Regan Technologies Corporation has been selling and implementing storage solution for almost 20 years. We understand storage and its crucial role in an enterprise.
Today I want to tell you about “the object store.” Object storage is not new but it is becoming more relevant in today’s storage market place. Simply put, an object is a file with meta-data “wrapped” around it. Metadata is “data about the data” such as the date it was created or last accessed, who created it, or a number of other tags that can be added like department name, project name, etc. Once in the object store the object can be searched for my any one of the metadata categories. Depending on how you implement it, you can also leave “stubs” or pointers to the object in the directory in which it was originally created, making the fact that the file was moved from its original location to the object store transparent to the end user.
Why do this? Very simply, you can move files with lower priority, larger, or older files out of your expensive high-performing disk to the object store, which has larger slower drives that are less expensive. On average you can see a 40% reduction in primary storage utilization. Your results may vary but it’s a very efficient way to store files. But that’s not the end of the cost savings, as once a file is in an object store it’s out of the backup stream, saving you on your backup costs. The object store is replicated for disaster recovery purposes.
Not all object stores are created equal. The Hitachi Data Systems Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is an elegant and simple solution. First, it can be sold as an appliance, complete with server, disk, and software. Alternatively, it can be sold as software only, running as a virtual machine on an existing server utilizing existing disk.
One of it’s distinctive features is that it can easily migrate data based on criteria you set from you existing NAS to the HCP. It can also migrate data from a branch or field office using another appliance at the site that removes the need to have primary storage in the field in many cases.
HCP also has many options to archive the very old data. Instead of throwing more iron at the solution, there are places HCP will move that data based on criteria that you set. One example is Hitachi’s erasure coded (ECo) disk which are incredibly large drives (6TB each) and spin down when not be used. HCP call also act as a cloud broker and move data to any number of private or public cloud offerings like Azure, Google, AWS, really any s3 enabled cloud. The metadata stays on the HCP, so it can be easily located, but the payload data moves out to the cloud automatically. Anytime a user clicks to recall a file, HCP brings it right back. The data can also be accessed by application using any restful API.
The data manages itself – it’s an amazing solution. Available as and add-on feature is HCP Anywhere. This is a file sync and share, like Dropbox, but secure in your enterprise, you can send links to the content via email instead of the file, and has the option of making the links expire, or making users within the enterprise authenticate before accessing. We believe that the HCP solution is the best on the market today.
We recently worked with HDS to deliver this solution to a large enterprise system in the federal government. As a primary objective, this agency needed to organize and catalogue a massive amount of still images and video. Because of the solution we proposed, we were also able to consolidate their storage platforms from 3 different systems to a unified single platform. The HCP solution also integrated cloud strategies to meet a long term goal. Another benefit to this solution is it’s scability. This agency now has the tools and platform necessary to scale up and expand as needed to other facilities and locations. In the end, this agency has decided to use this solution as a template for future deployments.
Looking at the bigger, not only did this solution consolidate their environment but will provide cost savings associated with the consolidation. The impact reaches beyond just the “solution” – think about data center space, cooling, power requirements and man hours needed to manage multiple platforms. IT environments can be complex and unwieldy but they don’t have to be. Consider the simplied HCP solution.
~Stephen Clark, Director of Sales