Will Streaming Content Drive Scale-out Storage?

It has been a good couple of months for open-source clustered file system vendor Gluster. In November, the company closed $8.5 million in investment funding; Wednesday, it announced streaming music pioneer Pandora as a customer. The news validates the billions that large IT vendors and investors have poured into scale-out storage providers — and also because it suggests streaming content providers are a possible target market for these providers going forward.

Streaming content is only getting more popular, as evidenced by incredible amount of bandwidth currently — and predicted to be –consumed by people watching video online. According to the press release, Pandora has deployed 250 terabytes of storage to manage its growing library of song files, and each requires multiple versions to enable streaming to numerous devices types. It seems logical that a company like Apple (s aapl) — with huge music and video libraries, and a seemingly strong desire to stream it — needs even more storage capacity. As Amazon CTO Werner Vogels noted when Amazon Web Services (S AMZN) said that it now supports 5TB objects in Amazon S3, HD video files can be terabytes apiece. Assuming the list of services streaming consumer content continues to grow, they’ll all need file systems that can handle their mountains of unstructured data.

Of course, Gluster is only one option (albeit unique because of its open source nature) in a sea of options, and a relatively small one at that. EMC recently paid $2.25 for Isilon; NetApp now owns Bycast’s StorageGRID technology; and Hitachi recently absorbed ParaScale. But if streaming services continue to proliferate, there should be enough business to go around.

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