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IBM Cloud Object Storage tweaked for on-prem, small footprints

With the latest upgrades to its object storage platform, IBM recognizes that not everyone who uses object storage does so in the public cloud.  They don’t all start with hundreds of terabytes of capacity either.

IBM Cloud Object Storage System now offers “compliance-enabled vaults” so customers can create on-premises data vaults that protects data from deletion or modification for unstructured data subject to regulations like SEC Rule 17a-4 and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

IBM also is offering a new capacity level for customers that want to get started with cloud deployments. The IBM Cloud Object Storage System now starts with a 72 TB capacity level with a concentrated dispersal mode capability that allows for smaller footprint systems to scale to larger ones.  Despite the name, IBM Cloud Object Storage System – based on technology acquired from Cleversafe – is available for on-premises use or in a dedicated environment in the IBM Cloud.

IBM hopes the compliance vaults will open up opportunities for the applications market in on-premises object storage, while the lower-capacity option is about getting more customers started with an on-site cloud with the expectation they will move to the public cloud.

“This is a new space that they can compete in,” said Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. “We have run studies that show on-premises object storage is less expensive than cloud-based object storage. The bottom line is, public cloud is not always cheaper.

“Some workloads are more expensive in the cloud,” Sinclair said.

There is evidence customers are learning not all workloads are meant for the public cloud, and that unexpected costs and security are becoming two red flags.

The ESG 2017 Storage Trends: Challenges and Spending report found 39% of storage decision makers using off-premises cloud resources had moved at least one workload back to on premises.

“There is evidence that organizations need to apply a pragmatic approach with regards to the location of applications and data, whether on- or off-premises,” Sinclair. “Moving a workload to the public cloud is a big decision and should be treated as such.

“Additionally, what workloads are coming back? Why? Is it cost? Is it security? Is it availability? And how are these movements changing the cloud strategy within the organizations?”

He said  ESG is researching those issues  now.

Robert McCammon, IBM’s leader for IBM Cloud Object Storage, said the vendor is tackling security concerns with its compliance vault feature.

“This is a new software feature of our existing object storage product that is available with our software release in December,” McCammon said. “This is a new type of vault that prevents operations that are unacceptable on one of these compliance environments.”

McCammon said when it comes to compliance rules, “customers don’t have a lot of choices for storage and they have even fewer choices for object storage.”

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