451 Research Report: Managing the Data Explosion Challenge with Open Source Storage


Executive Summary

Business IT is facing storage growth that’s exceeding even the highest estimates, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Unstructured data in the form of audio, video, digital images and sensor data now makes up an increasingly large majority of business data and presents a new set of challenges that calls for a different approach to storage. Next-generation storage systems need to provide greater flexibility and choice, as well as the ability to better identify unstructured data in order to categorize, utilize and automate the management of it throughout its lifecycle. Software-defined storage (SDS) is rapidly becoming the preferred solution for ‘secondary storage’ applications that don’t have the performance requirements of highly transactional workloads. As a result, every major storage vendor now offers scale-out SDS options based on commodity hardware. This levels the playing field for open source SDS offerings that offer the same flexibility of closely integrated block, file and object capabilities, as well as a modular, scale-out approach to capacity expansion. A key consideration for open source SDS adoption lies in choosing a partner capable of providing enterprise-class service and support for software integration and development, as well as guidance in the process of migration from legacy to next-generation, open source SDS storage.

Key Findings

Scale-out SDS systems combine enterprise-class data protection and management with the improved economics of commodity server hardware, Ethernet connectivity and whatever mix of flash and disk best suits application needs.

In the secondary storage space, unstructured data is growing at a greater rate than traditional database information, yet it shares many of the same critical concerns when it comes to data protection, availability and long-term management.

Systems that offer close integration between Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX)-based file services and metadata-rich object storage capabilities provide the best balance between the need to support existing applications and a flexible environment for metadata-based automation and management that extends the value of data throughout its lifecycle.

Next-generation, open source platforms such as Ceph offer a viable alternative to proprietary secondary storage options, and offer a competitive mix of unified storage management, data protection and scale-out capabilities covering block, file and object storage.

Because secondary storage is the ultimate repository of all IT information, it’s important to thoroughly consider critical issues such as data protection, security, scalability, performance, availability, management and the flexibility to fit seamlessly into a hybrid strategy that increasingly extends beyond the traditional datacenter.

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About 451 Research

451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company. With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, we provide essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to over 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group.

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