Cloud Object Storage: An Engine of Change to Solve the Myriad Challenges

by September 1, 2017 0 comments

A few years ago, storing large data was a big trouble, but technology not only offers huge capacity drives to store a massive amount of data, also enables flexibility to access them from any corner of the globe. Cloud storage came as a boon to several industries and growing further to enhance the efficiency.


We spoke to Vikas Arora, Country Manager, Cloud Business, IBM India and South Asia, about the IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS), which is based on a simple object storage approach that efficiently stores billions of data objects in a single flat namespace and exposes the data through a REST interface using the HTTP-based protocol.


What tech innovations makes you a preferable choice in competition to your competitors in the market?

Vikas Arora, Country Manager, Cloud Business, IBM India and South Asia

Vikas Arora, Country Manager, Cloud Business, IBM India and South Asia

Waves of technological innovation are transforming entire industries and creating new business models, with a proliferation of data serving as both catalyst and outcome. Research tells us that 90% of all data that are stored in various repositories were created in the last two years. And with the explosion in video, social media, voice and text, the growth is predicted to grow exponentially.


In the information age, data is gold. But as with everything, it comes with its own set of challenge. As data continue to grow, even the biggest IT companies will have to grapple with higher costs for data storage. The traditional methods that have worked till now – on premise and public cloud – have its own strengths and weaknesses. The new Cloud Object Storage solution addresses the weaknesses and offers a solution that helps enterprises manage data storage requirements while ensuring that productivity and cost considerations are optimally balanced.


The dynamic data storage solution from IBM gives enterprises the option to choose a hybrid cloud model, with both on-premise and public cloud. More importantly, cloud object will help enterprises categorize their data according to the frequency with which they are required by employees. Three categories have been identified – frequently accessed (hot data), infrequently accessed (warm data) and rarely accessed (cold data). Based on the frequency, further reductions on costing are available to the patrons.


The flexibility of deployment options with the consistency of technology makes IBM’s cloud object storage offering unique among the solutions available today.


As IBM has a strong hold in the cloud business, could you please explain what technological development you have done this year so far or planning?


The role of the cloud is changing – it is maturing. It is now the platform for innovation and business value. IBM’s strategy is to become the undisputed leader in enterprise cloud.  The first phase of the cloud hinged on the cost benefit, the second wave is all about innovation. IBM has worked exponentially to grow its cloud platform and deliver higher value capabilities to clients around the globe. To this end, IBM has built nearly 60 data centres across 19 countries that customers can tap into.


Over the course of the last year, IBM has worked to cloud-enable all of its portfolio, right from IoT to cognitive technologies, Watson, and the latest technology that is predicted to bring in an unprecedented change in the way transactions are enabled on the World Wide Web, blockchain. With the help of cloud, IBM has ushered in the “as-a-service” era where all new technology solutions are available on the go to enterprises and the entrepreneur to take advantage of, to drive business growth.


Building the cloud as a platform for innovation has unleashed the true potential and amplified the benefits of its computing prowess. With Watson and blockchain over the cloud, we will see newer solutions that will help tackle the biggest challenges that we face today in the fields of education, transportation, finance, security, health among others.


How are you helping your consumers preserve and protect their digital assets and challenges you facing today?


Storing, preserving, and protecting digital assets is becoming one of the significant challenges faced by IT today. For IBM, Cloud data security has been a top priority, whether the cloud is on-premises, off-premises or a hybrid. The dynamic nature of cloud means one needs a more automated, agile and elastic approach than traditional security measures.


The solutions on offer from IBM provides a framework to effectively address issues of threat protection, visibility, access controls and policy enforcement and covers the gamut from enterprise security to mobile, government, retail, hospitality, transportation, banking et al. IBM also has the availability of Watson – the industry’s first augmented intelligence technology to combat security threats following rigorous education and beta testing in 2016. IBM cloud security capabilities help

  • Manage access- Enable governance and policy enforcement, strong identity and access controls, and fraud prevention
  • Protect data- Secure app development, protect databases, volumes, and shares, and prevent internal and external threats
  • Anomalies, threats, activities- Monitor activities and audit trails, engage real-time threat intelligence and alerting, and check health
  • Gain visibility – Monitor cloud usage and utilize advanced security analytics to identify risky behaviors, potential breaches and policy violations


Unstructured data is one of the biggest challenges, how your IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) is tackling with it?


The growth of technologies and smartphones has unleashed the information and data generation. And it is said that the size of the digital universe will double every two years. However, most the data that we currently have, 80% of it, is unstructured. Sitting in our mobile phones, laptops, various electronic devices.


At the enterprise level, use of video, and voice technologies have led to the increase of data. With the help of cloud storage, enterprises were able to balance the growth in data with that of the business needs. But given the kind of computing and terabyte sized videos, data is becoming an important cost factor for enterprises. This rapid rate of growth means many organizations now face the prospect of operating at their storage infrastructure at web-scale: the scale of the size and complexity only previously experienced by other cloud service providers. As the organization’s data storage needs cross the petabyte threshold, a completely new approach to storage infrastructure and data management is needed.


This is where IBM’s Cloud Object Storage has come to the rescue for many organizations; rather than look at data as a static entity, IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) looks at how data storage costs can be further rationalized depending on the usage patterns. The flexibility of deployment options with the consistency of technology is what makes IBM’s cloud object storage offering unique. On IBM Cloud, ICOS is available in different flavors suited for different workloads:


  • Standard offering: Suited for storing unstructured data requires frequent access to DevOps, collaboration, active content repositories.
  • Vault offering: Suited for storing infrequently accessed unstructured data such as backup & archive data
  • Flex Offering: Capped for retrieval charges if the customer is accessing the data frequently. This is unique in the market.


To achieve similar dispersed storage on other leading clouds, customers would have to invoke a “replication” technique to create a second copy of the data in a separate region, which they would have to manage. IBM Cloud Object Storage does not require replication techniques or complex configurations, making it fast and efficient to meet cloud data storage needs.


As India is a diverse market, so are the requirements, how are you tackling with this?


The flexibility and agility that the cloud offers are very favorable to the next generation of cloud-based services, which are a platform for innovation. The cloud is transitioning from being means to save capital to an enabler of disruptive innovation. In a way, it is making a developer, the agent of innovation. As you rightly pointed out, India is a diverse market. We have a well-defined enterprise segment across industry domains and also one of the largest pool of developers in the world working for some of the largest system integrators in the country and helping clients transform. With the kind of local and global innovations being driven out of our research centers, India is already a major player in the next generation of the cloud.


Looked at in totality, IBM offers the most comprehensive solution stack available today when it comes to cloud computing. This is also a reason why IBM also became the first enterprise-tech vendor to surpass $15 billion in fully recognized cloud revenue for a 12-month period, ending June 30 as announced recently.


Cloud has become an engine of change. It is the platform through which enterprises and developers are innovating and building solutions to solve the myriad challenges. However, the needs of the enterprise and that of enterprises in different sector differ from each other, as it does from that of the developer. IBM has a well-developed solution suite that caters to specific segments to address pain points, at the most optimal level. Cloud Object Storage is one such example addressing a specific requirement of businesses everywhere grappling with the rapid surge in data.

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