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How SwiftStack Is Raising the Bar on Object Storage as a Service

SwiftStack object storage is used for archiving active data, serving Web content, building private clouds, sharing documents and storing backups.

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SwiftStack has looked at object storage as a service as it exists today, saw that it needed an upgrade, and moved it to another level by enabling new functionality for it.

Customers of the San Francisco-based startup, which already has clients that include eBay, Pac-12 Network, Time Warner Cable and Hewlett-Packard Co., say they are now using file sync and share applications on SwiftStack Object Storage and offering an improved user experience for their own customers as a result.

This is unusual because connecting and accessing unstructured private business data behind firewalls through a cloud storage service can be problematic for admins and users alike.

SwiftStack object storage is used for archiving active data, serving Web content, building private clouds, sharing documents and storing backups. The company's home-built object storage, built on an open source core and called OpenStack Swift, is designed specifically for storing unstructured data privately in enterprise data centers behind corporate firewalls.

Object storage is an architecture that manages data as objects, as opposed to other storage architectures, such as file systems, which manage data as a file hierarchy, and block storage, which manages data as blocks within sectors and tracks. Most Internet service providers use conventional file system-driven structured data stores, although the trend is now toward more unstructured storage—including object stores.

"As a multi-tenant storage cloud, we see many SwiftStack users extending the value of their private cloud object storage by adding file sync and share to their service offerings," SwiftStack President and Chief Product Officer Joe Arnold said. "As the folks that literally wrote the book on OpenStack Swift, we have seen a great deal of engagement among vendors of on-premises file sync and share technologies adding and perfecting support for the Swift API (application programming interface)."

Thanks to the always-increasing amount of unstructured data coming from smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearable devices and other new-gen devices, the object storage market is growing fast, according to all the major market researchers, including IDC, Gartner, Forrester and 451 Research.

"Yes, indeed, and thank you, Amazon!" Mario Blandini, Vice President of Marketing at SwiftStack, told eWEEK. "This was the 'bad neighborhood' in the city for the longest time. The EMCs, NetApps, Hitachis of the world haven't had a vested interest in delivering a platform that stores data more efficiently and costs a whole lot less. And it makes sense; it's hard to show lots of top-line growth in a very large, multi-billion-dollar business if you are selling people stuff that makes less money."

Key features SwiftStack Object Storage delivers that complement and enhance enterprise File Sync and Share applications include:

--Authentication: SwiftStack object storage matches with file sync and share applications by integrating with existing enterprise authentication infrastructure, including Active Directory and LDAP for faster provisioning and simplified storage user management.

--Unified namespace: A SwiftStack object storage cluster can be spread over multiple geographically distributed data centers with a single namespace. This delivers the opportunity for a greater file sync and share user experience, regardless of the user device or where users are working.

--Centralized management: The SwiftStack Object Storage Controller manages all object storage clusters from a single, centralized management interface, reducing storage complexity and conserving IT resources so the focus can remain on the enterprise file sync and share implementation and operations.

--No hardware lock-in: SwiftStack object storage runs on any industry-standard x86 server hardware available from any vendor, so enterprises can use their preferred server vendor or mix-and-match hardware from multiple vendors to optimize capital investments and do much more for less.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...