I started my career in the information technology industry when I was young, so young that I was still in high school. I wasn’t working at Burger King or the mall like most of my friends, instead I was putting my passion for technology to work bringing the people of the Cincinnati area dial-up internet access. A few friends and I had connected with a local businessman and, somehow, the idea to start a new company was formed. In the beginning, it was a handful of us, with me and my friend Todd doing all the server and development work. We spent countless hours of the mid-90s building servers, creating web pages, and working hard in out tiny server room. It felt like the pinnacle of technology to me. The whole world was at our fingertips just waiting for us the capture it. Roles shifting and Todd moved on to bigger and better-paying things. Soon after he left, I decided I would sell my soul to corporate America and took a job at a health insurance company based in Cincinnati. This is when I first got exposed to what an enterprise IT shop really was. I wasn’t old enough to have a (legal) drink yet, but my time there changed my idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be an infrastructure guy, more specifically I wanted to understand how data was written and stored on hard drives.
Fast forward a bit and I remember one of the first systems I ever ran on my own was a Network Attacked Storage from a dominant industry leader. I’m sure you know the one. The previous storage guy was only using the NAS for personal and shared drives. People stored documents on it, and that was pretty much it. I had the crazy idea to use NFS to store application data on it. I know that seems pretty obvious as a possible use, but at the time at my job it wasn’t. To me the use case just made sense, but the senior tech on the team thought I was crazy. Here We are more than a decade later, and this is a normal accepted use case for a NAS array. My point is that newer generations tend to find new, and sometimes scary, ways to used current technology.
That is exactly what is happening today with Object Storage. While object storage has been around forever, it was around the time that S3 that it became mildly popular. It was designed to be slow and protected, but the developers of today have another idea. They want to use object storage to house active application that which requires a higher performance class of storage. In the enterprise world that also means a whole mess of other requirements, often that it be housed inside a company’s own datacenter. That means we need to bring object storage into our data centers to really take advantage of the what the newer developers bring to the table. I know object storage is kind of weird for a lot of people but never fear SwiftStack is here!
SwiftStack is designed to replace Amazon/Google/Rackspace/etc. storage with a solution in your own data center. I’ve been playing with their software for a while thanks to their free trial. It is super easy to setup so I won’t bore you with all the technical details, you can figure that out for yourself. I will tell you the free trial supports applications that consume the Swift of S3 API. If you are a storage guy, a developer, someone in infrastructure, or just bored head over to their free trial page and give it a whirl. Once you get it setup, consuming it is every bit as easy as consuming Amazon. Give it a try, because object storage is truly the future of application-centric storage.