Cloud storage objects critical to content delivery networks

For many organizations, wrapping their head around what cloud storage can be used for is a challenge. IT sage Rick Vanover takes a look into one area of what future storage solutions may provide.

Can cloud storage be the perfect distribution mechanism for content delivery networks (CDN)? It just may be. This is because cloud storage providers are working aggressively to make the use case for content delivery be a no-brainer. One particular example is the new object storage offering by Cleversafe.

Object storage is rather straightforward as an HTTP interface; software development kit (SDK) or an application programming interface (API) provide access to the storage resources. Accessing it via this method is in lieu of a traditional storage protocol (iSCSI, NFS, SMB, etc.). In the case of Cleversafe, the object storage offering is an extension of their dsNet offering. Other dsNet offerings include the ability to run a traditional storage protocol for direct access.

One of Cleversafe's unique attributes is their slicing of the data across appliances and data centers. In the same fashion that a traditional RAID array will slice data across many disks, Cleversafe will slice data across storage devices that may be geographically separated through their dispersal technology. An example configuration could take a storage footprint and spread it across eight different slices, and each slice would be located on a different storage device.

The inherent protection that Cleversafe offers is that only some of the slices are required to access the data with a minimum threshold, which can be just five slices in some configurations. This allows multiple failures to be accommodated, such as bandwidth or routing issues, as well as entire site issues. The slices also build in a security feature, as each of the slices are useless without the others coupled with any encryption keys that are required for access. Additional security management options include control lists for domain access and forthcoming Active Directory-Integrated security options. Figure A represents Cleversafe's slicing of content for the traditional dsNet storage services: Figure A

Figure A

A cloud storage object is critical to CDNs as Cleversafe sees it. Concept offerings are primarily for applications that may provide movies or other digital media to consumers. During a recent conversation on the topic with Cleversafe, my ideas went wild with applications such as digital video recorder (DVR) devices for home technology -- specifically options with your recordings on your DVR being kept on cloud storage.

Why worry about a hard drive in your TV when the cloud can do it? Using the API and object model allows products and services to take access of this data to an entirely new level, potentially offering ubiquitous access to your data regardless of how and where. Besides, how many of us have been heartbroken with a DVR's worth of entertainment suddenly lost?

To be clear on the cloud storage point at this moment in time, the use case can be made for secondary storage for CDNs. The example configurations are numerous as are the challenges. Share your comments on cloud storage for CDNs and object-based access below.