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Every aspect of data storage, access, and management has changed in the last few years. The internet, high-speed networks, cloud, powerful mobile devices, and IoT have profoundly altered the ways in which data is created and consumed by users and applications. Digital transformation processes embraced by most organizations have further amplified the need for data to be accessible from anywhere, on any device, and at any time. This is an unstoppable trend, and traditional storage technologies are simply not up to the task. With access methods, protocols, parallelism, and scalability requirements that are often beyond the reach of these types of systems, enterprises need new solutions for building sustainable IT infrastructures and meeting ever-growing challenges.
Hybrid cloud is a key aspect of any modern IT strategy, and object storage is fundamental to building a data storage layer that spans across clouds. End users want to keep their freedom of choice between the flexibility of the public cloud and the cost predictability of on-premises infrastructures. After an initial acceleration towards the public cloud, in terms of data and application migrations, we now see a much more balanced approach, with some data that is repatriated and other data that is moved to the cloud depending on business, regulatory, and compliance needs.
In the past, organizations perceived object storage as a tactical way to save money with a secondary or tertiary storage tier. Unfortunately, the saving expectations fell short for several reasons including overall complexity, minimum system configurations to get a reasonable cost ($/GB), lack of third-party support, and so on. Things have radically changed in the last few years. Thanks to the success of cloud, new computing models, and data accessibility requirements imposed by new applications and devices, object storage has become an important component of modern IT infrastructures, especially those that are designed to provide a smooth hybrid cloud experience.
At the same time, primary storage concepts are changing to consider the importance and type of data being stored. Practically, this means that for some organizations, object-stores can be considered primary storage similar to a block storage array, if it is used by business and mission-critical applications. With technology advancements, increased capacity needs, the growing number of use cases, and the standardization of access methods, object storage is becoming the foundation layer for many applications and services. Choosing the right solution today, and getting ready to sustain future business needs, is fundamental to achieving overall infrastructure and application stack sustainability.