One of the most interesting meetings I had this week during the IT Press Tour was with Minio. The founder of the company, AB Periasamy, has some really interesting ideas and I think his vision of “Object storage for everyone” could be quite successful.
Object storage for the rest of us
Minio is working on an object storage server (they’re actually working on two, but let me explain just the basics first) which is particuarly small, efficient and can run in a single VM (or VPS). In addition, there are a generic S3 client and an SDK that are going to complete the whole picture.
Taking for granted it is one of the “best S3 compatibility” in town (or, at least this is what they promise), the idea is to enable any user and developer to deploy object storage at any scale (starting from just a few GBs!). The products are open source and as easy to use as a MySQL server is. We are not talking about the most advanced object implementation on earth and maybe not the fastest or the most reliable but, in practice, I think the analogy fits perfectly: S3==SQL and Minio µServer == MySQL. As MySQL could be considered the SQL engine of choice when you need a good DB for your personal or SMB needs, Minio µServer could become something similar for S3 and objects.
Minio could be the answer for a developer who wants to build applications with freedom of choice, at any scale and on any cloud when it comes to object storage. It also means that end users won’t have any barriers when it comes to implementing object storage even for the smallest of deployments.
More than a micro server
Minio don’t want to be just a MySQL, this is just part of a large plan. In fact, an “XL” version of Minio is already in development and it will have features like global erasure coding, for example, that will be aligned with the expectations of those implementaing large scale object stores. Also this product will be 100% open source and the full featured version, will be avaialble for free!
Closing the Circle
The strategy of this small startup is very aggressive and, even though the business model is all but clear, there is huge potential in what they are doing!
Developers like the S3 protocol. It’s easy to use for them and completely aligned to their way of thinking. Giving them an option to have a simple object store running in their laptops, a Raspberry Pi, a VPS or whatever they like is something that will open onto many different opportunities to write standard code based on de facto standards and, at the same time, will give customers/users an end-to-end solution.
At the same time, if the XL version is good enough, Minio will be positioning itself as one of the most competitive object storage solution providers covering every type of scenario from 1GB to several Petabytes or more. It’s too soon to say whether or not they’ll be successful, but one thing is certain… their ideas are definitely exciting.
Object storage is one of the hottest segments in the storage market at the moment, with two interesting things happening:
1. The number of startups in object storage are continuing to grow. This week I also met OpenIO and, even though the strategy is different, they have some intereting ideas and an open source core. (I’ll follow-up soon on Open.IO after a more technical briefing about their technbology)
2. S3 is increasingly being considered a generic storage protocol and it is no longer associated only to very large distributed infrastructures. Most of the companies I met this week have an S3 interface or they are planning to have it soon… even Mangstor (a startup working on an NVMe fabric AFA) is experimenting along the line!