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Scality Zenko.io brings hybrid cloud storage virtualisation

Zenko.io is a control layer that allows customers to manage data in on-site Scality ring object storage and multiple public clouds but falls short of full data portability for now

Object storage specialist Scality has launched Zenko.io, an open source cloud storage control layer that allows customers to manage storage across in-house storage and public cloud tiers.

The Zenko.io cloud controller is based on Scality’s 2016 launch of its S3 server, which provided – via Docker container deployment – S3 access to Scality Ring object storage.

Paul Turner, chief marketing officer (CMO) for Scality, said Zenko.io would allow users to mix and match Scality on-site storage with storage from different cloud providers.

“Users want a multi-cloud environment, to be able to choose between the differing qualities of different clouds. Zenko.io provides a single interface to any cloud via S3 APIs [application programming interfaces],” he said.

S3 is Amazon’s cloud storage protocol, which has emerged as a de facto standard for input/output (I/O) to and from cloud environments. Storage is the most popular use case for cloud customers, a recent survey found.

Zenko.io is freely downloadable and allows Scality customers to maintain their data’s native cloud format, carry out metadata searches and build in workflow-based triggers to, for example, replication.

The offering is likened by Scality to being a control layer. It effectively provides a form of storage virtualisation that is a layer of abstraction in which the customer can manage in-house and public cloud storage from a single screen. “It allows the customer to decide what to do with data, how it is stored, mirrored and protected,” said Turner.

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It is aimed at customers wanting to burst workloads to the public cloud, for example, running analytics using cloud compute instances or machine learning workloads that have heavy central processing unit requirements at key phases.

What Zenko.io does not solve, however, is the issue of data portability. Data is held in each cloud in that cloud’s data format, and migrating data from that cloud to another is not an automatic process. This means data can potentially be trapped in a provider’s cloud or incur a cost to move it elsewhere.

Turner said Scality is working on the ability to drag and drop between clouds. “This doesn’t provide the answer to data portability between clouds. It provides the ability to read back with a single S3 call and to write to another cloud,” he said. “You could drag and drop between clouds, but not yet. We haven’t written that yet, but it could be extended to move, map and exchange data.”

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