IBM offers hybrid cloud object storage service

Vendors, researchers, entrepreneurs and academics around the world are finding new ways and reasons to collect and store data. Long for the days when deleting data to save hard drive space was imperative? Those days are long gone.

Aside from occasional deduplication, enterprises may be keeping every byte they create. The question is, even though the cost of storage continues to drop, is how can they store all they think they’ll need — particularly unstructured data such as videos and images?

In the cloud, says IBM. The company announced Cloud Object Storage on Thursday, a storage-as-a-service for massive amounts of data.

The solution comes from IBM’s acquisition last year of  Cleversafe a developer and manufacturer of object-based storage software and appliances, and technology IBM calls SecureSlice, which combines encryption and erasure coding to meet data regulatory requirements.

“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,” Robert LeBlanc, senior vice-president of IBM Cloud said in a statement. “With today’s announcement, IBM becomes the leading cloud vendor to provide clients the flexibility and availability of object data storage across on-premises and public clouds.”

While organizations want to use the cloud for improved efficiencies and IT agility, IBM notes that storing data on-premise does the opposite.

The new Cloud Object Storage service will enable clients for the first time to scale large unstructured data volumes across on-premises systems as well as public and private clouds quickly and easily, the company says, improving IT system flexibility and security. In a price comparison of identical object storage capacity running on a competitive cloud, the new Cloud Object Storage was more than 25 per cent lower in cost for the capacity, environment and locations compared, IBM says.

It will be available in Canada in December.

A first customer is the URL shortening service Bitly, which uses the service to quickly analyze 500 TB of historical data marketers are anxious for. It has moved 25 billion data-infused links to IBM Cloud

“With more than 400 million new links created every month, the Bitly platform is growing at an explosive rate,” company CTO Robert Platzer said in a statement. “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.”

For security IBM says that when data comes into the Cloud Object Storage system SecureSlice automatically encrypts each segment of data before it is erasure-coded and dispersed across the company’s global data centres. The content can only be re-assembled through IBM Cloud’s “Accesser” technology at the client’s primary data center, where the data was originally received, and decrypted by SecureSlice.  As a result, IBM says, the service can tolerate even catastrophic regional outages without interruption of access to data or the need for customer intervention.

Cloud Object Storage is offered in two public, multi-tenant 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 holds the data in multiple data centers in a given region.

The new services complement the existing IBM Cloud Object Storage System for on premises object storage, and the Cloud Object Storage Dedicated Service, a private cloud offering that runs on bare-metal servers. All of the IBM Cloud Object Storage services on or off-premises support Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift interfaces for greater programming flexibility.

IBM Cloud Object Storage is available immediately in the U.S. and Europe, later this year in Canada. Availability via digital channels, with swipe-and-go credit card support, will begin in the U.S. starting in December.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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