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Overcoming objections: Objects in storage the object of the exercise

Still a lack of support from app vendors?

Storagebod My friend Enrico Signoretti is a massive fan of object storage, whereas for a long time I’ve had the reputation of being somewhat sceptical.

I've felt for a long time that the whole thing has been more than a little overhyped, with the hype beginning with EMC’s Atmos launch, and continuing from there.

The problem with object storage has been the lack of support from application vendors, especially in the space in which I work.

And development teams, especially those working in organisations with large numbers of heritage applications, have been very slow to embrace it. Most just want to work with standard filesystems.

And so we saw the birth of the cloud-gateway, devices that sat in front of the object-stores and presented the object-stores in a more familiar manner. Yet often the way that these were licensed simply added cost and negated the low cost of object store; they also added complexity into an environment.

The object storage vendors were slower to acknowledge the issue and really wanted you to use the API to access the storage. Also, some of the larger (mainstream) vendors really didn’t want their object storage to cannibalise their NAS revenues, and were even slower to acknowledge the issue.

So it seemed that object storage was going to be confined to the world of cloud-scale and cloud-native applications.

But this now seems to be rapidly changing: robust NFS implementations from the object storage vendors are becoming significantly more common; SMB implementations still seem to be rather patchy, but once they become more robust, I see object storage becoming the standard for file-serving applications.

Will we see API-driven "file access" become the universal method for interacting with file storage? Not for some time, but having the choice and realising that it is a not an all-or-nothing scenario will begin to ease friction in this space.

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