Minio – the minimalist object storage technology

The Marie Kondo Konmari fever is sweeping the world. Her decluttering and organizing the home methods are leading to a new way of life – Minimalism.

Complicated Storage Experience

Storage technology and its architecture are complex. We layer upon layer of abstraction and virtualization into storage design until at some stage, choke points lead to performance degradation, and management becomes difficult.

I recalled a particular training I attended back in 2006. I just joined Hitachi Data Systems for the Shell GUSto project. I was in Baltimore for the Hitachi NAS course. This was not their HNAS (their BlueArc acquisition) but their home grown NAS based on Linux. In the training, we were setting up NFS service. There were 36 steps required to setup and provision NFS and if there was a misstep, you start from the first command again. Coming from NetApp at the time, it was horrendous. NetApp ONTAP NFS setup and provisioning probably took 3 commands, and this Hitachi NAS setup and configuration was so much more complex. In the end, the experience was just unworldly for me.

Introducing Minio to my world, to Malaysia

In my last blog, I wrote that it may be the complexity of setting up object storage platforms such as Redhat Ceph or Openstack Swift that may have deterred the curiosity and the deeper awareness of object storage technology. However, setting up and configuring object storage do not have to be complex. And I have found an object storage platform that resonated very well with the Minimalism philosophy. I was attracted to the Minio Private Cloud Storage,and my company, Katana Logic, has become a reseller of Minio.

It started through my work with FreeNAS. I discovered Minio in version 9.10 update 3. It was listed as an S3 service in the FreeNAS GUI. I checked it out, tried it and it was so simple! The experience was refreshing and immediately I was hooked. I started tweeting about Minio and Anand Babu (AB), their founder quickly engaged. We had a few conversations back and forth, and I was invited to visit Minio whilst I was on tour with Storage Field Day in November 2017.

In a serendipitous twist of events, I was enjoying the camaraderie of Tech Field Day friends and delegates at that tour. We were at this German bar in downtown San Francisco on a chilly Thursday evening. Mingling through the crowd, I met someone familiar. Someone whom I have not seen for more than a decade. I did not know that person much, but I know his face. He was Andy Watson, an ex-NetApp CTO, back in my first stint with NetApp as an engineer. We connected and I found out that he was working for Minio at the time. I was dumbstruck because I was going to Minio to meet with AB and Garima Kapoor the following day, after the Tech Field Day’s Friday has ended. It was as if fate just happened.

The burgeoning Cloud Native Applications landscape

My last blog received a few good comments from fellow IT practitioners. The adoption of object storage in Malaysia wasn’t strong especially for traditional enterprise applications. The 3-tier client-server architecture design still dominated most environments and there was no big motivation to break away and move to object storage. At the same time, these applications were still more adept with legacy file systems and block storage, unlike the new generation of modern cloud native applications.

Things are changing. Cloud Native Applications are spotting the cloud landscape quickly and enterprise applications are warming up to object storage, albeit through a POSIX interface or a file system. Infra-based applications such as backup software and others are tiering to an S3 service, and private S3 cloud storage is beginning to show its mark. I look at Minio and found the ease of the platform integrating with many Cloud Native Applications. I built a few example use case and I share them here:

Minio Example Use Cases for Cloud Native Applications

  • Minio with Docker Ecosystem
  • Minio with Helm
  • Minio with PrestoDB
  • Minio with Apache Kafka for Lambda Computing
  • Minio with Pivotal Container Services (PKS)
  • Minio with Apache Spark and Fluentd

As a storage technology connoisseur, I truly appreciate the minimalist philosophy embraced by Minio. The setup is so simple (I hope to demonstrate this in my future blog), and with a bevy of strong features, you can get a production ready private object storage service within 30 minutes or less.

Minio Example Use Cases for Industries

Further conversations with Minio gave way to more example use cases, this time specific to relevant industries. I want to share this because of the EASE of integrating Minio Private Cloud Storage into many ecosystems.

  • Minio with Healthcare – Medical Imaging & PACS (Picture Archiving Communication System)
  • Minio with Smart Factory
  • Minio with High End Media
  • Minio with Telco Call Details Record
  • Minio with Healthcare – Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Minio with Financial Services – Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review
  • Minio with Edge Computing and IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Minio – Connected Car

Conclusion – It’s joy!

The minimalist design has lightened to load to thinking that object storage is complex. It is not.

Marie Kondo spoke about “emails that spark joy“. For me, Minio is one that sparks joy. And there is more to come.

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 20+ years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because that is my area of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to *know the facts*, and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and as of October 2013, I have been appointed as SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I was previously the Chairman of SNIA Malaysia until Dec 2012. As of August 2015, I am returning to NetApp to be the Country Manager of Malaysia & Brunei. Given my present position, I am not obligated to write about my employer and its technology, but I am indeed subjected to Social Media Guidelines of the company. Therefore, I would like to make a disclaimer that what I write is my personal opinion, and mine alone. Therefore, I am responsible for what I say and write and this statement indemnify my employer from any damages.

One Response to Minio – the minimalist object storage technology

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