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There’s no disputing it: object storage powers, scales and enables some of the largest public cloud deployments around the globe. As it becomes even more valuable, object storage in the cloud era is becoming akin to network-attached storage (NAS) in the client-server era. But for IT decision makers recognizing the growing impact of object storage, a major dilemma has emerged: which of these systems should you use to build a private cloud?

While we’d never suggest pulling your past investments in NAS or forgoing it for file-oriented use, next-generation private clouds will require a software-defined approach—built on an object storage platform.

So why object storage—and a software-defined object storage platform, specifically—when it comes to growing your private cloud? Here are five reasons:

1. Improve the Availability of Applications

While object storage is multi-tenant by definition—and therefore more compatible with private cloud demands—NAS is not. Object storage in a software-defined environment is typically more forgiving of component failure, allowing for the use of commodity servers and the longevity of components without failing. NAS, on the other hand, is anything but forgiving. One of its inherent challenges lies in component failure: application connections can be interrupted, causing extensive application downtime.

Additionally, object storage helps facilitate the transition towards an IT-as-a-Service model by enabling your applications to consume storage as a utility, on-demand. Object storage allows administrators to scale and rebalance data over time, at any pace. With this automated storage provisioning, data can be distributed evenly and is safe from disruption.

2. Enhance Durability

Because of object storage’s inherent fault tolerance, a single, unified storage (for unstructured data) environment has become a reality. If one site is disabled, the data can be immediately accessed from elsewhere. Building applications around the storage environment allows IT professionals to rest easier and trust in the object storage’s disaster recovery capabilities.

3. Enable Limitless Scalability

As Enterprise Storage Forum puts it, “scalability is the rallying cry of object storage advocates.” This precious scalability is enabled by a combination of automation, continuous protection — fueled by replication or erasure coding — and the lack of a traditional file system. But as the amount of data in the storage ecosystem grows, NAS systems are under more pressure to keep up. File-based systems must be managed, rebuilt and maintained, hiking up costs and continuing a siloed approach that defeats the purpose of a private cloud environment.

4. Simplify Manageability

When using a NAS solution, IT professionals are forced to keep track of all resources, managed silos and provision resources to monitor growth and demand changes. Object storage is different: active management allows for usage across the entire system, adding capacity and provisioning resources.

Deploying your object storage platform in a software-defined model simplifies manageability even further. By abstracting and separating the management layer from both the access layer and the actual storage device, you’re given an omniscient view of your entire storage system.

5. Reduce Costs

As unstructured data continues to grow, software-defined object storage will offer businesses another added bonus: cost savings. Traditional NAS systems are simply not cost-efficient. NAS’ scale-out versions incrementally increase costs in devices, controllers and ongoing management, making them ineffective for scaling cloud environments successfully.

Software-defined object storage, on the other hand, drives down costs in its architecture. In many solutions, commodity hardware serves as the basis platform and offers incremental scalability to avoid any resource waste. Object storage also leverages one platform for a range of uses, preventing any over-allocation, and automatic provisioning reduces operational costs. Plus, disaster recovery is built-in, so no extra storage silos are necessary.

While there are certainly some use cases for NAS and SAN storage solutions, like in transactional environments, software-defined object storage offers a host of inherent benefits. With a truly object-based system, your IT department can take advantage of increased freedom, manageability and scalability, helping build a successful storage program for years to come.

Interested in learning more about Object Storage vs. NAS? Check out our whitepaper.

About Author

Mario Blandini

Mario Blandini

Mario is a technology & marketing enthusiast, a Swift lover, and an overall fan of disruption. Taking great pleasure as VP of Marketing at SwiftStack, he is also a storage marketing veteran from HGST, Drobo, and Brocade. Mario also deployed infrastructure in technical roles at Rhapsody Networks (now Brocade), Sanrise (now EMC), Adaptec, and the United States Marine Corps.