NetApp Extends Object Storage Reach into the Cloud

Mike Vizard
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Holographs, Liquid-State and DNA: The Future of Data Storage

NetApp has been offering object-based storage management software for years. Starting today, however, that software is being offered in a version that can not only support 100 billion objects, but also Amazon S3 application programming interfaces (APIs) and Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI).

Ingo Fuchs, senior manager for cloud solutions at NetApp, says NetApp StorageGRID Webscale object-storage software is designed to bring the storage management flexibility that is often associated with a public cloud to private clouds.

NetApp StorageGRID Web is compatible with both NetApp and third-party storage systems. Fuch says StorageGRID Webscale creates a digital fingerprint as data is ingested and then keeps track of all the interlocking layers to maintain data integrity. Anytime there is a problem with an object, it is automatically regenerated to ensure its integrity. StorageGRID Webscale is also designed to automatically distribute loads across the available pool of storage resources.

Cloud Computing

In addition, Fuchs says NetApp will offer a dynamic policy engine that will assist IT organizations in determining where best to store a particular set of data based on its attributes and associated storage costs.

NetApp intends to add support for everything from geo-distributed erasure coding for global data protection to creating tiers of data spanning on-premise and off-premise repositories. This capability will initially be available via a pilot program that NetApp will launch later this year.

While object-based storage is expected to one day supersede traditional file systems, Fuchs says both approaches to storage will be in use for quite some time. Most organizations are first exposed to object-based storage when they make use of a public cloud, because the providers of those cloud services use object-based storage to manage their services at scale. Fuch says that by providing support for Amazon S3 APIs and CDMI, IT organizations now have the option of moving that data back into a private cloud if they so choose via proprietary Amazon APIs or the emerging CDMI cloud storage standard.


Ultimately, StorageGRID Webscale is the latest example of software-defined storage that is evolving to operate at cloud scale. The most interesting thing about that capability is that it helps level the playing field between public clouds, which for years now have taken advantage of object-storage systems to gain efficiencies, and on-premise systems that for the most part have been restricted to traditional file systems that simply don’t scale as efficiently.



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