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Welcome to the Object Storage Center page –

March 20, 2013 – 11:39 pm

Updated 5/8/15

Welcome to the Cloud, Big Data and Object Storage Center page

Why Cloud and Object Storage?

There is no such thing as an information recession with more data being generated, moved, processed, stored, preserved and served, granted there are economic realities. Likewise as a society our dependence on information being available for work or entertainment, from medical healthcare to social media and all points in between continues to increase (check out the Human Face of Big Data).

In addition, people and data are living longer, as well as getting larger (hence little data, big data and very big data). Cloud products and services along with associated object storage, file systems, repositories and access methods are at the center of big data, big bandwidth and little data initiatives on a public, private, hybrid and community basis. After all, not everything is the same in cloud, virtual and traditional data centers or information factories from active data to in-active deep digital archiving.

From openstack, s3 for active big data to deep digital archiving

Cloud Object Storage Fundamentals Access and Architectures

There are many facets to object storage including technology implementation, products, services, access and architectures for various applications and use scenarios.

  • Project or Account – Top of the hierarchy that can represent the owner or billing information for a service that where buckets are also attached.
  • Region – Location where data is stored that can include one or more data centers also known as Availability Zones.
  • Availability Zone (AZ) or data center or server that implement durability and accessibility for availability within a region.
  • Bucket or Container – Where objects or sub-folders containing objects are attached and accessed.
  • Sub-folder – While object storage can be accessed in a flat name space for commonality and organization some solutions and service support the notion of sub-folder that resemble traditional directory hierarchy.
  • Object – Byte (or bit) stream that can be as small as one byte to as large as several TBytes (some solutions and services support up to 5TByte sized objects). The object contains what ever data in any organization along with meta data. Different solutions and services support from a couple hundred KBytes of meta-data to MBytes worth of meta-data. In terms of what can be stored in an object, anything from files, videos, images, virtual disks (VMDKs, VHDX), ZIP or tar files, backup and archive save sets, executable images or ISO’s, anything you want.
  • End-point – Where or what your software, application or tool and utilities along with gateways attach to for accessing buckets and objects.

Object storage and cloud

A common theme for object storage is flexibility, along with scaling (performance, availability, capacity, economics) along with extensibility without compromise or complexity. From those basics, there are many themes and variations from how data is protected (RAID or no RAID, hardware or software), deployed as a service or as tin wrapped software (an appliance), optimized for archiving or video serving or other applications.

Many facets of cloud and object storage access

One aspect of object and cloud storage is accessing or using object methods including application programming interfaces (API’s) vs. traditional block (LUN) or NAS (file) based approaches.

Keep in mind that many object storage systems, software, and services support NAS file based access including NFS, CIFS, HDFS among others for compatibility and ease of use.

Likewise various API’s can be found across different object solutions, software or services including Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) HTTP REST based, among others.

Other API’s will vary by specific vendor or product however can include IOS (e.g. Apple iPhone and iPad), WebDav, FTP, JSON, XML, XAM, CDMI, SOAP, and DICOM among others.

Another aspect of object and cloud storage are expanded and dynamic metadata.

While traditional file systems and NAS have simple or fixed metadata, object and cloud storage systems, services and solutions along with some scale out file systems have ability to support user defined metadata.

Specific systems, solutions, software and services will vary on the amount of meta data that could range on the low-end from 100s of KBytes to tens or more MBytes.

Where to learn more about cloud and object storage

The following is a growing list of links and resources exploring existing, new and emerging object storage and related themes.


Industry trends

openstack storage


Cloud and object storage book

Additional related object storage center resources

Watch for more content and links to be added here soon to this object storage center page including posts, presentations, pod casts, polls, perspectives along with services and product solutions profiles.

Ok, nuff said (for now…).


Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)

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