Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Object Oriented Storage: Fad or Future?

Object Oriented Storage: Fad or Future?

I have been investigating platforms for digital storage repositories. This is a subject I have spent a significant amount of time on over the last 3 years.

Email Archiving and Document Management systems are hot technologies right now. They help to solve a growing need for structure around data that is traditionally stored in a very unstructured way. These systems are built upon the concept of Content Addressed Storage. If you know about storage, you have seen the CAS acronym all over the place. With the explosion of growth and the increasing pressure of compliance, companies are adopting systems managing document and email repositories at a rapid rate.

I am not stating anything new here. Why is this relevant? At its core, CAS is an object oriented storage platform. You upload something, and you receive a UID for that file. You can now access that file through a proprietary interface (sometimes a non proprietary interface with proprietary web service calls). Amazon S3 is an excellent example of basic CAS functionality. http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=16427261 . S3 provides a unified programmatic method of accessing files, regardless of file type. The CAS platform has grown because vendors have added functionality for search, archive, WORM, email platform integration, and compliance. These are not core functions of CAS, they are services that help CAS to solve business problems. CAS provides the framework for providing these services.

Back to my problem… How does CAS fit it as a repository for media? Vendors would say it is a great fit. I am not sold yet. The CAS platform is more mature in the email, compliance, and document management verticals. This is not to say that CAS is not the future. Conceptually, this is the right approach, but I have yet to see an implementation that is right for large media repositories. I believe the platform lacks integration with DAM systems, storage independence, and the scalability needed for high throughput environments. I believe it is coming; it is only a matter of time before CAS vendors target this market.

In summary I believe CAS will become the defacto standard for all large repositories of file storage regardless of type.

No comments: