Feeds

NetApp StorageGRID now on cloud nine: Would you put 100PBs in it?

Show us the money an actual installation

High performance access to file storage

Analysis NetApp continues its slow development of its object storage capability by adding a cloud interface to it.

Version 9.0 of StorageGRID, the storage software gained by NetApp when it bought Bycast in mid-2010, sounds like a major release but the only feature NetApp emphasises is the new Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI).

CDMI is an SNIA standard for self-provisioning, administering and accessing cloud storage. Other StorageGRID access methods include NFS, CIFS, and an API using RESTful HTTP. Object storage vendors often provide proprietary APIs, and CDMI is a more open approach.

NetApp is the only public supporter of it so far. Competing object storage suppliers Amplidata, EMC Atmos/Centera, Caringo, Dell, HDS and Scality haven't signed up yet, but momentum for more companies to support CDMI is thought to be building.

StorageGRID is twinned with NetApp's E-Series arrays to provide a distributed content repository that provides the usual impressive-sounding big data object storage stuff - it claims to scale to hundreds of petabytes in a single namespace covering billions of files across hundreds of sites.

The El Reg storage desk is cynical because no company is actually storing hundreds of petabytes of data in billions of files inside a single namespace across hundreds of data centres. Until somebody actually does this the promise of large scale object storage is just that, a theoretical promise. Yes, it may well scale, and probably is real, but the technology appears to be available well in advance of the market need.

A NetApp Data Bingo blog article states: "Traditional file systems and access methods were not designed to store hundreds of millions or billions of files in a single namespace. This leads to admins storing data in multiple file systems, multiple shares, complex directory structures – not because the data should be logically organized in that way, but simply because of limitations in file system architectures. This issue becomes even more pressing when data sits in multiple locations, maybe even across on-premise and off-premise, cloud-based storage."

That's all very well but the problems aren't big enough - yet - to prompt a general transition to object storage technologies.

NetApp mentions customer Iron Mountain in the release of StorageGRID version 9. This was a Bycast customer and NetApp hasn't been able to, or chose not to, focus on any other customer or make claims about new customers for StorageGRID.

What object storage needs is a thumping great demo, a real implementation of the billions of files, hundreds of PB, single namespace, hundreds of sites idea that blows traditional file system access away. Why doesn't one exist? It would be horribly expensive and complex to set up and, The Reg suspects, unrealistic. After all CERN chose tape to store its online Large Hadron Collider experimental data. Why not object storage? Too expensive maybe?

If object storage isn't suitable for real-world use cases involving hundreds of petabytes, seemingly ideal object storage use cases, then perhaps it's marketing its technology with the wrong message. ®

Bootnote

Comments to The Reg forum, please.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan
All routes should transit America, apparently
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.