Object storage offers a number of benefits over block-and-file storage. For instance, object storage makes it possible to create and manage metadata related to specific objects. This allows administrators to develop and apply policies, such as how long to store an object or how many local copies of an object must be stored, to stored objects easily.
Such metadata management and policy management tasks are helpful when archiving data including images, audio, and video files but are difficult or impossible to execute with block and file storage methods.
Object storage is quickly becoming the de facto cloud storage standard, and in fact a number of smaller enterprises are already leveraging object storage on Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, or S3. Other vendors which include more powerful archiving object model is Cleversafe. However, migrating a large number of existing applications to object storage is a complex and time-consuming operation requiring a new approach to application architecture.
Action Item: Small enterprises in greenfield environments should strongly consider object storage. Migrating to object storage at larger companies is a more difficult affair, however. It requires a complete change of mindset on the part of developers and administrators that may be reluctant to move away from block-and-file storage. Enterprises with large and complex webs of enterprise applications and storage devices, therefore, should pinpoint just the applications best suited for object storage for migration. Wikibon recommends enterprises take a “SWAT team” approach, creating small teams to target the best candidates for object storage, such as e-mail archiving and multi-media data.