When to use Object Protocols

There’s a lot of interest being generated about Object Protocols for storage, mostly as a consequence of wide adoption by cloud storage vendors.  But converting your applications and data to an Object Protocol merely to “get to the cloud” probably doesn’t make sense for most customers.  There are plenty of cloud storage alternatives available that can work easily with traditional storage protocols.  We can get data to the cloud easily without converting to an Object Protocol.  So why all the buzz about Object?

There are two primary reasons to convert to an Object Protocol, the second one being a consequence of the first one.

The primary benefit of an Object Protocol (such as Amazon’s S3) is that it divorces where the data is stored from the application and database layers.  For example, if your applications store data in CIFS, every record has a specific file path that the application must know about to access it.  Anyone who has had to move a storage array to a different physical location, or upgrade to a newer technology, or (horrors!) migrate to a completely different storage technology, knows the challenges that represents.

Those challenges more or less evaporate in an Object environment, for the precise reason that the application and database layers no longer keep track of where the data is stored.  They only require a unique identifier by which to reference that data (as opposed to a file path).  The storage environment takes care of the rest.  In brief, the application says “put” this away and the storage environment does.  The application has no idea where it has been “put” and doesn’t care.  When it needs that piece of data, it tells the storage environment to “get” it, and the storage environment does.

That means the storage environment can now be used in all sorts of ways that are invisible to the application layer.  Any given object could be moved between geographies, between disk tiers, have multiple copies made, or multiple copies consolidated, and much more, all at the sole discretion of the storage administrator.  The applications and databases, provided they get a reasonable response time, simply don’t care.

All of this freedom to manage data completely separately from applications, file paths, and even network connections, presents a second major benefit.  Going to an Object Protocol doesn’t imply that you have to go to cloud storage, far from it.  There are plenty of vendors who will sell you a storage environment that provisions Object Protocols like S3.  Cost considerations for many organizations will drive them to private cloud implementations, but because of the freedom to manage data completely independently of applications and databases, combinations of public and private cloud now become a viable tool set in the storage administrator’s arsenal.

Temporary storage in the cloud now becomes an obvious option as the data can be trickled back to a private cloud on demand with no impact on applications.  Better still, consider the options for organizations that must span the globe.  With an Object environment, small environments can be spun up in cloud data centres closest to end-user groups.  Like it or not, the speed of light limits storage performance, and this is one strategy to mitigate that.  The Object environment can, based on custom rule sets, ingest data from many cloud locations and trickle the data back to a central location.  Or, the inverse, trickle data from a central repository to an edge location.  When the need for the edge case goes away, shut it off.  Your data is already elsewhere, and your apps don’t care where.

When it comes to your storage requirements and protecting your investment, ask a professional to work with you to find the right solution.  iTBlueprint delivers strategic technology solutions for growing and evolving businesses. Partnered with the very best technology companies in the field, iTBlueprint creates infrastructure, data management, business continuity and protection solutions that are forward looking, cost effective and powerful.  Our hands-on-approach to implementation and exceptional support ensures that everything works smoothly- now and in future.  — by David Hoffer