IBM, Cisco Team Up for New On-Premises, Hybrid Cloud Object Storage

New VersaStack for Cloud Object Storage package enables clients to store and manage cloud-scale application data in their data centers.

IBM new storage software

There’s one important thing an IT manager needs to get straight before he or she invests good money in a new Cisco Unified Computing System alongside an IBM Cloud Object Storage deployment: That this isn’t primarily a cloud deployment at all (IBM BlueMix or any other cloud), but an on-premises system with only an option to add a hybrid cloud deployment.

Got that? Good, because if one looks at the names of the storage products, is certainly looks like a cloud deployment.

At the Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas June 26, IBM revealed that enterprises using Cisco UCS servers can now manage their data-intensive workloads securely and efficiently on-premises using the IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) System, now available as a VersaStack option.

The COS is a pre-validated, pre-tested system designed to offer flexible storage capacity for unstructured data in use cases that are becoming more and more common with the influx of big data sources: active archive, backup, content repository, enterprise collaboration and cloud application development.

Can Handle Big or Biggest-Data Workloads

It also aimed at very large data-set workloads, such as genomics processing, media and entertainment, scientific projects and others.

”This makes it easier for clients (of both IBM and Cisco) to extend their infrastructure to provide object storage to handle some of the use cases that are being driven by the growth of information,” Russ Kennedy, IBM Vice-President of Product Strategy, told eWEEK. “Object storage is a perfect way to capture and utilize that data. It allows clients who are already looking at Cisco UCS (unified computing systems) as part of their infrastructure to add object storage very simply to that infrastructure. It allows them to grow and scale very easily, to massive amounts of data storage.”

But above all, this is a system designed for a data center, not as a cloud service. The confusing part is that the name of the on-premises-based product is IBM Cloud Object Storage, even though it sounds awfully close to being a standard subscription or SaaS (software as a service) product.

“Part of the announcement does include a hybrid cloud deployment model,” Kennedy said, “where you have part of your infrastructure on premises and part in the cloud. You can share the resources across one individual system. But the announcement is really focused on the on-prem side of the business.”

Object Storage Coming to the Rescue for Massive Data Workloads

File and block storage have been used for years for most conventional workloads and performance-centric applications. But with the increasing number of connected devices, remote offices and data center nodes in recent years creating huge amounts of data for storage coffers, storage buyers are turning to object storage for its massive scalability, cost efficiency and ability to manage user-definable metadata.

This is a trend that’s been happening for about the last decade, corresponding to the advent of Amazon Web Services' S3 storage in 2006 and the iPhone in 2007.

IBM and Cisco have collaborated to satisfy this object storage migration with the VersaStack Solution for Cloud Object Storage. This combination of the Cisco UCS S3260 Storage Server, C220 Rack Servers and Cisco Nexus 9K switches with IBM Cloud Object Storage System is aimed directly at data-intensive workloads, Kennedy said.

Cisco clients can use their same on-premises Cisco hardware and server management tools to add IBM Cloud Object Storage to their current IT environments, allowing them to manage their data–from petabyte to exabyte scale–with reliability, security, availability and disaster recovery, all without replication.

This new offering updates storage access, so that when clients are ready to extend their workloads into a hybrid cloud storage environment, the processing and tools are already in place for them to use their IBM Cloud Object Storage software, in either a private or hybrid cloud environment, Kennedy said.

Software-Defined, Hardware-Aware

IBM is taking a software-defined, hardware-aware approach to object storage. To do this, IBM Cloud Object Storage provides information about the status of both the logical and physical elements of the system in one view. This includes statistics on the health of disk drives, fans, NICs and the temperature of major system components.

Intelligence delivered in the IBM COS Manager enables a single administrator to manage multiple petabytes of storage, which can significantly lower the total cost of ownership for large-scale object storage systems.

The VersaStack Solution for Cloud Object Storage is backed by a Cisco Validated Design (CVD), which provides guidance on design and deployment of the solution.

The VersaStack Solution for Cloud Object Storage is available now, joining a growing line of VersaStack solutions jointly developed by IBM and Cisco. VersaStack solutions now have 19 validations (combined CVDs and Redbooks).

For more information, go here.

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...