amazon's S3 service at one-fifth the price. This startup’s service is available globally and claim that their single pool of capacity can deliver primary, secondary or archive data at a sustained-read speed of 1.3GB per second, versus 191MB per second at Amazon. To support law enforcement needs, Wasabi has deployed in fully secure and CJIS-compliant redundant data centers. Wasabi storage services were awarded the official CJIS ACE Compliance Seal by Diverse Computing, a trusted third-party law enforcement agency solution provider with deep CJIS audit and compliance expertise. Enterprise Strategy Group analyst SteveDuplessie sees this as an ideal option for enterprises looking to use cloud storage as a much cheaper alternative than traditional storage options.
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