Quantum Corporation (QMCO.Q) announced that it is buying Western Digital Technologies, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation’s (WDC.Q), ActiveScale object storage business today.

Adding ActiveScale to their product line and talent brings object storage software and erasure coding tech to Quantum’s portfolio, and allows the company to expand their reach in the object storage market.

“As Quantum returns to a growth path, we will be evaluating strategic acquisitions that bolster our technology portfolio. Object storage software is an obvious fit with our strategy, our go-to-market focus, and within our technology portfolio.  We are committed to the product, and to making ActiveScale customers successful, and we look forward to engaging with them to solve their most pressing business challenges around storing and managing unstructured data.  With the addition of the engineers and scientists that developed the erasure-coded object store software, we can deliver on a robust technical roadmap, including new solutions like an object store built on a combination of disk and tape,” says Jamie Lerner, president and CEO of Quantum.

What is object storage?

Object storage is also called object-based storage, and it’s a computer data storage architecture used to manage data as objects, rather than other storage architectures like file systems that approaches data storage as a file hierarchy, or block storage, which manages data as blocks within sectors and tracks. This includes the data itself, an amount of metadata and a globally unique identifier.

Most of the demand in every industry is for video and other forms of unstructured data. The IDC forecasts this type of data will represent over 80% of all the world’s data by 2022. If you’re looking for examples of this type of data, you can find it in video and images for entertainment, surveillance and security, marketing and training. Industries like genomics research, advanced driver assistance systems, geospatial exploration are just a few producing huge amounts of similar data. The content generally requires high-speed capture and processing, and then it’s kept for years or decades.

Object storage software has a number of attributes that make it particularly well-suited for a wide range of datasets:

  • Massive Scalability: Store, manage and analyze billions of objects, and exabytes of capacity.
  • Highly Durable and Available: ActiveScale object storage offers up to 19 nines of data durability using patented erasure coding protection technologies.
  • Easy to Manage at Scale: Because object storage has a flat namespace (compared to a hierarchical file system structure) managing billions of objects and hundreds of petabytes o capacity is easier than using traditional network attached storage. This reduces operational expenses.

Quantum has been selling and supporting the ActiveScale product line for over five years. Object storage can be used as an active-archive tier of storage, where StorNext file storage is used for highest performance ingest and data processing, object storage acts as lower cost online content repository, and tape acts as the lowest cost cold storage tier.

ActiveScale can serve a number of use cases:

  • Object storage in media production:  Object storage is used as a long-term content repository for video content, in movie and TV production, in sports video, and even for large corporate video departments.  Customers in movie and TV production require very high performance ingest, edit, processing, rendering of their video files, which typically is done with a file system like StorNext.  Once content is finished, it is preserved in an object store, with StorNext data management handling the data movement between file and object tiers.
  • Object storage for enterprise archiving and long-term retention:  As object storage has matured, all leading backup applications can now backup data to an object target, and enterprise IT departments are looking at object storage as a long-term content repository.
  • Object storage for genomics and life sciences:  Genomics sequencing and other life sciences research generates a massive amount of data, that must be processed and analyzed quickly (typically with a clustered file system like StorNext), then archived on object storage.
  • Object storage for video surveillance:  Object storage is also used as a tier for multi-petabyte surveillance infrastructure.  Video is typically captured and recorded on higher-performance servers, then archived on object storage.

The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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Big Data
object storage
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