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NetApp launches a new version of its object storage software

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September 23, 2014

NetApp said earlier this morning that it's launching a new version of its object storage software, Storage Grid Webscale.

The company has extended its hybrid public/private facilities by integrating them with the addition of an interface with AWS's online file storage web service S3.

Overall, NetApp views object storage as a good means of storing massive amounts of unstructured data that does not need FAS ONTAP-level data management services, requiring secure data management at a reduced cost.

It was in April 2010 that NetApp acquired Canadian company Bycast along with its StorageGrid technology, which provided object-based storage across heterogeneous arrays and geographic boundaries.

There were then more than 250 Storage GRID customers, with NetApp saying the product was good for petabyte-scale, globally distributed repositories of images, video and records for enterprises and service providers.

The software runs inside a virtual machine running on a server and handles the metadata processing and policy-driven work, writing and reading objects to and from the attached storage resources.

It was believed that StorageGRID would be integrated into the NetApp storage mothership, the ONTAP arrays, but this hasn't happened yet and doesn't look likely to happen any time soon.

That separation was prompted by the March 2011 $480 million Engenio acquisition which gained NetApp its E-Series arrays running the SANtricity operating system, targeted at video surveillance-type markets and high-performance computing.

This simply means fast and straightforward access to data with applications often providing the data management services.

The E-Series became seen as an array suited to StorageGRID utilization, but with StorageGRID still available to work with third-party storage arrays.

To be sure, version 9.0 of StorageGRID came about in August 2012 with an added cloud interface, CDMI, joining the existing NFS, CIFS, and RESTful HTTP API, along with the ability to be twinned with tens of petabytes in a single namespace covering billions of files across hundreds of sites.

Two years later we have version 10.0 with some new branding and an Amazon S3 interface added.

NetApp says StorageGRID can hold 100 billion objects in a single flat address space that can be distributed across data centres around the world.

So we can look at object storage in two tiers-- a private on-premises store, and an off-premises store in the public cloud for lower value data needing lower cost storage.

This is a single self-healing data store which does not need a separate disaster recovery facility.

Various policies are defined by resource availability and latency, data retention requirements, geo-location requirements and overall network cost.

NetApp says policies are automatically re-evaluated and objects will be brought into compliance.

Further StorageGRID releases are planned, with one early next year looking at geo-distributed erasure coding and cloud tiering for on-premises and off-premises repositories.

There will be an early-adopter program for this, with general availability following later on in 2015.

NetApp is now being more energetic in marketing and developing StorageGRID. It has joined the Object Storage Alliance and is presenting StorageGRID as software-defined storage, since it is not tied to particular hardware.

Riverbed has a supporting quote in NetApp's release-- "Our SteelStore technology, coupled with NetApp’s new StorageGRID Webscale object-storage software, provides our enterprise customers with the tools needed to take advantage of the cloud.”

SteelStore was previously called Whitewater and the technology is in the cloud storage gateway arena.

CommVault is also in the-provide-a-quote area, saying-- "StorageGRID Webscale represents the next phase of NetApp’s object-enabled data management strategy. NetApp and CommVault remain committed to providing technology and solutions that are cost effective, highly scalable, and deliver our customers a competitive advantage.”

Source: NetApp.

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