EMC Says Time for Object-Based Storage Has Finally Come

Partnering with a storage vendor may not be the first thing that comes to mind for most developers, but EMC is looking to changd some hearts and minds about the strategic role storage plays in application development.

Today EMC announced the general availability of the Atmos G3-Dense-480, an object-based storage Platform that is optimized around unstructured data in the cloud. Beyond adding support for bigger 3TB drives and native support for the Amazon S3API, the Atmos systems support RESTful APIs that are intended to make it easier for developers to add support for object-based storage.

According to Kate Canestrari, director of product marketing for the Advanced Storage Division at EMC, object-based storage systems are particularly well-suited for cloud applications that increasingly make use of unstructured data consisting of images and video, which is one of the reasons that Web sites such as eBay that need an efficient way to handle petabytes of data make heavy use of them.

As part of an effort to increase the adoption of object-based storage systems Canestrari says that EMC has been courting developers to write applications that include support for both object-based and traditional file-based storage. As part of an effort to simplify that process EMC is trying to let developers know that once they add support for RESTful APIs they are effectively making their application compatible with object-based storage.

While the concept of object-based storage has been around for a while, it’s only will the rise of massive amounts of data on the Web that object-based storage really stopped being a technology in search of an application beyond simple archiving. From a practical perspective, object-based storage at this point however is really the only way to viably manage petabytes of unstructured data.

The challenge, says Canestrari, is that storage administrators tend to be relatively conservative when it comes to support new technologies, which is one of the reasons that EMC is trying to enlist support for Atmos among developers. While storage technologies may not be top of mind for developers, they ultimately have a lot to do with how their applications perform than anyone cares to admit.

While there’s no absolute standard interface when it comes to object-based storage, the rise of RESTful APIs is making all kinds of technologies more accessible than ever. That doesn’t mean that object-based storage is going to replace file or block level storage any time soon. But for a whole host of applications in the cloud it’s becoming apparent that object-based storage is really the only real way forward in a Big Data era where just about any application on the Web is now going to routinely wind up trying to cope with petabytes of data.

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