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IBM buys Cleversafe to provide object storage capabilities

IBM spends an undisclosed sum on object storage market leader Cleversafe in a move that gives it object storage hardware and distributed storage for Big Blue's cloud services

IBM has gained object storage capability with the acquisition of object storage provider Cleversafe for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see IBM gain Cleversafe’s intellectual property (IP) in object storage software and appliances.

The acquisition will be integrated into the IBM Cloud business unit where the technology will be used with IBM’s SoftLayer and the SoftLayer Object Storage services platforms, as well as IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform as a service.

Presumably, Cleversafe products will also be offered as an on-premises system to customers. IBM had been the only one of the top six storage suppliers without an object storage hardware offering.

The CleverSafe portfolio is aimed at big data, archiving, cloud and multi-tenant environments, with three types of appliance that handle management operations, front-end requests from applications and storage nodes.

Access is via a Rest application programming interface (API) and Amazon S3, but file access (NFS and Cifs) can be provided via a third-party gateway.

The system is inherently multi-site, with data slices stored in multiple locations to aid resilience. Cleversafe uses erasure coding, with its information dispersal algorithms separating data into slices distributed across the network. No single copy of the data resides in one place and only a subset of the nodes is required to fully retrieve a copy.

Scalability is addressed by adding more storage nodes and maximum capacity is claimed to be limitless.

Object storage is gaining in prominence and popularity as storage for large volumes of unstructured files, in particular as a method of supplying storage for public and private clouds.

Object storage organises the storage of data according to unique identifiers similar to the domain name system (DNS) of the internet. It’s a “flat” structure, as opposed to the tree-like file system structure of traditional file storage, which can become unwieldy and create performance issues at very high volumes of files.

Cleversafe has been positioned by analysts IDC as one of the two market leaders, along with Scality. Cleversafe has an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) deal with Hewlett-Packard, but that will presumably now cease.

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