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New API lets Azure Stack connect to Scality object storage

New Azure Blob API will enable Microsoft Azure Stack Hub and Edge hybrid and private cloud customers to use scale-out Scality Ring object storage on premises.

Scality will add an Azure Blob API connector to give Microsoft Azure Stack Hub and Edge customers the option to scale out using its on-premises Ring object storage.  

Scality expects the Blob API connector to be available by the end of 2019.

Like other major cloud providers, Microsoft lets customers extend its cloud services to data center, remote and edge locations through on-premises appliances. But the appliances can't handle some of the edge use cases that have significant storage requirements, according to Wally  MacDermid, Scality's vice president of cloud business development.

Target deployments for Azure Stack with Scality storage include ocean-based oil and gas rigs or remote military bases that have limited connectivity to push data to the public and government agencies or companies in regulated industries that need to keep data on premises. One Europe-based global manufacturing company wants to use cloud services for a defense project involving multiple petabytes of data but cannot connect to the public internet,  MacDermid said.

The largest Azure Stack (renamed Azure Stack Hub this week) deployment that  MacDermid could identify is a 16-node configuration with about 1 PB of data on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) hardware. Microsoft's Azure Data Box Edge (now called Azure Stack Edge) is limited to tens of terabytes, he said.  MacDermid said Scality's largest customer stores about 50 PB of data in a Ring cluster, and its object storage software can scale even higher on commodity server hardware.

On-premises options can be cheaper

Enrico Signoretti, a research analyst at GigaOm, said public cloud deployments can get expensive, with fees for individual transactions, so Scality Ring would offer a cheaper on-premises object storage option for Azure Stack users, with as few as three servers.

Signoretti said that, although Scality's Ring object storage for Azure Stack may be unique now, he expects Amazon will have a comparable offering with Outposts. Signoretti expressed less certainty about Google, which he called a "niche player" that is not on par in functionality or services.

Object storage is becoming increasingly common with software as a service (SaaS) applications, especially with young developers who know only microservices and containers, Signoretti said. He said the young developers often don't understand the complexity of file systems and just know how to "put, get, delete" objects.

"Don't think about object storage only for capacity. Think about object storage as a persistent storage that is very easy to use and very accessible from the internet," Signoretti said. "Object storage APIs are based on HTTP REST, so at the end of the day, we are talking about HTTP. So, they are really accessible."

MacDermid said he does not expect the new Blob API connector to bring in thousands of new customers. He said Scality would more likely see a small number of large deals with Azure Stack Hub or Edge users who have or expect to build applications that generate huge volumes of data that they want or need to keep on premises.

"This is not about taking data out of the Azure public cloud and putting it into Scality,"  MacDermid said.

Primary and backup storage for Azure Stack

Azure Stack users will be able to store and back up data in Scality Ring and build in failover capabilities if necessary.  MacDermid said customers could install Scality Ring in two data centers running Azure Stack and mirror the data between them. The new Azure Blob API will also let Microsoft Azure Stack Hub and Edge customers use Scality's Zenko multi-cloud data management software.

Scality plans to release its BlobServer code to the open source community and make it available to developers building Blob-based applications. Scality similarly made available an open source implementation of its Amazon S3 API. Scality also supports NFS and SMB interfaces for file-based applications.

Scality's Blob API connector capability will be generally available by year's end from major Azure Stack partners such as Cisco, Dell and HPE -- the same vendors that sell validated hardware for Scality object storage. Pricing for Scality's Ring starts at $260 per terabyte.

Scality has also worked with Microsoft on other initiatives, including Amazon S3 to Azure Blob translation via Zenko Connect and data migration from on-premises Ring to Azure Blob object storage through Zenko.

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