Software Defined Storage Startup Brings OpenStack Swift Object Storage Into the Enterprise

With release 2.0, SwiftStack comes out of stealth, announcing eBay and HP Helion as flagship customers

Jason Verge

June 18, 2014

3 Min Read
Software Defined Storage Startup Brings OpenStack Swift Object Storage Into the Enterprise
Developers at an OpenStack Swift hackathon in Denver. (Image source: SwiftStack blog)

SwiftStack launched release 2.0 of its software defined object storage platform that comes with Swift, the object storage portion of OpenStack, an open source cloud architecture.

SwiftStack wants to help bring object storage to enterprises that want to have storage capacity on any device, anytime, anywhere available to any application. It aims at enterprises involved in scaling for the new web-based world. With 2.0 SwiftStack is coming out of stealth mode, announcing a number of flagship customers, including eBay and HP Helion.

Object-based storage is a storage architecture that manages data as objects as opposed to file systems and block storage, which manages data as blocks within sectors and tracks. There’s been a lot of investment in object storage and several vendors, ranging from smaller startups to the likes of EMC, building solutions for it.

SwiftStack founder and CEO Joe Arnold said all enterprise applications will eventually rely on object storage to keep up with growth of data and access points required by users. "It's the only way enterprises will be able to compete today and in the future," he said

SwiftStack focuses on OpenStack, providing control, integration and distribution capabilities for the open source cloud. The hardware-agnostic SwiftStack platform simplifies manageability, integration and scalability for customers using commodity hardware or legacy hardware.

Launched in 2011, the company has been relatively quiet despite signing up several Fortune 500 customers.  Besides eBay and HP, they include Pac-12 Networks, which produces more than 750 live sporting events annually.

Seamless integration with legacy

SwiftStack 2.0 enables seamless integration with legacy infrastructure, allowing enterprises to tie in to existing on-premises systems. The startup says its solution lets IT build an object storage system for any application, and lets CIOs deliver customer-centric infrastructure at lower cost and with fewer resources.

The new features include a Filesystem Gateway that integrates object storage with existing file-based applications. It supports CIFS/NFS and installs on any Linux distribution. Data comes in as files and objects and comes out the same way.

SwiftStack 2.0 also has a software defined storage controller that has improved visibility and control into a storage system, even when it spans multiple data centers. It provides a single pane of glass for operators to manage and scale their storage environment. This creates a cohesive SDS platform to orchestrate upgrades, utilization reporting and gain insights into how the storage systems are performing.

There are enhancements to enterprise authentication with plug-and-play integration with enterprise management systems, such as LDAP and Active Directory, providing seamless access to their object storage.

Object storage at eBay and HP

“Software-defined storage powered by open source technology provides the best value by leveraging commodity infrastructure," Russ McElroy, manager of storage engineering and strategy at eBay, said. "SwiftStack and Swift are key to our object storage roadmap.

"SwiftStack's products and expertise have been key to our ability to scale eBay to the multi-petabyte level. Not only can we control how our storage is configured, but our storage platforms can be consolidated, so it’s easier to manage and scale our data.”

HP Helion, the newly formed unit for all things cloud at at the company, uses SwiftStack for a sync-and-share solution and to create a static web pages for the company's various business units. "To do this rapidly and efficiently, we turned to SwiftStack," said Mike Gasaway, senior solutions architect for HP Helion.

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