A Look Into IBM’s Cloud Object Storage

IBM has set a high standard for cloud storage with its new service called Cloud Object Storage. This service allows organizations to store any amount of unstructured data on their own servers, in the cloud, or in any combination, at one of the lowest rates in the cloud storage market today.  This service will be available from October 13th, 2016 in the US, and from April 1, 2017 in Europe.

This service is built on a technology called SecureSlice that combines encryption, erasure coding, and geographical dispersal of data. Encryption is a technology where messages are encoded in such a way that only those who are authorized can view this message. Erasure coding is also a way of securing the data. This technology breaks the data down into different segments, expands them, and finally encodes them with redundant data pieces. These data fragments are then stored across different geographical locations or across different devices. This method is particularly useful to reconstruct corrupted data, and in this sense, they are a better replacement for RAID systems, as the time and overhead needed to reconstruct data is greatly reduced. Lastly, geographic dispersal of data is the method by which data is spread across different locations for greater security and redundancy. IBM acquired the SecureSlice technology when it bought a company called CleverSafe last year for $1.3 billion.

There are multiple options available for users with respect to storage. One option called Cross Regional Service, allows users to send their treated data to three separate cloud regions located in different parts of the world, while another option, called Regional Service, allows users to store in multiple data centers located within the same region. Regardless of which choice customers make, their data will be made secure and redundant with SecureSlice technology.

With this service and its many options, IBM has extended the SecureSlice technology to hybrid clouds too, thereby giving customers more flexibility and scalability, without compromising on their control over in-house infrastructure. This product comes at a time when the IDC has predicted that hybrid cloud architecture would be adopted by more than 80% of enterprises by 2018. IBM has made a strategic move by acquiring CleverSafe and extending it to a hybrid cloud environment to tap into this growing market.

In terms of cost too, this service is likely to be a good deal for customers. IBM claims that this service costs 25 percent less than Amazon Web Services S3 storage service. Also, it believes that many customers who are already using IBM’s cloud services would be willing to adopt this technology. According to Russ Kennedy, VP Product strategy, users who run apps on Amazon Web Services can also use this service to store their data, as it supports the S3 interface. The same applies to OpenStack Swift customers too, as Cloud Object Storage supports this API as well.

This service has already been deployed at a few early-adopter companies, and many more are expected to adopt it in the next few months.

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