Palo Alto-based Minio recently announced the general availability of an object storage server designed for cloud-based environments. Minio empowers developers to store unstructured data in private and public cloud environments using a distributed object storage server featuring erasure code and bitrot detection capabilities. Minio’s ability to store massive volumes of unstructured data gives developers access to object storage with functionality analogous to Amazon S3 that can be extended to other cloud providers such as Digital Ocean and Packet. The platform boasts compatibility with Amazon S3, advanced data protection functionality and support for Lambda functions that automate the execution of scripts that operate on incoming or existing datasets. Available under an Apache version 2.0 license, Minio has been embraced by open source communities such as Mesos, Docker and Kubernetes that recognize its product differentiation as represented by its open source cloud-native architecture and streamlined deployment functionality. The company’s open source object storage platform claims over 125K code contributions and widespread deployment as a Docker container. The announcement of Minio’s general availability as a distributed object storage server marks a milestone in its evolution that builds upon its early adoption success and emergence as a key player in the cloud-native object storage space. Expect Minio’s adoption to continue expanding, particularly in light of its general availability announcement and deepening specialization in the delivery of cloud-native object storage solutions for massive quantities of unstructured data.
Cloud Computing Today recently spoke with Jon Gacek, CEO of Quantum, about the demands that the proliferation of video-based data imposes on the storage needs of Quantum’s customers. As noted below, Mr. Gacek elaborated on the way in which increasing volumes of video-based data creates special challenges for customers that are driving them to seek storage solutions with the performance, scalability, data retention, automation and indexing capabilities specific to Quantum and its partners.
Cloud Computing Today Question #1: How do you envision the effect of trends in the usage of IP video traffic on the storage industry?
Jon Gacek, (CEO, Quantum) Response #1: The increasing amount of video is creating greater storage demands, including the need to ingest larger files at high speeds, to retain that data cost effectively for long periods of time and to ensure the data can be easily accessed and shared for collaboration, analysis and re-monetization or other reuse. All of this creates new opportunities for the storage industry to help customers. However, as video transitions from HD to 4K and even higher resolutions, general-purpose storage companies are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the performance demands associated with storing and managing such data. As a result, customers are turning to storage providers like Quantum that can offer specialized solutions optimized for video workflows.
Cloud Computing Today Question #2: What challenges does the storage industry face in relation to the rise of corporate video?
Jon Gacek, (CEO, Quantum) Response #2: As is the case with video, generally, the rise of corporate video creates new data storage and management challenges for customers and opportunities for specialized storage providers to help them meet those challenges. A key element of this is understanding that the customer looking for a corporate video solution often isn’t in IT. For example, it may be a marketing leader trying to leverage video assets across multiple platforms and channels to drive greater brand awareness or promote a new product. They don’t have time to become a video storage expert, but they also want to maintain control of their video rather than depend on an already over-burdened IT department. This means they want solutions that are easy to use, include a high level of automation and cost as little as possible. And it’s this cost factor that makes the ability to offer tiered storage solutions such a differentiator in the storage industry. Moving video data off expensive primary storage to lower-cost disk, object storage, tape or cloud tiers can result in significant savings. At the same time, it’s critical that the storage system be able to keep track of where that data resides and provide ready access to it when needed.
Cloud Computing Today Question #3: How will the storage industry tackle the problem of indexing unstructured data (such as a notable moment within a soccer video that might be untagged because it is unrelated to a goal, for example)?
Jon Gacek, (CEO, Quantum) Response #3: It’s definitely true that being able to add structure to unstructured data through analytics and indexing enables you to get much greater value out of your data. In the video space, there are a number of companies that provide such capabilities. In fact, we have a partner with some great technology that provides high-speed automated video and image search. You identify the image or kind of shot you’re looking for, and the system can search through massive amounts of data incredibly fast to deliver the results – hours of video can be searched in minutes. This has a wide range of applications, from the sports video example you referenced to government intelligence and counterterrorism to video surveillance. Video surveillance is also a good example of how technology is enabling benefits beyond those originally envisioned for crime prevention and prosecution. For example, municipalities are now using it to monitor and analyze activities at ports to identify ways to increase logistics efficiencies, and retailers are analyzing the data they get from in-store cameras to understand shopping patterns and how the placement of goods can be optimized to increase sales and bolster customer retention. However, none of this is possible unless you have the underlying storage infrastructure that can handle the special demands of managing, preserving and delivering video data.
Red Hat, provider of open source enterprise software solutions, announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal to acquire the online storage company Gluster for $136 million. Gluster was founded in 2005 with the objective of objective of leveraging open source software and commodity hardware to provide enterprise customers with public and private cloud based storage solutions. Gluster FS constitutes the core of Gluster’s offering in the form of a distributed file system that can scale to thousands of client terminals and petabytes of storage. Gluster competes with Sun Microsystem’s open source Lustre file system and IBM’s General Parallel File System. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, the company currently has over 100 enterprise customers including Box.net, the personalized internet radio service Pandora and Deutsche Bank AG.
Red Hat’s acquisition of Gluster means that the commercial Linux distributor enters the $4 billion market for unstructured data storage. More importantly, the deal gives Red Hat the opportunity to define baseline standards for enterprise level management of unstructured data such as emails, log files and documents. Speaking of Red Hat’s motivations for the acquisition, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens remarked:
The explosion of big data and the new paradigm of cloud computing are converging, forcing IT to re-think storage investments that are cost-effective, manageable and scale for the future. Our customers are looking for software-based storage solutions that manage their file-based data on-premise, in the cloud and bridging between the two.
With unstructured data growth (such as log files, virtual machines, email, audio, video and documents), the 90’s paradigm of forcing everything into expensive, single-system DBMS residing on an internal corporate SAN has become unwieldy and impractical.
Stevens indicates how the proliferation of unstructured data at the enterprise level renders cloud based solutions increasingly attractive and viable. Whereas Red Hat excels with open source open source operating systems, virtualization and cloud computing platforms such as CloudForms and OpenShift, its acquisition of Gluster fills a critical infrastructure need involving the management of on premise data in the cloud.
Gluster founder and CTO Anand Babu Periasamy commented on the synergies of the acquisition by noting: “We believe this is a perfect combination of technologies, strategies and cultures and is a great development for our customers, employees, investors and community. Gluster started off with a goal to be the Red Hat of storage. Now, we are the storage of Red Hat.” Red Hat acquired Gluster for $136 million in cash. As part of the acquisition, Red Hat will assume ownership of unvested Gluster equity and offer equity retention incentives to Gluster’s employees.