Data That Lives Forever in the Cloud: Organic Storage Keeps Data Alive Indefinitely

Scality’s CEO, Jérôme Lecat, says the future of cloud computing lies in keeping massive volumes of user-generated data always alive and always available

Structure 2011, San Francisco, CA, June 21st 2011 – As GigaOM Pro, The 451 Group and North Bridge Venture Partners prepare to announce the results of their inaugural Future of Cloud Computing survey, the CEO of Scality stated that the future of disruptive technologies and the value chain could not be predicted by asking current decision makers.

Lecat said, “A survey highlights some fascinating trends, but it can only tell you what today’s leaders are thinking today. As Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ You can’t predict the future of disruptive technologies with today’s thinking. For example, when CIOs in the mid-nineties were asked if they would dismantle their private networks to replace them with encryption over the public internet, they responded that it was not secure enough. Time has passed, and this is now the standard architecture. What a majority of people think about the future today may not actually be the future tomorrow.”

He added, “To understand the future of the cloud, we need to turn to the real decision maker, in this case the end user. Most of the transition to the cloud is driven by users, at home or at work, who just want their computing resources to be easily accessible from anywhere, from any device, at any time. The cloud is not led by a sweeping decision from corporate headquarters, but by users who are moving to the cloud one process at a time. One of the main drivers pushing data into the cloud is that users have realized their memories have gone digital, and they want to retain these memories forever. Forever is a long time.”

Lecat, who recently became a first-time parent, illustrated with a personal example.

He said, “I am taking hundreds of pictures of my newborn, and I would like to be able to share them with him when he grows up. I bought one hard drive, and then a second because the first one was full. This was impractical, so I turned to a cloud service to keep my memories. I need these pictures to stay alive forever, but in twenty or forty years, it is likely that formats will have changed. Therefore, I am counting on my cloud provider to always be able to transcode the images into the latest viewer. Because who can read the 9.5mm Pathé Baby films of my grandfather today?”

Indeed, a recent Storage Strategies Now report showed that long-term data storage is becoming increasingly crucial, with 60% of the respondents stating they intended to store the data they had in the cloud for more than five years.

According to Lecat, Scality’s system is able to cope with the growing tide of data because of its resilient organic architecture.

Lecat said, “Organic storage is very much like the legendary Ship of Theseus: it keeps data alive 24/7 by repairing itself automatically and allowing upgrades and maintenance to occur while the system is still running. Organic storage keeps ahead of the wave because it is structured specifically to evolve and persist, even as data grows and technology needs change. One of the many benefits of this kind of storage architecture is that stored data can be re-processed on the storage itself, through policy driven rules – for example, to perform format change.”

RING Organic Storage™ allows new servers to be added while the application remains fully functional. When a server dies, absolutely no manual intervention is required. It is able to do this because it demonstrates many of the features of a living organism. The storage is spread among a collection of nodes (like cells), each made of generic x86 servers with direct attached storage. These nodes share a highly parallel distributed intelligence which does not depend on any single component. As a result the system is resilient, self-healing, adaptive, location aware and constantly renewing.

Scality offers:

-Zero downtime during hardware refresh

-No manual migrations

-Unlimited scaling

– Low latency for small files and high throughput for large files

-Policy driven automatic tiering

-Keeps data alive forever in the cloud

-Hardware-agnostic: saves money

-Mix and match hardware: reduces risk

For more on Scality: https://www.scality.com

Follow Scality on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Scality