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Object Storage: Cloud Vendors Shrink Total Cost of Ownership with Object Storage Offerings

By Dick Weisinger

Object Storage dates back to research by Garth Gibson at Carnegie Mellon University in the mid-nineties and later commercialized by EMC with the Centera product.

Cloud offerings of object storage have driven growth in the technology.  The technology enables large amounts of unstructured data to be stored in a scalable system.  Advantages of cloud-based object storage, like Amazon AWS S3, are that they are simple, cost-effective, and elastic.  Compared to alternatives like file and block store, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is in  a much more affordable range.

Clayton Weise, director at Key Information Systems, said that “object storage provides an inexpensive way to store vast pools of data, multiple petabytes up to exabyte scale within a single space. The data stored using objects is always accessible, unlike tape where you have to know the serial number, track the tape, and physically retrieve it.”

Julia Palmer, research director in the area of emerging infrastructure technologies at Gartner, told GCN that “object storage is really probably the first storage that crossed the threshold of petabyte scale. Object storage changed the paradigm. There’s no longer files, those are the objects, and you talk to them via the specific programmable APIs.”

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