IBM Launches Object Storage Service for Hybrid Clouds, Signs Bitly

IBM introduced its new IBM Cloud Object Storage service—a storage-as-a-service offering—and signed Bitly as its first major customer.

IBM big data

Building on its internal research and development as well as strategic acquisitions over the last several years, IBM introduced a new IBM Cloud Object Storage series of services.

The new offerings provide storage-as-a-service solutions for hybrid clouds, IBM said. The new IBM Cloud Object Storage service uses core technology attained in IBM's acquisition of Cleversafe.

IBM officials said the new IBM Cloud services will help enterprises better store, manage and access the mounting volumes of data they have in the cloud with enhanced security.

As part of the announcement, IBM said link management company Bitly has signed on as one of the solution's first clients and will manage up to 500 terabytes of workloads on the service.

"Bitly has been working with IBM on cloud deployment for Bitly's core services, and this was a natural next step," Rob Platzer, CTO of Bitly, told eWEEK. "To optimize its platform for customers globally, we wanted the flexibility to distribute its data across data centers. IBM could offer that flexibility."

Platzer added that Bitly's analysis, based on a proof of concept, illustrated that the IBM Cloud is more cost efficient and performance efficient than Bitly's current offering. "For Bitly, some real-time data is better suited for spinning disks; then another portion of the data will move to object storage as a means to access it quickly for data analysis," he said.

IBM said its Cloud Object Storage service is based on the SecureSlice technology from Cleversafe. In tests run by IBM, the technology demonstrated more than 25 percent lower costs over comparative solutions, the company said. Moreover, according to IBM, SecureSlice combines encryption and erasure coding for greater security.

"As clients continue to move massive workloads to hybrid clouds there is a need for an easier, more secure and economical way to store and manage mounting volumes of digital information," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, in a statement. "With this announcement, IBM becomes the leading cloud vendor to provide clients the flexibility and availability of object data storage across on-premises and public clouds."

SecureSlice works by automatically encrypting each segment of data that comes into the IBM Cloud Object Storage system before it is erasure coded and dispersed, IBM said. Then the content can only be reassembled using proprietary IBM technology at the client's primary data center, where the data was originally received, and decrypted by SecureSlice, LeBlanc noted.

IBM offers the new cloud storage service in two public, multitenant services: Cross Region Service, which sends the sliced data to at least three geographically dispersed regions across IBM Cloud data centers; and Regional Service, which keeps the data in multiple data centers in a given region.

Moreover, LeBlanc said the new services complement the company's existing IBM Cloud Object Storage System for on-premises object storage, and the IBM Cloud Object Storage Dedicated Service. The dedicated service is a private cloud offering that runs on bare-metal servers on IBM Cloud. In addition, all of the IBM Cloud Object Storage services on-premises or off-premises support Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift interfaces.

The IBM Cloud Object Storage service is available now from IBM Cloud data centers in the U.S. and Europe and will be available in the Asia Pacific region in December. Further, availability of the service via digital channels, with swipe-and-go credit card support, will begin in the U.S. starting in December and Europe soon thereafter, IBM said.

Meanwhile, Bitly said it is moving 1 billion datasets to IBM Cloud. The company adopted the IBM Cloud Object Storage service to more quickly analyze historical data that is being produced by the more than 10 billion clicks it processes each month. This data includes user interactions across online channels.

"With more than 400 million new links created every month, the Bitly platform is growing at an explosive rate," Platzer said in a statement. "We turned exclusively to IBM Cloud because of its leadership in data services. Through this partnership IBM will help us transform our business and build a variety of new cloud services—from advanced analytics and data mining to data research—into our software platform. The new IBM Cloud Object Storage service will enable us to manage all the data from our on-premises and cloud infrastructure with ease and flexibility."

Bitly initially announced its plans to migrate its platform to IBM Cloud at IBM's InterConnect 2016 conference in Las Vegas in February. At the same time, IBM said it would integrate Bitly's services into the IBM Marketing Cloud portfolio.

As part of the partnership, Bitly said its API, which developers use to embed links into their applications, would move onto IBM Cloud. Each month, 11,000 developers access Bitly's API to create 300 million links, Platzer said. More than 70 percent of Bitly links are delivered internationally.

"Migrating our workloads onto IBM Cloud enables us to better support our expanding global user base," said Mark Josephson, CEO of Bitly, in a statement at IBM InterConnect. "Not only can our customers experience even faster performance thanks to IBM's worldwide network of interconnected data centers, but we will also have a scalable, secure cloud platform to support our rapid business growth."

Bitly's link management platform has more than 10 million monthly users, with more than 500,000 active user accounts, the company said.