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Jersey-based cloud services provider Calligo has deployed a tier of object storage from Cloudian to supplement its Solidfire-based flash storage capacity. The move comes in response to customer demand for object storage-based services that are compatible with Amazon S3 and other major cloud providers’ application programming interfaces (APIs) and protocols.
It has about 70 customers worldwide, of which half are in the financial and legal sectors. It sells these customers datacentre resources such as storage, RAM and CPU, which clients manage from a single self-service Amazon Web Services-like screen.
All data had, for the most part, been held on Solidfire all-flash arrays – about 0.5PB in total – until Calligo customers started to demand object storage.
“We realised that we needed to be able to offer a tier of object storage,” said Calligo’s chief digital officer, Tom Hacquoil. “Customers were asking about it, specifically those that care where data is held and which might otherwise have been customers of Amazon or other cloud providers.
“There was one customer, for example, that had built its apps from the ground up for object storage, and was probably looking at Amazon or an equivalent product.”
Calligo has deployed three Cloudian nodes to its Hyperstore product on Lenovo hardware. Currently, Cloudian comprises a very small proportion of Calligo’s storage, but it plans to roll out the object storage tier to all its global datacentres.
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Cloudian is object storage based on the Apache Cassandra open source distributed database. It can come as storage software that customers can deploy on commodity hardware to create a peer-to-peer private cloud with multi-tenancy functionality that allows access to many users while looking like their own domain.
It is accessed via the network file system (NFS) file access protocol and provides interfaces to Amazon S3 and other cloud services that can be used as a tier of storage off-premise.
Object storage is an emerging method of data retention. It doesn’t aim to compete with the highest performance block and file storage methods, but is well suited to large volumes of unstructured and, in some cases, such as with Cloudian, structured data.
In place of the traditional tree-like file system structure, object storage uses a flat structure, with files given unique identifiers, something like the domain name system (DNS) on the internet. Those identifiers also contain metadata that allows for indexing of searches and data that can be interrogated for analysis purposes.
Calligo only looked at one alternative object storage product, Nexenta Edge.
Hacquoil said: “On evaluation, Cloudian was the better product for us. We have our own cloud management portal, and integration is a lot tighter with Cloudian. Also, compatibility with Amazon S3 was key for us. It eases migration to our cloud for people who have used S3.”