“Essentially MinIO is a web server …“
I vaguely recalled Anand Babu Periasamy (AB as he is known), the CEO of MinIO saying that when I first met him in 2017. I was fresh “playing around” with MinIO and instantly I fell in love with software technology. Wait a minute. Object storage wasn’t supposed to be so easy. It was not supposed to be that simple to set up and use, but MinIO burst into my storage universe like the birth of the Infinity Stones. There was a eureka moment. And I was attending one of the Storage Field Days in the US shortly after my MinIO discovery in late 2017. What an opportunity!
I could not recall how I made the appointment to meeting MinIO, but I recalled myself taking an Uber to their cosy office on University Avenue in Palo Alto to meet. Through Andy Watson (one of the CTOs then), I was introduced to AB, Garima Kapoor, MinIO’s COO and his wife, Frank Wessels, Zamin (one of the business people who is no longer there) and Ugur Tigli (East Coast CTO) who was on the Polycom. I was awe struck.
Last week, MinIO scored a major Series B round funding of USD103 million. It was delayed by the pandemic because I recalled Garima telling me that the funding was happening in 2020. But I think the delay made it better, because the world now is even more ready for MinIO than ever before.
MinIO changed the perception of Object Storage
I started with CAS (content addressable storage) of EMC® Centera in 2007. I still remember sitting down for several weeks in the cramped server room at Schlumberger® Malaysia with Mark Masters trying to set up the proof-of-concept of integrating the DiskXtender software with the Centera and working on the PEA file over and over again. So early on, I blogged about object storage:
- [ 2011 ] The future is Intelligent Objects
- [ 2011 ] What could be a Cloud Storage?
- [ 2012 ] API that stick in Storage
Since object storage came into the scene starting with the rise of AWS S3, the use cases were confined to low performance, archived unstructured data. But the potential of scaling of object storage was inherent. I even called Object Storage as the Everything Store, right after I read the eponymous book by Brad Stone.
Working and learning MinIO changed my perception of the pigeonholed use cases presented by the big enterprise storage vendors. NetApp® StorageGRID, Hitachi® HCP, Dell EMC® Atmos (now ECS), IBM® iCOS (née Cleversafe) all locked object storage into the corner of slow archive tier. MinIO created a completely different universe that object storage is simple, fast, secure and fully S3-compliant (take note that not all enterprise object storage platforms were S3 compliant at that time. Some, as I was told, still have proprietary non-S3 code). With these advantages, the integration into DevOps, cloud native applications, Kubernetes, and multiclouds became second nature to MinIO.
Suddenly all large on-premises object storage vendors became general purpose object storage, because that was the corner they positioned their object storage technology in the first place. The analyst firms like Gartner®, GigaOM began to take notice to this technology shift, so much so that GigaOM has 2 categories for Object Storage. There is now a High Performance Object Storage market category because of what MinIO has conceived from the very beginning. As far as I am concerned today, in 2022, nobody can claim that high performance object storage laurel except for MinIO.
MinIO – High Performance Object Storage
For a decade or so, I was fed with the narrative that object storage cannot handle high traffic, transactional workloads. It is still true today with the general purpose object storage vendors. Even AWS will shift you away from S3 to EBS (Elastic Block Store). But in certain workloads, you can drive very high throughput performance traffic with MinIO. In a 2019 published benchmark, MinIO was able to deliver very impressive results, summarized in the table below.
These numbers put MinIO into the High Performance Object Storage category and address the use cases of HPC (high performance computing), AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) type of workloads. Furthermore, I am beginning to see MinIO breaking through the glass ceiling going after even more high transactional workloads, in the space of databases and virtualized environments.
- Databases on Object Storage – the new normal
- Best Practices for deploying MinIO in Virtualized Environments
- Object Storage is Primary Storage
And for VMware® Tanzu and vSAN, MinIO is one of the 2 object storage technology vendors certified in VMware Data Persistent platform (DPp) layer.
In 2019, I remembered AB saying that the MinIO server component is only less than 45MB. Yes, that is in Mega Bytes! With an incredibly small footprint and extremely lightweight, written in Go (aka Golang) and GoASM (Go Assembly), MinIO is able to deliver unprecedented high performance for the applications’ data stores and the sinks using its object storage.
And there are so many integrations now with many streams and data processing frameworks such as H20.ai, Humio, Apache Kafka, InfluxDB and even replacing HDFS in many Hadoop implementations as the sources and the sinks for these next generation processing frameworks.
- [ 2020 ] Hadoop is truly dead – LOTR version
On the flip side, there will be critics and detractors that object storage is not meant for active and transactional data, especially those captured in small blocks such as metadata, log data and even data streams. But there is a noticeable can do attitude generously sprinkled with guts and gumption for MinIO to prove those naysayers wrong. Check out this great piece written by CMO, Jonathan Symonds that define that intrepid culture of MinIO.
It started with the Minio (pronounced ‘mee neo’) but eventually the minimalism concept has taken over the naming syllables of the company. It is now Min IO, and the pronunciation greatly reflects the aspiration, implementation and vision of the company and the technology.
I was once given the opportunity to evangelize MinIO in Asia, and I thank AB and Garima for giving me the honour to serve a technology I strongly believe it. Here is the business card they made for me back in 2018 😉
Let’s celebrate the Min in MinIO. Let’s celebrate minimalism! Let’s celebrate MinIO!