ObjectScale: Dell EMC bets on another horse in the object storage race

Dell EMC is developing a cloud-native object storage called ObjectScale that will work with Tanzu and provision object storage via Kubernetes.

The company will integrate ObjectScale software with the vSAN Data Persistence Platform and so work with VMware Cloud Foundation.

ObjectScale will enable object storage to be deployed anywhere that VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu is running – the data centre, an edge location,or public cloud. Tanzu is VMware’s initiative to enable vSphere to run Kubernetes-orchestrated containerised apps alongside its own virtual machines.

Travis Vigil, Dell EMC SVP product management, writes in a blog: “We have engineered our object storage platform to take advantage of Kubernetes’ native automated deployment, scaling and management capabilities. This next generation of object storage software will be lighter, faster and deployable on existing ESXi-virtualized infrastructure.”

Lee Caswell, VP Marketing, CPBU, VMware, said: “ObjectScale on VMware Cloud Foundation is an important, new part of our cloud-native toolset.”

ObjectScale is a distributed, scale-out multi-tenant system with S3-compatible APIs and a single global namespace with eventual consistency. Dell EMC says it will have superior performance for both small and large objects.

Eventual consistency means that information about a write to one node’s data store is rippled through the distributed system over time so that the nodes see the same data. This contrasts with a relational database’s ACID consistency in which a write to the database is not committed until all database users are guaranteed to see the same data value.

ObjectScale software runs on VMware nodes with vSAN to form an underlying cloud. This enables the nodes to cross-replicate for greater access, reliability and redundancy.

Every ObjectScale function is built as an independent layer, Dell says, making them horizontally scalable across all nodes and enabling high availability.

ECS and ObjectScale

Dell EMC already has an object storage platform called ECS. A Dell EMC spokesperson said: “We see the two products, ECS and ObjectScale, as serving two unique use cases and deployment models.

“Today we have a purpose-built object storage platform in ECS and will satisfy demand for a modernized, software-defined object storage platform with ObjectScale. Both products are important part of our portfolio and both are designed to provide enterprise grade object storage. However, they are each optimised for different usage and deployment scenarios.”

The spokesperson added: “ObjectScale is great for edge use cases or when organisations want to deploy flexible, lightweight object storage close to the applications they support and integrates with VMware vSphere and VCF. Because of its software-defined nature and rich S3 compatibility, ObjectScale can also be deployed on existing virtualized infrastructure.”

Regarding ECS: “[It] is our current enterprise-grade object storage system, which most customers procure as a fully integrated turnkey appliance. … We are committed to delivering innovation on ECS, and you’ll see more updates and announcements on the ECS front later this year.

The revamped Dell EMC Isilon range, now called PowerScale, also has object storage capabilities.

An ObjectScale Early Access programme will soon be available to enterprise customers in beta on VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu.

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