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"It's still in some ways an early market," Woodall said. "There's lots of startups."
Traditional RAID-based scale-up storage systems are good for storage capacities of hundreds of gigabytes, or maybe a few petabytes, Woodall said. However, as customers' unstructured data files or large structured data files continue to grow, the importance of object-based storage grows.
"For example, in the medical field, you can have an object store around records, including information on who can access the data, when it's accessed, what the insurance is," he said. "Your doctor might see the X-rays and test results in the record, but the claims processor may only see the billing data. That data can be tuned for different retention periods or data protection solutions. The records also need metadata to classify the different parts, to make copies, or to replicate it based on policies. That's not traditional storage."
Several vendors offer scale-out file-based and object-based storage technology, Nadkarni said.
On the file-based storage side there are such vendors as EMC Isilon, NetApp Cluster Mode, HP Ibrix and Red Hat's Gluster technology. Object-based storage providers include Data Direct Networks, Scality, Cleversafe, Amplidata and EMC Atmos, he said.
"But the biggest chunk of object-based storage is the self-build companies including Amazon and Google, which accounts for 90 [percent] to 95 percent of all object-based storage," he said. "When Amazon and Google build their cloud, they build with petabytes and petabytes in mind."
PUBLISHED AUG. 8, 2013