What is Object Storage and What to Look for in an Object Storage System


Unstructured data is growing at up to 60% per year and will make up 80% of all data on the planet by 2025. For this reason, object storage solutions are entering a new era of mainstream adoption and use. Object storage allows you to easily store large amounts of unstructured data in a highly scalable and cost-effective way, making it a logical choice for backup and archiving, data analytics, and large, active unstructured data sets.

What Are Objects?

In its simplest form, object storage is a storage system where data elements are stored in repositories called objects. Objects can be of variable size, and are not only defined by their content, but also by their metadata and a unique identifier. Metadata can include simple things like creation date and time, but also unique characteristics about the data and searchable summary information. In contrast to accessing a file name and location within a file system, an object is accessed by a unique identifier created when the object is created and then used to retrieve the object later.

Built for Scale

A key element of a well-designed object storage system is its ability to scale gracefully, to grow from small terabyte-scale configurations up to massive scale, supporting billions of objects and 100s of petabytes in capacity. To prevent bottlenecks, object storage requires a ‘scale-out’ software architecture. This provides an expandable flat name space to address billions of objects and allows computing, networking, and storage resources to expand as the system’s capacity grows to maintain performance.

Always Available Access

Objects stores are accessed over a standard Ethernet network in one of two ways, through API calls or HTTP/HTTPS requests, most commonly through software in the form of web-based applications, packaged and open-source software solutions, and custom-developed in-house applications and scripts. Today, most object stores are accessed via AWS S3, a de facto standard command set. Most notably, the S3 protocol runs securely over Ethernet, making it easy to integrate object storage into your computing environment and access your data from varying distances, across private networks, WANs, and the Internet.

Durability, Security, and Availability

Another key attribute of object storage is the emphasis in their design of data durability, security, and availability. With so much data being stored, it’s important that the system and data are always accessible, and data is securely stored and confidently retained over a long period of time, for years and sometimes, decades.

Object storage systems use erasure coding, a data protection technique superior to classic RAID and storage replication technologies. Erasure coding breaks an object up into many piece parts, called shards, then calculates and maintains multiple copies of parity information for these shards; the data shards and parity shards are then distributed across the underlying hardware infrastructure. This ensures continuity of data and data access in the case of a data loss, component failure, or a site disaster.

Not All Object Storage Systems Are the Same

While object storage systems have a lot of commonalities, it is also important that not all object storage systems are the same. For many systems, the concept of scale only extends to the terabyte range and reliability and availability capabilities don’t meet the needs of massive enterprise deployments.

Performance at scale. Whereas scalability is a key attribute promoted by many vendors, implementations can suffer as the system scales, causing painful, performance-crushing data rebalancing across system resources. This forces customers to manage a fleet of object storage systems despite their original goal of a simple, scalable solution.

Recommendation: Seek real-world references of customers that are running single name space instances that scale to at least a petabyte in scale, and even higher if your capacity requirements extend into 10’s or 100’s of petabytes.

Efficiency. A well-designed system should be manageable at any scale, from terabytes to exabytes, by a single administrator on a part-time basis.

Recommendation: Go beyond the demo to truly understand the system’s design and management toolset available. Bypass the downloadable UI-centric demoware to consider a ‘proof-of-concept’ deployment to validate the system design and applicability to your use case.

Proactive data protection. With the amount of the data you are storing, its security, availability, and protection against failure, is paramount.

Recommendation: Look for advanced proactive data integrity verification to guarantee data consistency over the long term and always-on, cloud-based monitoring to support your efforts.

An everlasting archive. Most object storage systems naturally grow over time and evolve to support additional use cases. The object storage solution you deploy is a key strategic asset for both mining and preserving your organization’s data assets for the long term.

Recommendation: Consider your object storage vendor as a strategic partner working with you to protect and extract value from your digital assets. Value vendor longevity and understand how well systems preserve your data and maintain data accessibility when transitioning to new generations of software and hardware.

About Quantum ActiveScale

Quantum ActiveScale is an enterprise-class object storage solution designed from the ground up for data durability, security, and availability of massive unstructured data sets and use cases ranging from terabytes to exabytes in scale. With S3 compatibility and an optimized two-layer storage architecture, ActiveScale simply and cost-effectively scales performance and capacity without bound in support of analytical workloads, active archiving, long term retention, and cold data storage. Learn more at: www.quantum.com/object-storage

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This Week at the Q


Welcome to another entry of ‘This Week at the Q’ and our top 5 highlights!

1. We have some great new explainer videos highlighting some key features of our ActiveScaleTM software that ensure data availability and integrity with a hands-off experience. Intelligent Dynamic Data Placement (DDP) and Dynamic Data Repair (DDR) are key to data’s long-term viability by monitoring data health and providing repair when errors are discovered. Learn more about DDP here and DDR here .

2. Customer success is always a favorite highlight in our week! This week we feature Canal Extremadura in Spain. As they made the transformation from a traditional radio and TV business to a modern multimedia corporation, they also needed to revamp a complex and aging IT infrastructure. Quantum collaborated and provided the content access and scalability needed for an evolving business.  Read more in Canal Extremadura’s case study here .


3. Check out this new case study from our partner, Chesa. Cortina Productions, located in the DC metro area, designs and produces multimedia experiences for museums, cultural institutions, visitor centers, and aquariums across the world. With 4D theaters, and AR and VR experiences, they’re on the forefront of technology. We’re proud to have partnered with Chesa to help manage Cortina’s data more efficiently and with improved accessibility to support their more complex projects and rapid growth.

4. Want to run a cloud-based application against data that StorNext® has stored in the cloud? Need access to that data from other sites? Looking to share files with business partners via the cloud? It’s all possible! Read more in this new blog from Dan Duperron.

5. Did you miss our pumpkin carving event? Learn from the master pumpkin carver from Maniac Pumpkin Carvers. You can check out the replay here – and enter our contest by posting your photos with hashtag #QuantumTransformedPumpkins. We will announce winners on social media!

quantum pumpkin image

Leave a comment if there are topics you’d like to see added to our weekly top 5 happenings!


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The Best Ransomware Protection Comes With Physical Layers

Archive Storage

For every ransomware attack we see in the news, there are hundreds of others that don’t get reported. Strains and cyber criminals have become increasingly insidious in their attempts to penetrate networks and take control of all digital assets, including backups. With a successful attack comes downtime, millions of dollars in revenue losses, and damaged reputation. Every time an organization pays for ransomware, more demand is created making recovery more complicated and time consuming.  Quantum has designed a solution to protect organizations against ransomware and enable fast recovery.

Like many others who have fallen victim to ransomware, they experienced many of the most common consequences, such as:

  • Loss of revenue, clients and trust
  • Damaged Reputation and Shaming
  • Paid large sums to attackers and incurred costs of recovery
  • Threat of data and privacy breach
  • Exposing clients and partners to ransomware threats as well as sensitive information that may lead to blackmail, loss of credibility, and compromised positions in society and market
  • Recovery may take a lot time, thus interrupting business and affecting operations for months and potentially years.

Bad actors are getting more invested in data theft and shaming tactics, including engaging in partnerships to produce larger more effective ransomware campaigns against your network and backup environments. The whole scheme is to eclipse any ability to recover and thus, payout the ransom. This means that you have the duty to understand the implications and to defend your network by eliminating their strength, which is the ability to spread a virus through network connected devices. However, if you only rely on your cyber security software or your cyber insurance policy to pay ransom, then you are leaving a big gap in your ransomware protection strategy.

Why not make tape’s offline copy part of your insurance policy? Today, disk is the de facto for ransomware recovery efforts, but it has several disadvantages, here are four:

  1. Backups will always remain online – high chance it will get compromised
  2. Expensive once you add up soft costs
  3. Disk solutions are not designed to protect backups against ransomware
  4. Network connected copies are always at risk; they are a bullseye for hackers

Disk is designed to be efficient, reduce footprint and meet your SLA requirements; For protection against ransomware, disk lacks the ability to truly airgap, so it remains vulnerable and accessible for criminals to encrypt, steal, and use it to your organization’s detriment. Cloud storage on the other hand, can be used as an offline service or “cold storage” but it comes with limitations:

  • No control of your data
  • Egress charges if you need access
  • Recovering from cloud can take weeks or months

It’s long past time for organization to have a true ransomware protection plan that includes an offline copy readily available on prem or in the cloud as part of an insurance policy.

Why Quantum and disk + tape (online and offline copies): Backup appliances like the DXi ® are purpose built appliances essential to meet your RPOs and RTOs, not only do you get ultra-fast performance and security with hardware based encryption technology, you also maximize savings with its ultra-dense drives to help you reduce footprint.  DXi also has a fine-tuned replication engine that enables multi-site DR protection. This means, that as soon as your data hits the DXi, it immediately begins to replicate data offsite and then to tape. Many customers do not want to wait to airgap tape. As soon as its done writing, they want to airgap it.

The complexity around tape is well known and Quantum’s Active Vault technology resolves those issues. It provides a solid and secure airgap for ransomware protection. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Offers True air-gap ransomware protection with offline in-library vault for onsite backups.
  • Archive, on-site, long-term vaulting, replaces external shelf storage
  • Backup, short-term vault prior to sending offsite
  • Removes the need of handling tapes
  • No network, host, or drive connectivity; Only admin account has visibility and access via multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Use of unlicensed slots make active vault very economical
  • Reliable and secure enhancements you can combine: Encryption AES 256-bit, WORM and MFA

Scalar libraries with its offline capabilities and active vault are the most secure, automated libraries in the market for ransomware protection; A virus cannot bypass a physical barrier formed between your data and the network. With a relatively low investment, the ransomware protection you get with the active vault feature is unmatched. No other provider has this level of security and automatization in their libraries. When a ransomware attack bypasses your security endpoints, chances are high your online copies will get compromised. This is where the offline copy can be your best last line of defense and your insurance policy. As you evaluate ransomware data protection strategies, think about the losses associated with a successful attack to your organization…Revenue, clients, reputation, etc.

Consider adding offline storage with active vault as an additional security layer for ransomware protection – It is the most cost-effective alternate solution to expensive disk or paying ransom that by the way, funds the criminal market that you are also protecting your data from.

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The Latest Buzz from the Front Lines of the Media Industry

Archive Storage

Those who have attended IBC in Amsterdam at some point in their career know that participating in the show is like briefly transplanting oneself into an alternate universe for 5 days.  What the rest of the world knows as Friday, Saturday, Sunday becomes IBC Day 1, IBC Day 2, IBC Day 3, etc.  Maneuvering between the massive halls of the RAI and trying to find obscure meeting rooms can be like navigating a small city (and without the help of GPS)!  And the amount of sleep one gets due to the post-exhibition activity is probably most akin to a weekend in Las Vegas.

All of that, however, is a small price to
pay for the wealth of benefits and opportunity that can be had while attending
the media industry’s biggest conference outside America. From an efficiency
standpoint, it’s fairly impossible to outmatch the density of meetings one can have
with customers and partners in such a short timeframe. This year this that was
especially true as our Quantum team had our meeting rooms constantly full, not
to mention a packed partner event on the opening day. 

Latest Trends Taking Shape

The other primary benefit is that being at
the show is an outstanding opportunity to learn about where the industry is
going, as well as how these trends are taking shape in the challenges the
vendor community will need to solve next. Given their importance, I think these
are certainly worth sharing – so in no particular order, here are the trends
that seemed to be most topical at the show:

Jason Coari CSI Magazine Awards IBC 2019
Goran Nastic (editor at CSI Magazine), Jason Coari and Paolo Pescatore accepting CSI Magazine’s ‘Best Data Storage Solution’ award at IBC 2019.

of Video

As video has become the dominant communications platform across the world, and is on track to make up more than 80% of the world’s data, both traditional media and non-traditional media organizations are finding themselves in the middle of the evolution to constantly be producing video content. One effect of this transformation means production timelines are shortening and distribution channels are broadening. All meaning that organizations need more sophisticated and flexible storage solutions to support the creation of an immense amount of compelling content. 


Just the day before the show began, Disney
had announced an agreement with Microsoft to do post-production in Microsoft
Azure. This move could certainly be a sign of things to come and is exciting with
the flexibility it could offer those organizations creating content, as well as
efficiencies it could offer by doing more work closer to where the data resides.
At Quantum we are keenly aware of this trend, which is why we are investing in StorNext to
facilitate all stages of the media workflow whether it’s on-premise,
off-premise, or any combination of the two.

to IP

What was a hot topic at NAB continued to be a hot topic at IBC – and it’s easy to see why.  From lower capital costs to more rapid deployment and streamlined operations, placing massive importance on transitioning to an all-IP based infrastructure.” This is why all the products that Quantum has launched over the past year are optimized to provide maximum performance across Ethernet networking. 


The fact that this was discussed so broadly
was somewhat surprising. However, as customers shared the benefits of doing
more production onsite, the fact that it’s becoming a bigger trend became more
apparent. Quantum actually has solid experience here working with companies
like The Rebel
– an innovative post-production team doing onsite production in the
mountains of New Zealand. We also recently launched our R-Series
ruggedized storage system to further facilitate these types of use cases. Could
this become more mainstream in the months to come? I wouldn’t be surprised….

IMG 8039

So that’s a wrap on the top trends from IBC
2019. In closing, I’d like to give one final kudos to the entire Quantum
product and engineering team that had anything to do with designing and
building our F-Series .
The product picked up two more awards at the show and is on track to become the
media industry’s de facto standard for ultra-performance NVMe-based storage. And
stay tuned for some exciting developments in this space over the coming months,
as their work is just getting started!  

To view our Partner blog, click here

How Advanced User Interfaces Are Becoming Increasingly Important to Both Viewers of Immersive Content and The Organizations Providing It

Cloud Services

Last week, I had the privilege of participating in a panel session entitled Future Production Trends: 8K, HDR, and AI in front of a packed auditorium at the Sports Tech Innovation Forum (organized by the brilliant BroadcastTech team)At the end of the session, an interesting question came up from the audience that asked the following:  Given how hard technology vendors and broadcasters are working to provide their viewers with immersive content that puts them as close to the action as possible, are these same entities also making sure to provide their audiences all the tools necessary to easily find the content and configure the best experience on their home devices? 

Essentially, the question was focused around the user interface for the consumer.  Andy Beale, Chief Engineer at BT Sport, answered confidently that it is indeed something that BT is constantly thinking about for their viewers, but that BT needed to continually work closely with the vendor community to make sure this aspect was not only being thought through, but also resourced. In many ways, it was the kind of answer I believe the audience member was hoping for.

What I found most interesting is this question and response is closely aligned to a development stream that Quantum has been heavily investing in over the past year; not only is an efficient and modern UI important for the home consumer, it’s just as important to support the advanced operations of our customers. In fact, the development of more advanced GUIs is becoming more important than ever as we strive to provide transparency between what technology can do, and what we actually ask it to do.  And as technology ecosystems are becoming more heterogeneous, they are simultaneously becoming more interdependent, so having a unified management interface is even more critical.

Double-clicking down on this thought,
let’s transition to the practical implementation of the above as it relates to
helping organizations more efficiently manage their storage

This week we are launching the latest
release of our award-winning file system, StorNext 6.3.1. In addition to a
number of small improvements to make the file system operate even more
smoothly, we are also improving its capability to manage offline files. 
With Offline File Manager 2.0, in addition to giving users the ability to
directly truncate and archive files, users can now see what specific tier of
storage a file or directory resides in.  This significantly helps users be
more efficient by adding further clarity around file retrieval times, and also
provides IT staff an automated mechanism to better manage user expectations.  

StorNext is not the only Quantum
technology that is receiving attention within this context, next month we are also
launching important improvements to our ultra-fast F-Series NVME storage
arrays.  Now more than ever F-Series systems will be easier to deploy and
manage thanks to an intuitive GUI that can control a wide-array of storage
operations such as health monitoring of multiple system components, creating
RAID sets, and configuring storage networks.  Furthermore, F-Series now
supports Quantum’s Cloud Based Analytics software, so both administrators and
Quantum support can remotely monitor F-Series storage for even greater levels
of autonomy and uptime.   

Both of these latest enhancements
should be of tremendous help to IT professionals — a group of individuals
often under tremendous pressure to support a growing number of users – as well
as the organizations they work for in being able to better manage more
complexity across their storage environments.

To learn more about all that StorNext
and F-Series can do for your business, visit Quantum.com or contact us directly

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