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Object Storage and Load Balancing :: Scality and Kemp

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Storage is exciting and hot.  Who would have predicted that sentiment 15 years ago?  Data is needed for everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to the storage of the more than 500 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute.  Something is needed to store all that data in a manageable and scalable way while still maintaining accessibility. 

Software defined object storage has come to the rescue.  It is infinitely scalable with no dependency on locations or physical components.  Object storage eliminates the file hierarchy structure in favor of descriptive metadata and objects instead of files or blocks. This model is well suited for the continuous influx of data and the management of it for real-time and archival purposes. 

This change in the data storage model means that there need to be changes to how the solution is architected into the wider IT environment.  Data reliability and availability are critical for businesses in today’s digitally transformed world.  Load balancing technology is needed to support object storage solutions in a similar way they support other applications like Microsoft Exchange and web servers. 

The CAP Theorem 

In computer science, there is the CAP Theorem or Brewer’s Theorem which states that a distributed data system cannot provide all three of these key features in the event of a failure.  One must be sacrificed. 

  • Consistency: Every read receives the most recent write or an error 
  • Availability: Every request receives a (non-error) response, without the guarantee that it contains the most recent write 
  • Partition tolerance: The system continues to operate despite an arbitrary number of messages being dropped (or delayed) by the network between nodes 

Usually, this is a tradeoff between consistency and availability.  Software defined object storage combined with load balancing technology that is tuned to support the object storage application can mitigate the impact of the CAP Theorem. 

Most object storage deployments use the S3 protocol.  Load balancers that understand S3 provide availability through the local load balancing of multiple nodes within a site.  Availability is offered across sites through global server load balancing technology (GSLB) for a transparent distribution in either an active/standby disaster recovery (DR) scenario or active/active.

The load balancer also ensures partition tolerance by performing advanced health checking of the individual nodes in the object storage solution.  If a node does not provide a proper response to the health check, it is taken out of service until it does.

Scality ensures strong consistency of the data with their RING scalable storage solution.  In conjunction with Kemp’s advanced object storage load balancing solution, we are one step closer to providing the consistency, availability, and partition tolerance concurrently that the CAP Theorem posits against.

1+1 = 3

There are many examples of great pairings throughout history.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Mario and Luigi, etc.  The individuals are amazing on their own, but when they come together, something special happens and you get more than what you put into the system.  Kemp and Scality are working together because there is value for the customer by bringing these technologies together.

Overall, Kemp provides:

  • High Availability – LoadMaster delivers uninterrupted access to data stored on Scality RING. Advanced application-level health checking features ensure the Scality nodes are healthy and ready to accept connections.
  • Site Resilience – Global Server Load Balancing (GEO) ensures traffic is intelligently distributed based on proximity which reduces latency and provides better performance. In the event of a complete site failure, LoadMaster directs all traffic to a healthy datacenter.
  • Greater Performance – SSL/TLS offloading increases performance by terminating secure connections on the Kemp LoadMaster and sending traffic back to Scality unencrypted. This configuration eliminates the encryption processing overhead on the Scality nodes by transferring it onto the Kemp LoadMaster, which is optimized to handle this traffic.
  • Quality of Service – LoadMaster includes Quality of Service (QoS) controls to rate limit connections to Scality RING providing full control over fair and balanced allocation of services for applications and users.

To learn more about what this partnership can do for your data needs, check out the press release and additional resources.

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