Scale-Out Architecture – How Object Storage Improves Scalability

Posted by Dave Bratton, Vice President of Service Delivery
March 8, 2017

Traditional storage protocols are built on a ‘scale-up’ protocol while today, a ‘scale-out’ architecture using object storage is fast becoming part of today’s modern data center architectures.

Our object storage partner, Cloudian, recently posted a great blog, “Scale-Up vs. Scale-Out Storage: What’s the Difference?” that’s worth highlighting.

With the ‘scale-up’ protocol inherent in most traditional RAID storage schemes, you have a couple of controllers and multiple shelves of drives. When you run out of storage space, you simply add more drives. But this creates scalability roadblocks when it comes to big data and IoT. Eventually, adding more and more systems becomes unsustainable and cost prohibitive.

Conversely, object storage ‘scale-out’ systems use a multi-node system.  Each “node” is a rack-mounted server filled with internal disks.  None of the disks use RAID protection. Each disk is formatted and controlled by the object store as an individual place to store objects. By design, nodes are spread out across multiple data centers to provide protection in case of a complete site failure. Unlike hierarchically stored data, object storage enables the number of stored items to grow beyond the limits of traditional storage systems, while still maintaining the integrity and consistency of the data.

As Cloudian points out:

RAID cannot be used to provide protection against drive failure in a multi-node architecture, so a similar implementation called RAIN is used. RAIN is Redundant Array of Independent Nodes and provides similar data protection capabilities to RAID within a disk-based storage system. In this case, RAIN protects against an entire node failing rather than just individual disks. 

Improved scalability helps object storage lower costs, reduce complexity, and improve resource allocation, but also improves data protection. By design, any object store protects every piece of data placed on it.  No other backup or copy of the data needs to occur.  Objects are intrinsically fully protected. 

For more information on object storage, visit the following blog posts:

 

About Dave Bratton Throughout his 20-year career in IT operations, Dave Bratton has helped companies transform at key junctures using his extensive knowledge of enterprise infrastructure management and IT economics. As the Director of Service Delivery at ASG, Dave develops strategic, five-year plans that help companies develop operational and technological innovations.

Filed Under: Data Storage

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