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December 2011

Object-based storage allows users to tame ballooning data stores

With the rapid growth of unstructured data in corporate systems, technologies that can effectively store large amounts of discrete files have begun to emerge. Scale-out and internal cloud systems are chief among them, but often under the hood of these approaches is an entirely different way of handling data: object-based storage. To date, the file system has been king. It provides some form of central database that is referred to when an application requests data. The database typically contains information about the file, including directory (tree) information, physical (hard drive) location of related blocks, security and access restrictions. It’s a hierarchical, location-based method of storing information about files. As data stores grow, traditional file systems soon become very complex. And they’re limited in the number of files they can deal with. One response to ballooning numbers of files is to partition file systems into volumes. This helps resolve latency issues but adds management overheads as data becomes separated ...

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