The Storage Evolution: From Blocks, Files and Objects to Object Storage Systems (Fall 2007)

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Publish Date: 
Monday, October 15, 2007
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In light of the enormous increase in storage requirements (capacity, scalability, performance, compliance, concurrency, migration, security, Object Storage Systems seem to be a natural extension of traditional block- and file-based technologies.

This tutorial will discuss advanced file-based technologies (NAS, NAS Aggregation/Virtualization, NAS Clustering, Scalable NFS, File Area Networks) and emerging object-based technologies (e.g. SCSI-3 OSD extensions).

While Object-Based Storage Devices (OSDs) are tightly linked the SCSI-3 architecture model Object Storage Systems translate the object-based storage paradigm to the next higher layers in the I/O stack and combines the basic SCSI-3 OSD principles with advanced data processing technologies and requirements. There are many possible incarnations of Object Storage Systems such as Object Storage Servers (OSS) and Content Addressable/Aware Storage (CAS). Federations of Objects Storage Systems with global namespaces create a single data image enhancing the disk related RAID concept to Redundant Arrays of Independent/Inexpensive Nodes (RAIN).

Object Storage Systems will also morph into Intelligent Storage Nodes (ISN) which are hybrids of servers and storage (Storver). ISNs can take different storage personalities (Block, OSD, NAS, VTL, CAS, ...) and provide complex data services (semantics, search, virtual files systems, CDP, encryption, capacity optimization, compliance, migration, transformation, security, ...). They are also programmable and can be customized according to specific requirements.

All the described technologies will complement each other and provide building blocks for sophisticated storage solutions.

Learning Objectives

Understand the basic principles and restrictions of block-, file- and object-based data access
Understand how different emerging technologies will merge into Object Storage Systems.
Understand how the further development of Object Storage Systems will create Intelligent Storage Nodes blurring the distinction between server and storage.