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Oracle storage cloud and swift

Storing files is something that traditionally is part of computing, being it users who store files on the local drive or server processes that store the result of batch programs. The situations where files are stored are endless and extremely common. However, storing files is about to change. As an example, users do use solutions like dropbox for example to store files in the cloud. Now an enterprise solution for storing files, massively storing files, is provided by Oracle. Storing files in the cloud via Oracle can be done via the Oracle storage cloud which provides storage capabilities for object storage. 
 
What is wrong with local storage?
In essence nothing is wrong with local storage and a lot of use cases for local storage are still present. However, with new solutions coming into play in business IT new ways for storing files are becoming more favorable. When storing files locally, on your server or on your storage arrays of your NAS you are responsible for the fact that this storage is available, properly making backups of it and the performance of it. Often overlooked, providing storage capacity to systems involves quite a large technology stack and understanding of storage and storage systems. 
 
Cloud object storage use cases.
Just like traditional storage has a large number of valid use cases cloud object storage has a large number of use cases. To name some of them:
  1. Background processes of a server process generate numerous files per minute, due to legal requirements those files need to be kept for a number of years. Traditionally those files would be stored on local storage and after a period of time offloaded to tape for safekeeping. With Oracle storage cloud you have the option to directly instruct the process to store the files as objects in the storage cloud. This makes that you do not have to create a local technology stack for storing a large number of files and keep them for a long period of time. You can set an expiration date on files to ensure they are automatically deleted as soon as you are no longer required to keep them.
  2. A distributed network of devices create files on a regular basis, you are required to collect those files and process them centrally. To be able to store the files locally you traditionally would require all the devices to connect back to a central datacenter. With Oracle storage cloud you can instruct the devices to directly store the files they generate in the storage cloud. Only an internet connection is required for the devices to connect to the Oracle storage cloud, the central processing server can also connect to the Oracle storage cloud to “collect” the files and process them.
  3. When you are moving from traditional IT setup to a more service and platform like enterprise architecture storing files the traditional way is not the best solution you might envision. Enabling users, developers and administrators to have direct access to fast and reliable object storage can be achieved by providing them access to the Oracle Storage Cloud, this can be done directly or via a hub which provides additional options to provide block storage in the right way to end-users.
  4. Companies from small to large enterprises do traditionally store large amounts of data, only a portion of this data is accessed on a day to day basis. Some files sit on file storage solutions for years before they are accessed again. Deleting them is often considered not done or it is too complex to estimate the value on which a delete can be based. By using Oracle storage cloud as an extension of your traditional, local, storage solution you can tier your storage. Files that are not accessed regularly can be moved automatically to the Oracle storage cloud. By doing so a large portion of the storage used locally can be reduced. As costs per gigabyte storage on the Oracle storage cloud is relative low in comparison to local storage a cost saving can be made while keeping your historical files. 
 
How is this working?
Oracle storage cloud and the interface to the Oracle storage cloud is based upon Swift. Swift is an opensource solution for object storage and comes from the OpenStack project
 
In essence you communicate to the Oracle storage cloud based upon the Swift protocol which is well defined and well documented. Oracle provides a set of java classes which will help you to connect your application with the Oracle storage cloud as shown in the picture below.

 
However, as the communication is based upon the swift protocol you can find a rich set of swift clients and libraries which can be used. If required the same can be achieved by using, as an example, Python. You are not bound to making use of Java and the libraries that are provided by Oracle.

 
In the above diagrams it shows that you do not necessarily need a server in the middle. As Swift is a quite simple protocol you can embed this into an application. You could build a APP for a mobile device which is able to communicate directly with the Oracle storage cloud based upon Swift. 

 
Swift is “so simple” that it can also be controlled, and tested, by using simple cURL like commands. This is especially usefull when testing connectivity to the Oracle storage cloud. On the Oracle blog at oracle.com you can find some usefull examples on how to use cURL when testing a Oracle storage cloud solution. 

For more information about this topic, feel free to contact Johan Louwers directly via johan.louwers@capgemini.com

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Johan Louwers
1 Comment Leave a comment
Hey Johan, This is really good article explaining that why and how its good to automate storage with object storage swift... thank you

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