In recent years, there has been a data explosion. With the amount of data we produce, consume, and share increasing by the day, businesses and organisations are looking for innovative ways to store and access files.
Cloudian provides object storage, an advanced alternative to traditional systems which offers a raft of benefits and access to a plethora of cutting-edge features. This guide will provide in-depth information about object storage and outline the main advantages of switching to Cloudian's innovative storage system.
The limitations of traditional storage systems
One of the primary reasons Cloudian has become increasingly popular in recent years is its ability to offer alternatives and solutions to problems posed by traditional SAN and NAS platforms. With vast amounts of data produced every day, companies and organisations are looking for innovative ways to access and store data safely. While conventional systems offer benefits, they have limitations, which hampers scalability. If you were to buy a mid-range system, there’s every chance that within a few years, you would have outgrown the system due to capacity restrictions or that technology would have advanced beyond your current system, leaving you with no option but to upgrade.
With traditional platforms, it can be difficult to manage multiple systems, and this contributes to compromised efficiency. There’s also the issue of storing data that is connected to the actual file or block you wish to store or secure. For every 1gb of data, for example, you might find that you’re storing up to 8gb. Once you’ve reached the limit in terms of scale and size, or your system has become dated, you’ll need to invest in a next-generation platform, and this requires data migration. The process can be complex and time-consuming, and business owners don’t want to be worrying about constantly updating platforms and moving data around. Object storage provides solutions to these common storage headaches.
Introducing object storage
Object storage is a form of data storage structure, which stores data as objects, rather than files or blocks. There are several advantages to this type of architecture and some key differences between object storage and traditional platforms. Here are some of the most significant characteristics of object storage:
- Scalability: there are virtually no limits when it comes to object data storage.
- Metadata: with object storage, the metadata you store along with the actual object can be as valuable as the object itself, and as there are no size or scale limitations, you won’t encounter capacity issues.
- Taking data in and out of platforms: one of the most impressive aspects of object storage is the ease of taking data in and out. The S3 API utilised by Cloudian is designed to work across HTTP and HTTPS.
- Protecting data: Cloudian systems do not use RAID to protect data, opting to make copies or employ erasure coding instead. This is another means of eradicating limitations.
Metadata is an important subject to discuss when talking about the features and benefits of Cloudian’s scalable enterprise object storage system. When you store an object, for example, an image file, it is accompanied by metadata. In this case, this might be information linked to the image. If the image portrays a car, for example, the metadata might include data about the make and model specifications. With object storage, you can often gain as much value from metadata as from the object itself. The platform will tell you exactly where the object is located, and you can also use custom, user-defined metadata settings. This is particularly beneficial for accessing and using large files, for example, those stored by professionals working in the genomics field. You can break larger files down, accessing the metadata you need to employ operations such as analytics. Metadata has scope to benefit companies and organisations across several industries and to facilitate machine learning.
Amazon S3, also known as Amazon Simple Storage, provides object storage that offers more than conventional storage systems. While some platforms are only just starting to talk about tiering, access control, and versioning, Cloudian has been offering these features for years as a result of being S3 API compatible. Essentially, Cloudian offers object storage that looks the same and functions like Amazon S3 at a more competitive and attractive price point. With Cloudian, you can benefit from:
- Provision of the most complete support of S3, apart from Amazon itself
- Multi-tenancy options
- Flexibility in terms of data protection methods and configuration options: you can choose how to shield your data at ‘bucket level’ and access different degrees of data durability
- Deployment flexibility: with Cloudian, you can buy and use hardware appliances, but you can also benefit from a software-only model
- Multi-cloud options: with this object storage platform, you can replicate, move, and even run in the public cloud when using S3 applications. This can be useful for those using cloud systems like Microsoft’s Azure
- File gateway options
- Competitive costs
Object storage and machine learning
Machine learning plays an increasingly integral role in the way we live and work, and it offers an array of benefits. There are various ways in which S3 aids machine learning, including:
- Single global namespace: this phrase essentially means that all your applications are talking to the same URL, which makes it easy to get data in and out, and eliminates restrictions in terms of scalability.
- Streamlined solutions: with S3, you can keep adding nodes (servers), increasing your capacity and enhancing performance. With full S3 compatibility, you have access to a raft of features, you can break large chunks of data down into digestible pieces, and you can take advantage of greater flexibility.
- Hybrid architecture: the structure of this system facilitates deployment across multiple sites, including different regions and data centres. You can set a specific location for storage according to your requirements, manage the system from one place and choose how you want to protect your data.
- Native S3 support: Cloudian is one of the most compatible and compliant S3 APIs, and it offers cost-effective, optimised movement away from primary storage. The data migration process is simplified and more secure, and the concept of object storage eliminates the need for backing up. Rather than backing up data constantly, object storage archives objects.
- Cost benefits: the public cloud may seem like an inexpensive option, but more and more organisations are finding it costly to take data out. Switching to Cloudian can save money at the same time as offering access to a range of impressive features.
Machine learning: a case study
There are myriad applications for machine and deep learning, and Cloudian has recently teamed up with Dentsu, QCT Japan, and Intel Japan to run an innovative advertising campaign, which places targeted ads on billboards in response to the types of vehicles detected on the surrounding roads. The process involves capturing vehicles that are approaching the billboard on camera, deciphering data to determine the type of car, and then displaying targeted ads. For family cars, for example, the advert may be a theme park or a water park. For luxury vehicles, the advert may feature a golf club. For electric or hybrid cars, the board may promote eco-friendly products. The aim is to match the type of car, and therefore, the customer, with an advert that is likely to be relevant and appealing to them. Cloudian’s smart storage is used to process data and gather information about the make and model to inform the decision-making process and select a suitable advert.
This case study provides an example of how object storage can be used to influence machine and deep learning, but this is not the sole purpose. In addition to advertising, a similar system could be used for:
- Traffic counting
- Counting people
- Traffic analysis
- Human behaviour analysis
- Financial services and fraud detection
- Medicine and healthcare
- Genomics and targeted treatments
- Smart cars
There are multiple advantages to using a system like Cloudian for the applications and activities listed above. If you’re analysing traffic, for example, you can count vehicles and conduct analysis 24 hours a day, you’ll be paying a lot less than you would for a human being to count cars, and you’ll emerge with a more accurate figure with no need to worry about human error. As technology advances, it’s also highly likely that new and more diverse applications will become available in the future.
Summary: Why choose Cloudian?
Cloudian offers scalable enterprise object storage, which is designed to provide solutions for common storage issues and facilitate limitless growth. With Cloudian, you can take advantage of:
- The most comprehensive S3 support
- No scale limits: benefit from a modular growth pattern by adding nodes as and when you need to
- Custom management options: manage your data from one place, even if you have locations scattered across different cities, countries or data centres.
- Flexibility: you can choose how to configure the system, as well as how to secure your data
- Added features: Cloudian offers an array of features, which are designed to make storing, accessing, and sharing data swift, stress-free, and seamless
- Cost: enjoy all the benefits of Amazon S3 at a more affordable price
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