How’s That Cloud Working for You?

So object storage is something you might want to explore, but there are alternatives.  Why not just outsource the storage infrastructure to someone else getting what you need at a lower cost? 


Cloud Storage versus Object Storage

As the content tide continues to rise, many are wondering if cloud storage is the answer for holding their assets for the long haul.  The concept of cloud storage seems compelling; load the data and forget it.  Let the cloud provider figure out what storage to use, how to migrate the data from old infrastructures to new ones.  Let them deal with securing the data over the years.  After all, that’s what you’re going to pay them for.  And the cost will be pennies compared to what you would pay internally, right?

Let’s look at a few things; yes, cloud storage IS object storage.  You deliver data to the cloud and you get back a URL (your object storage “claim check”) that brings you back to that content.  Sounds simple, but what about the metadata?  You’ll still need a MAM system to manage all of the metadata that helps you find the specific content you need.  If you want to have the cloud provider host your MAM system, they may do that, but at another cost. 

Plus, you have to budget the cost of access to the cloud.  Many providers charge a transport fee to transfer data into and out of their cloud service (some don’t, but that cost will probably be factored into your fees somewhere – businesses don’t just give things away).

Then you have to ask yourself how much you risk handing your data to another company.  Will they value it as you do?  Can you really expect them to stay in business as long as you do?

On October 1, 2013, Nirvanix announced it was closing its doors.  Many media companies were told that they had two weeks to pull all of their data out of the system before it would be shut down (petabytes of it, too).  If customers could not accomplish the transfer in time, it was assumed that there were other copies of the data somewhere else as back up (maybe not the best assumption). 

How would your company deal with such an announcement?  Do you have the resources to make such a transition in so short a time frame?  A storage alternative?  And how do you update a MAM system with all of the new locational data, assuming that the MAM system was not also hosted by the same provider?  What if you had created your own private cloud storage system using object storage? 

Now there’s a thought!  You must remember that regardless of the ultimate storage destination, you will need to maintain ownership and control of your organization's data or you risk losing the life blood of your media business.  Building your own private content cloud using object storage would give you continuity over the archive effort by controlling the environment.  Plus you’ll probably save money by using your own networking and personnel.  And, as you probably guessed, NetApp can help you build what you need.

I know that the service providers you are considering to support your content workflows are major global businesses with the financial power to weather any storm.  While that may be the case,  you can’t dictate the business models, processes, and operations of another company, regardless of how big and powerful you are, especially if the provider is big and powerful, too.  They will offer a service that fits most customers, but customized offerings and SLAs will be hard to negotiate. 

But you can always to control your own operations and an internal cloud based on object storage may be one very good option. 

Just something to think about.

BTW:  Did you miss our informational webinar of "Object Storage in Media and Entertainment" on October 18th?

You can watch the recordinging here:

Also, Get your free copy of "Object Storage for Dummies" here:



Cloud storage providers should reach a level of public trust by means of national and international policies and regulations, just like banks; after all a bank is nothing else than a "money cloud".

madaniel Netapp Alumni

Agreed, but that kind of media related regulation will be hard to come by up here in the USA, if not impossible.  I think that media companies will have to remain cautious and examine each service provider in detail before the commit to anyone.  The business risk is too great to go with someone who just saves you money.  Service providers need to add value to your business that you cannot add yourself in a cost effective manner.  And they need to be able to adapt as your business needs change (that's the hard part). 

Thanks for your comment!