Businesses today are under huge pressure to innovate and adapt to technological developments in order to keep pace with their competitors. As a result, more and more organizations are adopting hybrid cloud infrastructures to manage their data.
According to one study, 45 percent of enterprises already prioritize some sort of hybrid solution. Taking this a step further, research from Nutanix shows that 85 percent of those surveyed selected a hybrid cloud approach, using a mix of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud solutions, as their ideal IT operating model.
There are several key benefits to this hybrid approach that are prompting organizations to make the shift. For example, hybrid cloud makes it easier to optimize costs and increase efficiencies, providing greater flexibility when it comes to choosing the right mix of solutions to meet specific operational needs.
However, although the move to hybrid is well established, many organizations are still being hindered by a reliance on legacy storage platforms.
Legacy storage limitations
One of the key drivers of hybrid cloud adoption is that it lets users easily move large amounts of data and applications between platforms that would previously have operated as distinct entities. This enables businesses to meet changing requirements and exploit the benefits of multiple platforms with a single management view of the data.
But unfortunately, it’s not all plain sailing. From a storage perspective, legacy systems are holding many businesses back. For example, traditional SAN (block) solutions are designed for single-site implementations, and legacy NAS (file) systems typically can’t scale past single-petabyte capacities. As a result, deploying these offerings in hybrid environments that inherently entail different locations and are typically intended to address rapid data growth requires users to keep purchasing multiple systems.
Moreover, these SAN and NAS solutions weren’t designed for cloud integration, so they require additional cloud connectors. All of this adds a significant amount of cost and complexity, as well as making it much harder for organizations to get the most out of the data they hold.
Object storage: Ideal for hybrid cloud
Object storage provides a fundamentally different way of storing data that is perfectly suited for hybrid cloud environments. While the hierarchical and direct addressing structures of traditional NAS and SAN technologies have scalability limits and are likely to experience performance issues as the amount of data grows, object storage employs a flat-file structure that has no limits.
Objects are organized into “buckets” that can hold similar or related objects, allowing them to be managed as groups, while clustered nodes are then used to see and retrieve any data based on each object’s unique ID. Each node can respond independently to data requests and can work in parallel to accelerate the delivery of large objects, thereby overcoming the performance limitations of block and file systems. This modular design of object storage also means organizations can seamlessly scale to petabytes and beyond simply by adding more nodes when needed – all without any risk of disruption or decreases in performance.
Another key differentiator of object storage is its use of metadata. Each object includes one or more user-defined metadata tags that can be used to describe the object’s contents, making data more searchable and usable. This can include such information as the location where the asset was created, the project it was created for and the specific subject of the data, while search capabilities are enhanced through sophisticated Google-like tools.
Object storage also addresses the challenges associated with managing data across a range of different platforms and locations in hybrid cloud architectures. Firstly, nodes can be deployed wherever they are needed in a distributed system, enabling analysis where the data is collected and providing one storage pool that can span multiple locations. Secondly, object storage employs the S3 API, so it speaks the language of the cloud and enables on-premises and cloud platforms to communicate with each other seamlessly.
Moving on from traditional storage methods
With all these factors in mind, it’s becoming abundantly clear that traditional storage is holding organizations back from making the most of their hybrid cloud infrastructures. The unique capabilities of object storage can smooth this transition to an IT landscape where hybrid cloud infrastructures are the norm, which is why object storage will continue its journey into the mainstream of enterprise IT.