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Smaller Scale Object Storage Solutions Cut Back Costs

With smaller object storage solutions, healthcare organizations can take advantage of the technology without taking on a massive infrastructure commitment.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- IBM announced new capabilities for its on-premise customers to manage compliance data with object storage. The new features make the cloud object storage system more accessible.

The IBM Cloud Object Storage System is targeted at regulated industries – such as healthcare - that depend heavily on the public cloud. Healthcare has strict regulations that limit the number of choices an organization has for data storage.

Object storage manages data as objects instead of files or blocks. Objects are kept in a storage pool that does not have a hierarchical structure.

Instead, object storage uses unique identifiers that allow data to be stored anywhere in the storage pool. Storing data using object storage gives healthcare organizations more possibilities for data analytics and offers a scalable infrastructure.

Healthcare organizations face data storage and retrieval challenges because of the demand for instantly available data while still maintaining compliance with industry regulations.

Organizations also struggle with object storage because there aren’t a lot of lower cost or lower capacity options for companies that only want to move a small part of their storage infrastructure to an object storage solution.

"The new on-premises object storage capabilities are designed to expand use cases for IBM Cloud Object Storage to archives requiring protection against data deletion and modification, and to significantly lower the cost of a system with capacity as low as 72TB, for any use case, making initial deployment more attainable without losing the ability to scale up as usage expands," IBM Cloud Object Storage Offering Leader Rob McCammon said in a statement.

IBM’s two latest object storage capabilities support organizations that manage compliance data on-premises while also reducing the cost of entry.

The first new capability is compliance-enabled vaults that allow companies to create data vaults to help protect data from deletion or modification.

This capability is especially essential to highly regulated industries like healthcare because it prevents data from being modified or deleted during the data retention period. Electronic records can be preserved in a non-rewritable and non-erasable format.

The second added capability is the ability to deploy smaller cloud object storage systems with the option of scaling up larger future deployments.

The smallest offering is 72TB, compared to the previous smallest offering of 300TB, which require much less hardware and cuts back on costs.

The new capability includes concentrated dispersal mode, which gives smaller object storage systems the capability of scaling up plater as needed. Entities that are new to object storage can adopt a smaller deployment commitment that uses less resources to see if it’s a good fit their organization.

"With the new concentrated dispersal mode capability, we can offer a lower cost of entry to replace traditional NAS environments for a wide range of use cases, including data consolidation, departmental shares, home directories, application data storage over Network File System (NFS) and Windows server modernization," Chief Product Officer for IBM Business partner Panzura Rich Weber said in a statement. "Organizations can replace traditional NAS and scale to exabytes of data across multiple locations, all while experiencing top performance and functionality."

Object storage is way of accessing data quickly, but it has traditionally not been a viable solution for organizations unless they want to store massive amounts of data that way.

Key Information Systems Director of Cloud Service Clayton Weise explained to HITInfrastructure.com the potential for object storage to benefit the healthcare industry and move organizations away from dated legacy solutions, such as tapes.

“Object storage provides an inexpensive way to store vast pools of data, multiple petabytes up to exabyte scale within a single space,” Weise said. “The data stored using object is always accessible, unlike tape where I have to know the serial number, track the tape, and physically retrieve it.”

“Data in object stores is always accessible,” he continued. “Object storage makes data retrieval far more convenient.”

Smaller object storage deployments that take less resources to run can help healthcare organizations have quicker access to the data they need, without needing to deploy a system that is too big for what they need it for.