Nutanix kicks the Buckets into object storage

Nutanix launched Objects, its renamed Buckets object storage service, earlier this year. Let’s take a look.

In essence, Nutanix Objects is software designed for backup, archiving, immutable WORM (Write Once – Ready Many) storage, analytics and DevOps storage. Objects supports HYCU and Commvault as backup data sources, and more are on their way. 

Nutanix users can set up object storage services on their existing clusters or set up object storage-focused clusters with storage-dense nodes. The object storage exists as part of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, along with its file and block storage and virtual machines and is enabled through a software update. 

This means that Nutanix users with a need for object storage no longer have to source an external object store.

Objects software components

A Nutanix system, either single node or clustered nodes, has a controller virtual machine (CVM) running the Acropolis Operating System (AOS) HCI software. The CVM creates a single storage pool, a Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF) aggregated from each node’s own direct attached storage (DAS). Object storage is carved out from this, along with file and block storage, and inherits DSF capabilities such as snapshots, clones, erasure-coding, deduplication, compression and high availability. 

Nutanix Buckets has an S3-compatible interface alongside VMs, files, and block on the enterprise cloud platform

As with any object store the data is stored in a flat namespace that can scale out to petabyte and beyond levels. An object has three components: unique key or identifier; the data itself; and metadata. The metadata is expandable.

Object data is stored in Buckets, a sub-repository in the object store, and can be encrypted to FIPS 140-2  level. A bucket is roughly similar to a file in a folder but files have fixed metadata and exist in a file:folder hierarchy, not a flat address space. Users can apply policies such as WORM status and versioning to their Buckets.

Customers can use Nutanix Buckets object storage as an S3 backup target, writes Laura Jordana, a technical marketing engineer at Nutanix. This is “deployed and managed from within Nutanix Prism and provides an S3 endpoint over HTTP or HTTPS that any S3-compatible application can connect to.”

There is an Object Volume Manager, another VM, which provides front-end S3 services, a data management Object Controller which interfaces to AOS, metadata services, and lifecycle management and maintenance services. Metadata is held in a key:value store.

Objects can tag versions (copies) with user metadata signifying a project ID, compliance level, content type and more. Large sets of data such as a backup file can be split up into chunks for multi-part ingest into the store.

Nutanix Buckets S3 adapter software is based on the open source Minio software stack, as this Nutanix document explains.

Nutanix will add Objects support for the VMware ESXi hypervisor in a future release. Performance testing with HYCU is described here.

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