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'Unnamed' HP biz unit developing mystery object storage

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HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

HP is developing an object storage product, basing it on technology used in its Cloud Object Storage service.

Object storage is designed for storing massive amounts of unstructured information in a highly scalable, scale-out infrastructure of linked nodes with a flat object address space instead of in a file:folder system with nested folders.

A piece of digital information, such as a mail message, image or other file, has a hashing-type mathematical algorithm applied to its contents and the resulting unique number is used to locate it in an address space, with another algorithm used for specifying which node in the object storage hardware set will store it. Other algorithms are used to provide object and node protection.

Suppliers of object storage include Amplidata; Caringo, which is used by Dell; EMC – with Atmos and Centera; NetApp, with Bycast; Object Matrix; and Scality, among others. But until now, not HP.

HP offers a Cloud Object Storage service, based in its own data centres, which uses its Converged Infrastructure products with server, storage and networking components and OpenStack Swift APIs and software. The service provides customers with scalable online storage capacity on-demand.

HP says it's good for archiving and backup, serving static content for web applications, and storing "large public or private data sets, such as online files and media", whatever that means.

A Cloud Object Storage FAQ states: "Objects loaded into HP Cloud Object Storage are replicated numerous times and then stored in multiple availability zones for redundancy and to ensure availability in the unlikely event of a failure.

"Additionally, data uploaded and downloaded are encrypted in-transit, and HP’s data centres are protected with state of the art security systems. For particularly sensitive data, you may choose to encrypt data prior to storing as well."

At HP Discover in Las Vegas this week we learned that the company plans to offer an on-premise version of this, also built on OpenStack. Shelton Shugar, HP's VP for enterprise cloud services, said: "I believe it's something we are looking at." There is a roadmap plan.

We asked David Scott, the head of HP storage, if IBRIX scale-out filer software is involved. He said he couldn't say anything about it and the effort is being driven by an unnamed HP business unit.

We asked another HP staffer what HP hardware and software would be used and were told that the various data centre implementations of the Cloud Object Service have different hardware and base software components. There is no one single HP object storage HW/SW stack, oddly. It's all very hush-hush and trying to get information about it was like pushing jelly uphill.

We have no timescale for the mysterious object storage product but anticipate it should appear within 12 months. Our feelers are out and we're hunting down more information. ®

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