Object storage already dominates our days (we just didn’t notice)

Maybe it’s the lousy name, but object storage just doesn’t get any respect. Analysts are starting to talk about it more, but always with a cautionary tone. Andrew Reichman of Forrester talks about object storage’s interesting, but limited, Enterprise use cases. The Register says, “It needs to progress beyond cheap and deep.” And so forth.

Let’s look at it a bit differently.

What kind of storage does the average person interact with most on a daily basis? Any guesses? The truth is that object storage already dominates much of our days – and we didn’t even notice it.

Let’s walk through an average day in the life:

Wake up

Check Facebook – Facebook Haystack
Check Gmail – Google Cloud Storage
Check Twitter – Amazon S3

Shower, shave, eat breakfast

Drive to work with Pandora playing – Gluster

Check Gmail – Google Cloud Storage
Check social software – Azure Blob Store
Check group IM (e.g. Hipchat) – Amazon S3
Check SharePoint – EMC Atmos or Azure Blob Store

Work on Microsoft Office docs on your desktop, while instantly updating your team – Oxygen Cloud and EMC Atmos
Open up Google Apps, work on Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides – Google Cloud Storage

Have lunch

Research the market on the NY Times – Amazon S3
Take pictures of a whiteboard with notes or a meeting with Instagram – Amazon S3

Check messages again

Drive home, have dinner

Review a few edited documents on your tablet – Oxygen Cloud and EMC Atmos
Watch streamed shows and movies on Netflix – Amazon S3

Check messages one last time

Read a book on Apple iPad until you fall asleep – Apple iCloud

Yes, there are other forms of storage necessary to run the databases and web servers. A majority of the object storage I’ve mentioned is also hosted in the public cloud. But in terms of daily interactions, object storage is already a close second to the local storage that is on whatever device you’re using.

Why did this happen? Because object storage just works. It scales to many billions of objects in a single system. It’s accessible anywhere. It requires very little management to maintain or grow. With the relentless reduction of cost per capacity, it can easily and cost-effectively offer data availability and resiliency through copies of objects or more sophisticated “network RAID.” It’s not a panacea, but the cautionary tone needs to go away. We’re already using it every day.

- Leo (@lleung)

2 thoughts on “Object storage already dominates our days (we just didn’t notice)

  1. Leo,

    I agree with your “cautionary tone” statement. Large enterprises are backing up, archiving and distributing content globally today. Nirvanix has numerous multi-petabyte deployments spanning all industry segments. With the growth of unstructured data, the cloud is the optimal solution.

    Regards,
    Brian

  2. After 10 years, object storage investment continues and begins to bear significant fruit | Oxygen Cloud's Blog

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